Renewable energy is often now portrayed as one of the new frontiers in innovation. Venture capitalists are pouring in, stirring comparisons with the earlier IT dotcom revolution. Time to take stock of what renewable energy can offer the world. A global status report released last week by REN21 assists handsomely in this task (full reference:" REN21. 2008.“Renewables 2007 Global Status Report” Paris: REN21 Secretariat and Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute).
Some facts contained in the report:
- Renewables represent 5 percent of global power capacity and 3.4 percent of global power generation (excl. hydro)
- Renewable energy generated as much electric power worldwide in 2006 as one-quarter of the world’s nuclear power plants
- The fastest growing energy technology in the world is grid-connected solar photovoltaics (PV) power
- The largest component of renewables generation capacity is wind power, which grew by 28 percent worldwide in 2007
- Developing countries as a group have more than 40 percent of existing renewable power capacity, more than 70 percent of existing solar hot water capacity, and 45 percent of biofuels production
The report further contains a wealth of information on local case studies as well as estimates on renewable energy costs and investment patterns.