Green Energy Trends See US Improvements Though Falling Behind

By July 15, 2010

The US added more power capacity from renewable sources in 2009, as shown by reports released today from the United Nations Environment Programme and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century. Power collected from

wind, solar and other sustainable sources accounted for more than fifty percent of newly installed capacity last year. Predictions for this year or next indicate that the world will add more capacity to the total supply from renewable rather than conventional, non-renewable sources.

According to the report release statement, "investment in core clean energy (new renewables, biofuels and energy efficiency) ... suffered a fall in investment [in North America], to $20.7 billion from $33.3 billion." But in general, green power weathered the economic crisis better than expected. Though investment dropped seven percent globally, there was record investment in wind power, as well as an increase in spending on solar water heaters and installation costs for rooftop solar PV.

UNEP's Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2010 and the REN21's Renewables 2010 Global Status Report, were released by UN Under-Secretary-General Achim Steiner, UNEP's Executive Director, and Mohamed El-Ashry, Chair of REN21. Steiner comments on the resilience and frustration that defined the sustainable energy industry in 2009. The UN climate convention in Copenhagen did not deliver the results that many had hoped for, but there were industry actors and governments that are still transforming the financial crisis to deliver green growth.

In 2009, renewable power sources represented one-quarter of global electrical power and eighteen percent of global power production. By 2011, the world should reach half or more in newly-installed power capacity from renewables. In the same year, Asia and Oceania private sector green energy investments exceeded that of the Americas - $40.8 billion compared to $32.3 billion.

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