Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Renewables 2011 Global Status Report

My photo of Vestas manufacturing plant near Pueblo, Colorado

The Renewables 2011 Global Status Report on the global growth of renewable energy in 2010 has been released. Here are some of the key findings:
  • The renewable energy sector continues to perform well despite continuing economic recession, incentive cuts, and low natural-gas prices.
  • 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.
  • In 2010, renewable energy supplied an estimated 16% of global final energy consumption and delivered close to 20% of global electricity.
  • The top five countries for non-hydro renewable power capacity were the United States, China, Germany, Spain, and India.
  • Global solar PV production and markets more than doubled in comparison with 2009, thanks to government incentive programmes and the continued fall in PV module prices.
  • Germany installed more PV in 2010 than the entire world added in 2009.
  • PV markets in Japan and the U.S. almost doubled relative to 2009.
  • Globally, wind power added the most new capacity (followed by hydropower and solar PV), but for the first time ever, Europe added more PV than wind capacity.
  • Renewable energy policies continue to be the main driver behind renewable energy growth.
  • Last year, investment reached a record $211 billion in renewables -- about one-third more than the $160 billion invested in 2009, and more than five times the amount invested in 2004.
  • Developed countries still led the way in investment in small-scale power projects and R&D during 2010. Germany, Italy and the US were the top three.
  • 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.
  • 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 (collectively) have more than half of global renewable energy power.
To read the entire report, go here.

REN21 is also launching its Renewables Interactive Map - a streamlined tool for gathering and sharing information online about developments related to renewable energy.

h/t Robert Rapier


  1. Solar and Wind are not renewable. The energy from solar and from wind is of course renewable but the devices used to capture the energy of the sun and wind is not renewable. Nor are they green or sustainable.

    An oak tree is renewable. A horse is renewable. They reproduce themselves. The human-made equipment used to capture solar energy or wind energy is not renewable. There is considerable fossil fuel energy embedded in this equipment. The many components used in devices to capture solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy and biomass energy – aluminum, glass, copper, rare metals, petroleum in many forms to name a few – are fossil fuel dependent.

    Wind used by sailing ships and old style “dutch” wind machines is renewable and sustainable.
    From: Energy in the Real World with pictures of proof.

  2. Hello,

    I'm reading your blog for the first time and enjoying it tremendously.

    I came from The Automatic Earth which is on my daily reading list. When I saw this post, I looked in with the intent of pointing to another on my daily reading list - Robert Rapier - and then saw the hat tip.

    I'll be adding your site to my bookmark's to read a bit more.

    Thanks for the blog.

  3. RBM,
    Thanks for the positive feedback! Yes, I am well familiar with Automatic Earth, R Squared, The Oil Drum etc. Began reading TOD many years ago and have been a contributing author at Energy Bulletin, too. Welcome.