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2011 Renewable Energy Status Report: The Rise of Renewables

The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century has just released their annual Renewables 2011 Global Status Report. I was one of the reviewers of the draft report, and therefore got to read and comment on it prior to publication. The report provides a comprehensive overview of global renewable energy sectors, breaking different categories down by total installed capacity and capacity added in 2010. It also ranks the global leaders for many categories.

Renewable energy grew strongly in 2010, as the total global investment in renewable energy reached $211 billion, up 32% from the $160 billion invested in 2009. Globally, the capacity of various renewable energy categories at the end of 2010 was:

• Solar PV – 40 GW
• Wind – 198 GW
• Geothermal – 11 GW
• Hydropower – 1010 GW
• Biomass power and heat – 62 GW
• Solar hot water/heating – 185 GWth

The U.S. leads global capacity for geothermal and biomass heat and power, China leads on hydropower, wind power, and solar hot water, and Germany leads in solar PV capacity. Globally, solar PV capacity has increased by a factor of seven in five years.

Some of the other highlights of the report, from the press release accompanying the report’s release:

• 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 all 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.

By. Robert Rapier

Source: R Squared Energy Blog

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