Sunday, July 18, 2010

Harnessing power from the Sun is one of the fastest growing energy sectors

The building of new renewable energy sources continued to outstrip new fossil fuel power plants in Europe and the US during 2009, a report has shown.

The UN-backed study said renewables accounted for 60% of new electricity generation capacity in Europe.

And in the US, green electricity accounted for more than half of the generation capacity built last year.

The authors added that renewables were set to outpace conventional energy sources across the globe next year.

The global status report, produced by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), said green power had reached a "clear tipping point" during 2010.

"Renewables comprised fully one-quarter of global power capacity and delivered 18% of global electricity supply in 2009," it stated in its review of the preceding 12 months.

Graph of renewable electricity capacities

The authors said the year was "unprecedented in the history of renewable energy, despite the headwinds posed by the global financial crisis, lower oil prices and slow progress with climate policy".

One of the forces propelling the sector's strong showing, they added, was the "potential to create new industries and millions of new jobs".

The findings also showed that emerging economies were also embracing the new technologies, especially China, which added 37 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity last year - more than any other nation in the world.

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