REN21 released the 2011 Global Status Report on Renewable Energy

As every year we all were waiting to receive the new Global Status Report on Renewable Energy from REN21. Since today it is available and a first look showed that REN21 again managed to produce a highly interesting report. The report shows that the renewable energy sector continues to perform well despite continuing economic recession, incentive cuts, and low natural-gas prices.

In 2010, renewable energy supplied an estimated 16% of global final energy consumption and delivered close to 20% of global electricity production. Renewable capacity now comprises about a quarter of total global power-generating capacity. Including all hydropower (estimated 30 GW added in 2010), RE accounted for approximately 50% of total added power generating capacity in 2010. In 2010, existing solar water and space heating capacity increased by an estimated 25 gigawatts-thermal (GWth), or about 16%.

The global performance of renewable energy despite headwinds has been a positive constant in turbulent times”, says Mohamed El-Ashry, Chairman of REN21’s Steering Committee. “Today, more people than ever before derive energy from renewables as capacity continues to grow, prices continue to fall, and shares of global energy from renewable energy continue to increase.

Last year, investment reached a record $211 billion in renewables — about one-third more than the $160 billion invested in 2009, and more than five times the amount invested in 2004. Money invested in renewable energy companies, and in utility-scale generation and biofuel projects increased to $143 billion, with developing countries surpassing developed economies for the first time, as shown in the GSR’s recently released companion report, UNEP Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011. China attracted $48.5 billion, or more than a third of the global total, but other developing countries also experienced major developments in terms of policies, investments, market trends, and manufacturing.

Further highlights from the Report:

  • Renewable capacity now comprises about a quarter of total global power-generating capacity and supplies close to 20% of global electricity, with most of this provided by hydropower.
  • Developing countries (collectively) have more than half of global renewable energy power.
  • Solar PV capacity was added in more than 100 countries.
  • The top five countries for non-hydro renewable power capacity were the United States, China, Germany, Spain, and India.
  • In the United States, renewables accounted for about 10.9% of U.S. domestic primary energy production (compared with nuclear’s 11.3%), an increase of 5.6% over 2009.
  • In the United States, 30 states (plus Washington, D.C.) have Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).
  • China led the world in the installation of wind turbines and solar thermal systems and was the top hydropower producer in 2010. The country added an estimated 29 GW of grid-connected renewable capacity, for a total of 252 GW, an increase of 13% compared with 2009.
  • Renewables accounted for about 26% of China’s total installed electric capacity in 2010, 18% of generation, and more than 9% of final energy supply.
  • Brazil produces virtually all of the world’s sugar-derived ethanol, and has been adding new hydropower, biomass and wind power plants, as well as solar heating systems.
  • In the European Union, renewables represented an estimated 41% of newly installed electric capacity. While this share was significantly lower than the more than 60% of new capacity in 2009, more renewable power capacity was added in Europe than ever before.
  • The EU exceeded its 2010 targets for wind, solar PV, concentrating solar thermal power, and heating/heat pumps. Countries including Finland, Germany, Spain, and Taiwan raised their targets, and South Africa, Guatemala, and India, among others, introduced new ones.
  • Developing countries, which now represent more than half of all countries with policy targets and half of all countries with renewable support policies, are playing an increasingly important role in advancing renewable energy.

The report is available as pdf for free on the REN21 Website and definitely worth a read.

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