This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 09, 2005

Renewable Energy Markets Showed Strong Growth in 2004

Global investment in renewable energy reached $30 billion in 2004, equal to 20 to 25 percent of the global investment in the power sector, according to a report released on November 6th by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). According to the report, global investment in renewable energy has grown steadily since 1995, when it was at about $7 billion. As a result, wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and small hydropower technologies now supply 160 gigawatts of generating capacity, about 4 percent of the world total. The fastest growing technologies are grid-connected solar power, at 60 percent per year, and wind power, which grew 28 percent in 2004. REN21 is a global policy network aimed at providing a forum for international leadership on renewable energy. The report was authored and published by the Worldwatch Institute. See the Worldwatch Institute press release and the full report (PDF 904 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

The rising global investments in renewable energy have also had a positive effect on clean energy stock prices, according to New Energy Finance. The company has created a stock index of 50 clean energy companies, called the Global Energy Innovation Index (GEIX). The index finished the third quarter up 32.5 percent on the year and nearly 20 percent on the quarter. New Energy Finance claims that stocks for clean energy companies in countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases have outperformed their competitors by 66.6 percent, a trend the company refers to as the "Kyoto Effect." See the New Energy Finance press release (PDF 18 KB).

Meanwhile, a report released on November 1st by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) finds few barriers to international trade in renewable energy technologies. The report credits growth in renewable energy to government incentives, including those that stem from international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol. It also credits technological advances that have improved the cost-competitiveness of renewable energy technologies, as well as concerns regarding the environment and energy security. According to the report, the United States is the world's largest market for biomass and geothermal power, while Germany leads the market for wind power, Japan for solar power, and France for ocean power. See the ITC press release and the full report (PDF 2.3 MB).