Global Trends Show Growth in Renewables

According to UNEP’s Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2012, the global investment in renewables in 2011 increased 17% to a record $257 billion – with developing countries accounting for 35% share of this investment. This represents a six-fold increase since 2004, despite the economic downturn since 2007. This is positive news for countries looking to transition to low-carbon, resource efficient green economies.

REN21’s Renewables 2012 Global Status Report, which is a product of over 400 contributors and reviewers, notes that during 2011 renewables continued to grow strongly in all end-use sectors – power, heating and cooling and transport.

The report, which covers trends in various renewables sectors including wind power, solar PV, biomass, solar thermal heating and cooling, Concentrated Solar Thermal Power (CSP) , hydropower, ocean energy and geothermal heat and power, shows that renewable sources have grown to supply 16.7 % of global final energy consumption.

The report found that in 2011, renewable energy technologies continued to expand into new markets: around 50 countries installed wind power capacity, and solar PV capacity was moving rapidly into new regions and countries. Solar hot water collectors are used by more than 200 million households as well as in many public and commercial buildings all around the world.

Furthermore, the report found that at least 118 countries, represented by mostly developing countries, had renewable energy targets in place by early 2012, up from 96 one year before, although some slackening of policy support was seen in developed countries.

“There may be multiple reasons driving investments in renewables from climate, energy security and the urgency to electrify rural and urban areas in the developing world as one pathway towards eradicating poverty — whatever the drivers the strong and sustained growth of the renewable energy sector is a major factor that is assisting many economies towards a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy” says Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director.

Linked to the GSR, REN21 has developed the Renewables Interactive Map – which is a new interactive tool to capture and highlight information on country-specific developments in renewable energy, providing accurate and up to date information on renewables policies, targets, shares, installed capacity, production, and policies.

Sources: UNEP’s Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2012 and REN21’s Renewables 2012 Global Status Report


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