Global growth in renewables and clean-tech equipment industries
A PAIR of recently released reports indicates robust global growth in both the renewable energy industry and clean-tech equipment, which was defined as components and finished products in renewable energy, energy efficiency and e-mobility markets. According to a United Nations report, global investment in renewable energy in 2011 reached $257 billion, with solar energy representing more than half of the spending. At $147 billion, solar energy spending grew by 52 percent year-over-year in 2011. This was fuelled mostly by demand for photovoltaic (PV) equipment.
The report also indicates that the solar power industry is maturing, highlighting the demise of a number of manufacturers. It also states that aggressive Chinese manufacturers have eroded market prices for PV modules by 50 percent. China has grown in both renewable energy and clean-tech equipment production. The third annual “Clean Economy, Living Planet” report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) shows that the country unseated the European Union last year as the leading maker of clean-tech equipment when measured by sales value, at $71.7 billion.
The UN based its report on combined spending in the solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydro sectors. Wind power investment reached $84 billion, or 12 percent of all renewable energy spending. The $257 billion total investment for 2011 represents a 17 percent year-over-year rise.
In its report on clean energy technology products, the WWF not only tabulated sales value data on wind, solar, biomass, hydro and geothermal power equipment but crunched numbers on energy-efficiency equipment – such as fuel cells, heat pumps, insulation, micro combined heat and power - and e-mobility equipment such as electric power trains, batteries, power, and electronics.