Report: Global Renewable Energy Experiencing Double-Digit Growth

December 12, 2007

Renewable energy use is growing much faster than 10% per year throughout the world, according to a new report from the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). Excluding large hydropower, the global electric generating capacity of renewable energy facilities reached 237 gigawatts (GW) this year, up 15% from last year. That's about 5.5% of the electric generating capacity throughout the world. At 93 GW, wind power provided about 40% of that renewable generating capacity; wind power capacity increased by 25% over 2006. Grid-connected solar photovoltaic systems reached 7.8 GW in capacity, a 56% increase, while the global production of photovoltaic systems reached 3.8 GW per year, a 52% increase over 2006.

Among non-electric renewable energy sources, solar hot water capacity increased by 17% to 121 thermal GW. Global ethanol production increased 16% to 11.6 billion gallons, while biodiesel production increased by a third to more than 2 billion gallons. The REN21 report estimates that global investment in renewable energy will exceed $100 billion in 2007, including $15-$20 billion invested in large hydropower facilities, at least $66 billion invested in other renewable energy facilities, $10-$12 billion invested in manufacturing plants for photovoltaic devices and biofuels, and $16 billion invested in public and private research and development. The full REN21 report will be published in January, but a pre-publication summary has been released in December, in time for the climate conference in Bali. See the REN21 press release and pre-publication summary (PDF 765 KB). Download Adobe Reader.