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Triple Crunch Log                                                                                                            

Investment totals in utility-scale solar PV declined relative to 2008, partly a result of large drops in the costs of solar PV. However, this decline was offset by record investment in small-scale (rooftop) solar PV projects. The reports also show that countries with policies encouraging renewable energy have roughly doubled from 55 in 2005 to more than 100 today – half of them in the developing world – and have played a critically important role in the sector’s rapid growth.  ….In 2009 renewable sources represented: 25 per cent of global power (electricity) capacity (1,230 gigawatts (GW) out of 4,800 GW total all sources, including coal, gas, nuclear); 18 per cent of global power production; 60 per cent of newly installed power capacity in Europe and more than 50 per cent in the US; the world as a whole should reach 50 per cent or more in newly-installed power capacity from renewables in 2010 or 2011. …Major economies in 2009 began to spend some of the estimated $188 billion in global “green stimulus” programs announced in September 2008. However, at the end of 2009, only 9 percent of the money had been spent, with larger proportions expected to flow in 2010 and 2011.”580

Investment in renewables totalled $162 billion in 2009: the second highest annual figure ever (after 2008) and nearly quadruple the sum invested in 2004. After a weak first quarter attributed to the banking crisis, sustainable energy investments rebounded in the final three quarters of last year.  This added some 50 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy generation capacity worldwide (not including hydro-electric) up from 40GW added in 2008.  “The green power sector survived the economic downturn better than many expected, with share prices rising almost 40% in 2009, reversing roughly one third of losses experienced in 2008. Clean energy share prices under-performed wider stock markets by around 10 percent in the first four months of 2010. Although oil prices were buoyant, prices of electricity and natural gas stayed low, cramping returns for project developers. Nevertheless, new clean energy investments in the first quarter of 2010 (often the most subdued quarter of the year) were up more than 50 percent on the same three months of 2009. ….From 2005 to 2009 inclusive, the annual average rate of growth in wind power capacity was 27 percent; solar hot water 21 percent rate; ethanol production 20 percent and biodiesel production 51 percent. The use of biomass and geothermal for power and heat also grew strongly.”581

Wind was even more dominant as a destination for investment in 2009 than 2008. “In 2008, it accounted for $59 billion or 45 percent of all financial investment in sustainable energy; in 2009, it accounted for $67 billion and its share rose to 56 percent. Wind power additions reached a record high of 38 GW, 13.8 GW of which was installed in China, 10 GW in the US, and 2.5 GW in Spain. Wind power existed in just a handful of countries in the 1990s, but now exists in over 82 countries.”582

Total global investment in solar PV reached a record $40 billion in 2009. “Grid-connected solar power has grown by an average of 60 percent every year for the past decade, from 0.2 GW at the start of 2000 to 21 GW at the end of 2009. The year 2009 was very different for large-scale (utility-scale) solar however, suffering a 27 percent fall in financial investment in the year, to $24 billion. The sharp decline links to several factors, including falling prices, a sudden over-supply of photo-voltaic products, new caution on the part of investors towards equity in young solar companies, a shortage of bank financing for projects in Europe and North America and a temporary freeze on permits for new capacity in Spain, the most active solar market in 2008. Solar PV additions nevertheless reached a record high of 7 GW in 2009. Germany was the top market, with 3.8 GW added, or more than half the global market. Other large markets were Italy, Japan, the United States, the Czech Republic, and Belgium. Spain, the world leader in 2008, saw installations plunge to a low level in 2009 after a policy cap was exceeded.  In 2009, China produced 40 percent of the world’s solar PV supply, 25 percent of the world’s wind turbines (up from 10 percent in 2007), and 77 percent of the world’s solar hot water collectors. Power produced by solar PV dropped in price some 50 to 60 percent by some estimates – from highs of $3.50 per watt in mid-2008, to lows approaching $2 per watt. An estimated 70 million households worldwide now employ solar hot water heating.”583

Investment in biofuels was $7bn in 2009, and biomass and waste-to energy $11bn. “Biofuels, which ranked third after wind and solar in 2008 with $18 billion of financial investment, ended up fourth last year with just $7 billion. Biomass and waste-to-energy, which was fourth in 2008 with $9 billion, moved up to third in 2009 with $11 billion. Biofuels displaced the energy equivalent of 8 percent of global gasoline consumption. Latin America is seeing many new biofuels producers in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, as well as expansion in many other renewable technologies. Investment in new biofuels plants also declined from 2008 rates, as corn ethanol production capacity was not fully utilized in the United States and several firms went bankrupt. The Brazilian sugar ethanol industry likewise faced economic troubles, with no growth despite ongoing expansion plans. Europe faced similar softening in biodiesel, with production capacity only half utilized.”584

Investment in energy efficiency technologies in 2009 totalled $4bn. “Energy-smart technologies such as power storage and efficiency saw a 34 percent rise in investment, to $4 billion. For the first time, energy-smart technologies attracted more venture capital and private equity investment than any other clean energy sector.”585

Pro-renewables policymaking is now to be found in more than 100 nations. A significant milestone was reached in early 2010 – more than 100 countries had enacted some type of policy target and/or promotion policy related to renewable energy, up from 55 countries in early 2005. Many new targets enacted in the past three years call for shares of energy or electricity from renewables in the 15–25 percent range by 2020. Most countries have adopted more than one promotion policy, and there is a huge diversity of policies in place at national, state/provincial, and local levels. Manufacturing leadership is shifting from Europe to Asia, as countries like China, India, and South Korea continue to increase their commitments to renewable energy. As a group, developing countries have more than half of global renewable power capacity. Developing countries now make up nearly half of all countries with policy targets (38 out of 80 countries) and also make up half of all countries with some type of renewable energy promotion policy (41 out of 81 countries). Markets for renewables are growing at rapid rates in countries such as Argentina, Costa Rica, Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay, to name a few. At least 20 countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa have active renewable energy markets. Outside of Europe and the United States, other developed countries like Australia, Canada, and Japan are seeing recent gains and broader technology diversification. Globally, renewable energy industries employ an estimated 3 million people, about half of them in the biofuel industry. There are many more indirect jobs involved in renewables value chains.586

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