Greenpeace statement on the REN21 Global Status Report on Renewable Energy

Press release - 12 July, 2011
Paris, 12 July 2011 – Reacting to a new global report by the Renewable Energy Network (REN21) [1] on the growth of renewable energy in 2010 to supply 16% of the world’s energy needs, Sven Teske, Renewable Energy Expert for Greenpeace International said:

“The continuing rise of renewable energy is good news for the global economy, energy equity and the climate, and shows that despite the global recession, real world growth in renewables was just 7% behind the predictions of Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution [2]. Moreover, the REN21 findings show that global ambition for a world powered by renewable energy is not only desirable, it is also achievable.”

The REN 21 report illustrates how investment in renewable energy leapt by a third last year to $211 billion dollars, a five-fold increase on 2004. Renewable energy policies continued to be a major driver for growth, and have doubled since 2005, to over 110 in early 2011.

“Renewable energy is proving itself to be a safe bet for investors, and continues to see substantial growth, even in the face of global recession and price wars over oil scarcity”, said Teske. “However, governments must not be complacent: the transition to a green economy can only be achieved with the support of policies that favour renewable energy.”

The world’s top two biggest carbon emitters, the US and China, are conversely leading the field in renewable energy installation, according to the REN 21 report.

“Investment in renewable energy should not simply be seen as an alternative to making the huge strides needed to phase out fossil fuels and reduce global emissions, when we are still at a tipping point in the battle to stop runaway climate change. Both developed and developing countries still have a long way to go in ending subsidies for climate polluters and to fully embrace a clean, secure renewable energy future.”

ENDS

For more information, please contact:

Caroline Chisholm, Greenpeace International Climate Comms, on +31 646 16 2018

Press Desk Hotline +31 (0) 20 7182470

Notes for Editors:

  1. REN21 Global Status Report on Renewable Energy http://www.ren21.net
  2. Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution offers a sustainable path to quit dirty, dangerous fuels by transitioning to renewable energy and energy efficiency. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/climate-change/energyrevolution/

Highlights from the report include:

  • Developing countries have more than half the global renewable energy power.
  • The top five countries for non-hydro renewable power capacity were the United States, China, Germany, Spain, and India.
  • In the United States, renewables accounted for about 10.9% of U.S. domestic primary energy production (compared with nuclear’s 11.3%), an increase of 5.6% over 2009.
  • China led the world in the installation of wind turbines and solar thermal systems and was the top hydropower producer in 2010. The country added an estimated 29 GW of grid-connected renewable capacity, for a total of 252 GW, an increase of 13% compared with 2009.
  • Renewables accounted for about 26% of China’s total installed electric capacity in 2010, 18% of generation, and more than 9% of final energy supply.
  • Brazil produces virtually all of the world’s sugar-derived ethanol, and has been adding new hydropower, biomass and wind power plants, as well as solar heating systems.
  • The EU exceeded all its 2010 targets for wind, solar PV, concentrating solar thermal power and heating/heat pumps.  Countries including Finland, Germany, Spain, and Taiwan raised their targets, and South Africa, Guatemala, and India, among others, introduced new ones.
  • Developing countries, which now represent more than half of all countries with policy targets and half of all countries with renewable support policies, are playing an increasingly important role in advancing renewable energy.

About REN21: REN21 is a global policy network that provides a forum for international leadership on renewable energy. Its goal is to bolster policy development for the rapid expansion of renewable energies in developing and industrialised economies. REN21 Secretariat is supported by both The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and The Deutsche GesellschaftfuerInternationaleZusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

About Greenpeace: Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. It comprises 28 independent national/regional offices in over 40 countries across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, as well as a co-ordinating body, Greenpeace International.