The meteoritic rise of renewables 1


According to the latest report of the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st century (REN21), renewable energies are witnessing an important increase.

Indeed global generating capacity of grid-connected solar photovoltaic rose by 52 percent and wind power by 28 percent in 2007, compared to 2006.

These renewables are due to have a bright future, but this shouldn’t make us forget they represent a mere 0.1 percent of the current global energy mix.

According to the press release :

The renewable energy industry is stepping up its meteoric rise into the mainstream of the energy sector, according to the REN21 Renewables 2007 Global Status Report. Renewable energy production capacities are growing rapidly as a result of more countries enacting far-reaching policies.

Prepared by the Renewable Energy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) in collaboration with the Worldwatch Institute, the Renewables 2007 Global Status Report paints an encouraging picture of rapidly expanding renewable energy markets, policies, industries, and rural applications around the world.

(…) “So much has happened in the renewable energy sector during the past five years that the perceptions of some politicians and energy-sector analysts lag far behind the reality of where the renewables industry is today,” says Mohamed El-Ashry, Chair of REN21.

Renowned researcher Dr. Eric Martinot led an international team of 140 researchers and contributors from both developed and developing countries to produce the report. He says renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and small-scale hydropower offer countries the means to improve their energy security and spur economic development.

Citing the report, Martinot says the renewable energy sector now accounts for 2.4 million jobs globally, and has doubled electric generating capacity since 2004, to 240 gigawatts. More than 65 countries now have national goals for accelerating the use of renewable energy and are enacting far-reaching policies to meet those goals. Multilateral agencies and private investors alike are integrating renewable energy into their mainstream portfolios, capturing the interest of the largest global companies.

Worldwatch President Chris Flavin says the report shows that renewable energy is poised to make a significant contribution to meeting energy needs and reducing the growth in carbon dioxide emissions in the years immediately ahead. “The science is telling us we need to substantially reduce emissions now, but this will only happen with even stronger policies to accelerate the growth of clean energy,” he says.

(…) Commenting on the dramatic rise of renewables, Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said: “The findings come in the wake of UNEP’s annual gathering of environment ministers in Monaco last week.

It is clear from ministers in Monaco and from reports like REN21 that we are beginning to see elements of an emerging Green Economy, fueled by the existing climate change agreements and the prospect of even deeper and more decisive emissions reductions post 2012.”

But this should make us forget that renewables have, like any other energy solutions, darker sides. I already wrote about that earlier, see for example this article.

I will soon write another article on this topic as the French magazine Science & Vie published a very interesting file on it. So, stay tuned and don’t hesitate to comment this article as I would gladly read you.


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