photo: Petter Palander via flickr
Here's a bit of good news about the slow transition away from oil and fossil fuels: Reports from UNEP and Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century show that in 2009, for the second year in a row, more new renewable energy capacity was installed than was from fossil fuels in both the United States and Europe.More than 50% of new power capacity in the US and 60% in Europe was from renewables. In 2010 or 2011, that trend is expected to extend to all nations.
New private and public sector investments in core clean energy leapt 53 per cent in China in 2009. China added 37 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity, more than any other country.
Globally, nearly 80 GW of renewable power capacity was added, including 31 GW of hydro and 48 GW of non-hydro capacity.
China surpassed the US in 2009 as the country with the greatest investment in clean energy. China's wind farm development was the strongest investment feature of the year by far, although there were other areas of strength worldwide in 2009, notably North Sea offshore wind investment and the financing of power storage and electric vehicle technology companies.
Wind power and solar PV additions reached a record high of 38 GW and 7 GW, respectively. 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.
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