The use of renewable energy is rising faster than most people think according to a new report issued by the WorldWatch Foundation.


Washington, D.C.-The renewable energy industry is stepping up its
meteoric rise into the mainstream of the energy sector, according to the
REN21 Renewables 2007 Global Status Report. Renewable energy production
capacities are growing rapidly as a result of more countries enacting
far-reaching policies.

Prepared by the Renewable Energy Network for the 21st Century (REN21)
( in collaboration with the Worldwatch Institute
(, the Renewables 2007 Global Status Report paints an
encouraging picture of rapidly expanding renewable energy markets,
policies, industries, and rural applications around the world. In 2007,
global wind generating capacity is estimated to have increased 28
percent, while grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity rose 52

"So much has happened in the renewable energy sector during the past
five years that the perceptions of some politicians and energy-sector
analysts lag far behind the reality of where the renewables industry is
today," says Mohamed El-Ashry, Chair of REN21. 

Renowned researcher Dr. Eric Martinot led an international team of 140
researchers and contributors from both developed and developing
countries to produce the report. He says renewable energy sources such
as wind, solar, geothermal, and small-scale hydropower offer countries
the means to improve their energy security and spur economic

Citing the report, Martinot says the renewable energy sector now
accounts for 2.4 million jobs globally, and has doubled electric
generating capacity since 2004, to 240 gigawatts. More than 65 countries
now have national goals for accelerating the use of renewable energy and
are enacting far-reaching policies to meet those goals. Multilateral
agencies and private investors alike are integrating renewable energy
into their mainstream portfolios, capturing the interest of the largest
global companies.

Worldwatch President Chris Flavin says the report shows that renewable
energy is poised to make a significant contribution to meeting energy
needs and reducing the growth in carbon dioxide emissions in the years
immediately ahead. "The science is telling us we need to substantially
reduce emissions now, but this will only happen with even stronger
policies to accelerate the growth of clean energy," he says.

El-Ashry emphasizes that many of the trends described in the Renewables
2007 Global Status Report are the result of leadership and actions
launched since the major renewable energy conference held in Bonn,
Germany, in 2004. "This leadership has never been more important, as
renewable energy has now reached the top of the international policy
agenda under the United Nations and the G8," said El-Ashry.

Commenting on the dramatic rise of renewables, Achim Steiner, UN
Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment
Programme (UNEP), said: "The findings come in the wake of UNEP's annual
gathering of environment ministers in Monaco last week. It is clear from
ministers in Monaco and from reports like REN21 that we are beginning to
see elements of an emerging Green Economy, fueled by the existing
climate change agreements and the prospect of even deeper and more
decisive emissions reductions post 2012."

The Renewables 2007 Global Status Report is being released ahead of the
Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC), taking
place March 4-6 in Washington, D.C. WIREC will be the third such
international conference following those in Bonn in 2004 and Beijing in


Notes to Editors:

Download an advance copy of the Renewables 2007 Global Status Report
(for media only):

For interviews: To interview the report contributors, contact Darcey
Rakestraw, Worldwatch Institute, at +1-202-452-1992 x517,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Paul Suding, REN21 Secretariat,
+33-144375091, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

WIREC 2008: During WIREC 2008, a special side event will be held to
present the Renewables 2007 report on Tuesday, March 4, from 12:30-14:00
in the Washington Conference Center.

About REN21: REN21 is a global policy network including members from
governments and international organizations, civil society, and industry
from the energy, environment, and development sectors. REN21's goal is
to bolster policy development for the rapid expansion of renewable
energy in developing and industrialised economies. German development
enterprise GTZ and the United Nations Environment Programme are partners
in the network's secretariat. For more information, visit

About Worldwatch: The Worldwatch Institute is an independent research
organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource,
and environmental issues. The Institute's State of the World report is
published annually in more than 20 languages. For more information,

REN21 Renewables 2007 Global Status Report: Highlights

* Renewable electricity generation capacity reached an estimated
240 gigawatts (GW) worldwide in 2007, an increase of 50 percent over
2004. Renewable energy represents 5 percent of global power capacity and
3.4 percent of global power generation. New renewable energy (not
counting large hydropower) generated as much electric power worldwide in
2006 as one-quarter of the world's nuclear power plants. Large
hydropower itself accounted for 15 percent of global power generation.

* The largest component of the renewable power capacity increase
was wind power, which grew again by over 25 percent worldwide in 2007,
to reach an estimated 95 GW.

* The fastest growing energy technology in the world is
grid-connected solar photovoltaics (PV), with 50 percent annual
increases in cumulative installed capacity in both 2006 and 2007, to an
estimated 7.7 GW. This translates into 1.5 million homes with rooftop
solar PV feeding into the grid worldwide. Another estimated 2.7 GW of
stand-alone systems brings global PV capacity to over 10 GW.

* Rooftop solar heat collectors provide hot water to nearly 50
million households worldwide, and space heating to a growing number of
homes. Existing solar hot water/heating capacity increased by 19 percent
in 2006 to reach 105 gigawatts-thermal globally.

* Biomass and geothermal energy are commonly used for both power
and heating, with recent increases in a number of countries, including
uses for district heating. More than 2 million ground-source heat pumps
are used in 30 countries for heating and cooling of buildings.

* Production of biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel) exceeded an
estimated 53 billion liters in 2007, up 43 percent from 2005. Ethanol
production in 2007 represented about four percent of the 1,300 billion
liters of gasoline consumed globally. Annual biodiesel production
increased by more than 50 percent in 2006.

* Renewable energy, especially small hydropower, biomass, and
solar PV, provides electricity, heat, motive power, and water pumping
for tens of millions of people in rural areas of developing countries,
serving agriculture, small industry, homes, schools, and community
needs. Twenty-five million households cook and light their homes with
biogas, and 2.5 million households use solar lighting systems.

* Developing countries as a group have more than 40 percent of
existing renewable power capacity, more than 70 percent of existing
solar hot water capacity, and 45 percent of biofuel production.

* Investment reached an estimated $71 billion in new renewable
power, fuel, and heat production assets worldwide in 2007 (excluding
large hydropower), of which 47 percent was for wind power and 30 percent
was for solar PV. Investment in large hydropower represented an
additional $15-20 billion.

* Investment flows became more diversified and mainstreamed during
2006/2007, including those from major commercial and investment banks,
venture capital and private equity investors, multilateral and bilateral
development organizations, and smaller local financiers. The renewable
energy industry saw many new companies, huge increases in company
valuations, and many initial public offerings. Just counting the 140
highest-valued publicly traded renewable energy companies yields a
combined market capitalization of more than $100 billion. Companies also
broadened expansion into emerging markets. Major industry growth is
occurring in a number of emerging commercial technologies, including
thin-film solar PV, concentrating solar thermal power generation, and
advanced/second generation biofuels (with first-ever commercial plants
completed in 2007 or under construction).

* Jobs worldwide from renewable energy manufacturing, operations,
and maintenance exceeded 2.4 million in 2006, including some 1.1 million
for biofuels production.

* Policy targets for renewable energy exist in at least 66
countries worldwide, including all 27 European Union countries, 29 U.S.
states (and D.C.), and 9 Canadian provinces. Most targets are for shares
of electricity production, primary energy, and/or final energy by a
future year. Most targets aim for the 2010-2012 timeframe, although an
increasing number of targets aim for 2020.

* There is now an EU-wide target of 20 percent of final energy by
2020, and a Chinese target of 15 percent of primary energy by 2020. In
addition to China, several other developing countries adopted or
upgraded targets during 2006/2007.

* In addition, targets for biofuels as future shares of transport
energy now exist in several countries, including an EU-wide target of 10
percent by 2020.

* Policies to promote renewable energy have mushroomed in recent
years. At least 60 countries-37 developed and transition countries and
23 developing countries-have some type of policy to promote renewable
power generation. The most common policy is the feed-in law. By 2007, at
least 37 countries and 9 states/provinces had adopted feed-in policies,
more than half of which have been enacted since 2002.

* Strong momentum for feed-in tariffs continues around the world
as countries enact new feed-in policies or revise existing ones. At
least 44 states, provinces, and countries have enacted renewable
portfolio standards (RPS), also called renewable obligations or quota
policies. There are many other forms of policy support for renewable
power generation, including capital investment subsidies or rebates, tax
incentives and credits, sales tax and value-added tax exemptions, energy
production payments or tax credits, net metering, public investment or
financing, and public competitive bidding.