The Worldwatch Institute has just released their Renewables 2005 Global Status Report which provides an overview of the status of renewable energy worlwide in 2005.
A report full of encouraging data, which shows that the renewables revolution we've been calling for is well underway.
* About US $ 30 billion was invested in renewable energy worlwide in 2004 (excluding large hydro) [$ 150 billion were invested in the conventional power sector]
* Renewable energy capacity totals 160 Gigawatts worldwide (excluding large hydro) [about 4 percent of global power sector capacity]
* Renewables generated as much electric power worlwide in 2004 as one-fifth of the world's nuclear power pants [not counting large hydro which represent 16 % of the world's electricity]
* The fastest growing energy technology in the world is grid-connected solar photovoltaic, which grew by 60 percent per year from 2000-2004 [with my own 36 solar panels installed in 2001 I can tell you that not only it works, but it is fun-- see photo]
* Rooftop solar collectors provide hot water to nearly 40 million households worldwide
* Production of biofuels exceeded 33 billion liters in 2004 [3 % of the gasoline consumed globally]
* 4.5 million green power consumers in Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and Japan were voluntarily purchasing renewable energy in 2004
* Direct jobs in the renewables sector exceeded 1.7 million in 2004
And at least 48 countries worldwide, including 14 developing countries, have adopted some type of renewable energy promotion policy.
(Abstracts from the Executive Summary)
This publication is part of the REN21 effort -- Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, formed at a conference in Bonn in 2004, pursuant to the initiative of the European Union and a few other countries at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.
The main message is perhaps that those who do not see the renewables opportunity now will miss the train of the 21st century's energy revolution.