Report: Four Key Clean Energy Markets Increased 40% in 2007

March 19, 2008

Solar photovoltaic products, wind power, biofuels, and fuel cells collectively experienced a 40% growth in revenues in 2007, according to a new report from Clean Edge, Inc. Global revenues for the four clean energy markets increased from $55 billion in 2006 to $77.3 billion in 2007. And although the fuel cell and distributed hydrogen market remains relatively immature, with revenues of $1.5 billion in 2007, the three other renewable markets each exceeded $20 billion in revenue. Of the four energy markets, wind power earned the highest revenue, at $30.1 billion. In terms of production, the biofuels industry produced 13 billion gallons of ethanol throughout the world, as well as 2 billion gallons of biodiesel, while solar photovoltaic system installations fell just short of 3,000 megawatts.

The Clean Energy Trends 2008 report looks ahead ten years and predicts that global installed solar photovoltaic capacity will increase eightfold, to 22,760 megawatts, global wind power capacity will nearly quadruple, to 75,781 megawatts, and biofuel production will nearly triple, to 45.9 billion gallons. It also projects a tripling of the three clean energy markets over the next ten years, with the largest growth rate in the nascent fuel cell and distributed hydrogen market, which grows more than tenfold to $16 billion. But for biofuels, wind power, and solar photovoltaic products, the projection actually represents slower growth compared to recent years. For instance, the solar photovoltaic increased fivefold in the past four years and is projected to increase by a factor of 3.6 over the next ten years. That's a 13.8% average annual growth in the coming decade, compared to 50% average annual growth over the past four years. See the Clean Edge press release, report summary, and full report (PDF 1.9 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

The report anticipates continued revenue growth in 2008, and highlights five major trends: the growing participation of overseas companies in the U.S. wind power market; a renaissance for geothermal energy; the launch of new electric vehicles by relatively small startup companies, rather than the large automakers; the use of new, clean technologies for oceangoing ships; and the design and construction of entirely new sustainable cities. Regarding that final trend, the leader in building new sustainable cities is the United Arab Emirates, which broke ground in February on Masdar City. The new city, developed by the government's $15 billion Masdar Initiative, aims to be the world's first zero-carbon, zero-waste, car-free city. The Masdar Initiative plans to contribute $4 billion toward the city's architecture, with private investment and other financing providing an additional $18 billion. Masdar City is actually a 2.3-square-mile district on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi that will be built in seven phases over the next eight years. The first phase will include the Masdar Headquarters, which will produce more energy that it uses, and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, a graduate university dedicated to renewable energy. See the Masdar Initiative press releases on its funding, the Masdar City groundbreaking, and the Masdar Headquarters.