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2009 May 13

Renewables Global Status Report: Energy Transformation Continues Despite Economic Slowdown

Magnus Ånstrand
Ethanol and biodiesel production both increased by 34 percent to 67 and 12 billion litres respectively. More renewable energy than conventional power capacity was added in both the European Union and United States for the first time ever.
The REN21 Renewables Global Status Report released today shows that the fundamental transition of the world’s energy markets continues (

“This fourth edition of REN21’s renewable energy report comes in the midst of an historic and global economic crisis,” says Mohamed El-Ashry, chairman of REN21. Although the future is unclear, he says, “there is much in the report for optimism.”

Global power capacity from new renewable energy sources (excluding large hydro) reached 280,000 megawatts (MW) in 2008 – a 16 percent rise from the 240,000 MW in 2007 and nearly three times the capacity of the U.S. nuclear sector.

“The recent growth of the sector has surpassed all predictions, even those made by the industry itself,” says El-Ashry, adding that much of this growth was due to more favourable policies amidst increasing concerns about climate change and energy security.  

73 countries favor renewable energy

During 2008, a number of governments enacted new policies, and many countries set  ambitious targets. Today, at least 73 countries have renewable energy policy targets, up from 66 at the end of 2007. In response to the financial crisis, several governments have directed economic stimulus funding towards the new green jobs the renewable energy sector can provide, including the U.S. package that will invest $150 billion over ten years in renewable energy.   

Developing countries – particularly China and India – are increasingly playing major roles in both the manufacture and installation of RE. For example, China’s total wind power capacity doubled in 2008 for the fourth year running.

For more information on REN21 and download of the report please visit their website