The year 2011 was a strong one for the renewable energy market, with new investment in renewables reaching $237 billion despite the recent economic downtrend.
The recently released 2012 edition of REN21’s Renewables Global Status Report found that the sector has continued to grow steadily, with 16.7 percent of global final energy consumption coming from renewable sources in 2012.
The increase in renewable use coincided with an increase of 17 percent in global investments in renewables from 2010’s $220 billion. China remained the top country for renewable energy investment for the third year running, followed by the United States, Germany, Italy and India.
An increase in the implementation of renewable energy targets and policies supporting the use of renewables was said to be a driving force behind the increasing markets.
At least 118 countries, more than half of which are developing countries had renewable energy targets in place by early 2012, up from 109 as of early 2010.
Feed-in-tariffs and renewable portfolio standards remain the most common support policies for renewables. At least 65 countries and 27 states had F.I.T. policies in place by early 2012; while R.P.S. was in use in 18 countries and at least 53 other jurisdictions.
Policy makers are said to be more aware of the benefits of renewable energy use, not just for energy security or emissions reduction, but also in job creation. Globally, more than 5 million jobs were created in 2011 by renewable energy industries and many policy makers are banking on job creation as a reason to support renewable energy policies.
All in all, the report found that total global renewable power capacity exceeded 1,360 gigawatts by the end of 2011 or more than 25 percent of total global power generating capacity.
Wind power capacity alone increased 20 percent in 2011, for a total of approximately 238 GW by year-end.
The solar sector continued to grow, with the solar photovoltaic’s sector almost 70 GW of global capacity. Other solar markets, including the solar heating industry (232 GW) and the concentrating solar thermal power sector (1,760 megawatts) also saw a capacity increase.
Other sectors included the biomass sector which saw an increase in capacity from about 66 GW in 2010 to almost 72 GW at the end of 2011; and hydropower which saw 25 GW of new capacity for approximately 970 GW installed capacity in 2011.
The last sector the report looked at was ocean energy, which has a total global capacity of 527 MW. The report noted that currently, this sector remains confined to small pilot projects such as a 254 MW tidal project in South Korea and a 0.3 MW wave project in Spain.
REN21 has been releasing these status reports since 2005, with the goal to capture the full status of renewable energy worldwide. The reports serve as a benchmark for measuring global progress in the deployment of renewable energy.
REN21 was established in 2005 to convene international leadership to enable a rapid global transition to renewable energy. –
EcoSeed Staff – EcoSeed