Renewables Global Status Report 2009 - Update

May 2009

This “Update” edition of the Renewables Global Status Report is the fourth in a series launched in 2005. It provides an integrated picture of the global renewable energy situation, unfolding in the midst of a historic and global economic crisis.
Players in the renewable energy sector are anxious about the impacts of the financial crisis and how financial constraints may affect their flourishing sector. Will environmental and energy-security goals take second place to short-term economic concerns? Will clean energy be regarded as a luxury option only during periods of thriving economies?
This report shows that the fundamental transition of the world’s energy markets is continuing. It also demonstrates that renewable energy expansion is policy-driven, and stable and predictable government strategies have a key role in helping the sector ride out the current financial downturn and emerge as a critical component of a long-term, stable, low-carbon global economy.
Renewable energy industries boomed during most of 2008. As a part of the phenomenon, China usurped Japan to become the new world leader in global solar PV cell production and also experienced huge growth in its wind power industry. The ethanol and biodiesel industries similarly expanded, particularly in North America and Latin America.
Nevertheless, though the clean energy sector initially weathered the financial crisis in late 2008 better than many other sectors, renewable investment did experience a downturn after September 2008. However, projects continued to progress and many economic stimulus bills included components for supporting renewable energy. At the same time, development assistance for renewables in developing countries expanded greatly.
By early 2009, policy targets existed in at least 73 countries, and at least 64 countries had policies to promote renewable power generation. Many forms of policy support for renewables were added, supplemented, or extended in a number of countries during 2008 especially through city and local governments which have became a growing segment of the policy landscape and are actively planning or implementing renewable energy policies and frameworks linked to carbon dioxide emissions reduction.

By: REN21 – Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century

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