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BB200610, News in Brief

New REN21 report

26.11.2006

2005: record year for investments in renewable energy   According to a new report by the Renewable Energy Policy Network (REN21), global investments for renewable energy in 2005 reached a record high of 29.8 billion euros (US$38 billion), up from 23.53 billion euros (US$30 billion) in 2004. These findings and more are presented in the REN21's 2006 update to its Global Status Report showing trends in renewable investment and policies worldwide.

The 2006 update is, like the first Global Status Report of 2005, a collaborative effort involving more than 100 researchers worldwide. The global policy network “REN 21” was created two years ago in the follow up of the Bonn conference and received strong support from the German Government. Driven by an “International Steering Committee”, REN 21 is a global policy network aimed at providing a forum for international promotion and coordination of renewable energy policy.

The REN21 report (update 2006) estimates that at least 85 renewable energy companies or divisions have market valuations greater than USD 40 million, up from 60 companies or divisions in 2004. The estimated total market valuation of companies in this category is USD 50 billion, double the 2004 estimate, as several high-profile initial public offerings have recently taken place. Many new policies to support renewable energy were adopted over the past year, and many more were extended, revised, or discussed. Not only the EU and US were active, but more than 16 developing countries as well, including Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Thailand, and Uganda.

Concerning wind figures, REN21 report is in perfect compliance with the recently released GWEC global status (see Brussels Briefing 06/3). Wind power capacity grew by 24% in 2005 to reach 59 GW, and ten countries added over 300 MW of wind power, up from five countries that had done so in 2004. The countries with the highest total installed capacity are Germany (18,428 MW), Spain (10,027 MW), the USA (9,149 MW), India (4,430 MW) and Denmark (3,122 MW). India has thereby overtaken Denmark as the fourth largest wind market in the world. A number of other countries, including Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, China, Japan and Portugal have reached the 1,000 MW mark of installed capacity.

The messages from the REN 21 report just like the Global Wind 2005 Report from GWEC are clear. Wind energy has become a global business and it is rapidly developing into a mainstream power source in developing and developed countries. It is a vital technology for responding to the key energy challenges of our time: security of supply, secure growth, climate change, increasing energy demand and volatile fossil fuel prices.

In an open letter to the G8 Summit in St Petersburg on 15-17 July, the global wind energy industry had called the G8 leaders to build on the momentum created by the 2005 Gleneagles Summit and to make a strong commitment to a sustainable and secure energy future. The letter emphasised that wind technology is not a dream for the future – it is real, it is mature and it can be deployed on a large scale. Thanks to twenty years of technological progress, wind turbines have come a long way and a wind farm today acts much more like a conventional power station.

"Wind energy can and must play a central role in responding to the key energy challenges of our time: security of supply, climate change, increasing energy demand and volatile fossil fuel prices," concludes the letter.

However, the biggest developments are still ahead… as the potential for further wind energy development remains significant. As with any other energy source, the wind power market is largely driven by policy and markets only exist where policy support is enacted. As a result, political support both at national and at international level is key to the global success of wind energy.

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