Alternative energy, including biodiesel, ethanol, wind and solar power, set a record in 2008.
This column posted on RenewableEnergyWorld.com from Ron Pernick, the co-founder and managing director of clean-tech research and publishing firm Clean Edge, Inc., which is publishing the newly-released Clean Energy Trends 2009 report, points out that the three major clean-energy sectors grew more than 50 percent from $75.8 billion in 2007 to $115.9 billion in revenues in 2008:
The report shows that this significant increase in revenue was due to continued growth in solar PV, wind and biofuels deployment globally. For example, solar PV expanded from 2.8 gigawatts (GW) installed in 2007 to 4.2 GW in 2008. Over the same time frame, biofuels increased from 15 billion gallons to nearly 20 billion gallons, with Brazil using more gallons of ethanol than petrol-based gasoline for the first time. Wind power expanded from 20 GW installed in 2007 to 27 GW in 2008, with the U.S. becoming the largest generator of wind energy in the world after bringing on nearly a third of last year’s global total (8 GW).
We don’t expect to see a repeat performance of such installation or revenue growth in 2009. We project that clean-energy revenues will remain level or decrease slightly, until several key factors begin to turn around. The initial public offering (IPO) market must regain steam — last year saw only 43 total IPOs in the U.S. that raised at least $50 million, compared with 272 one year earlier. As in most other sectors, the credit crisis needs to ease for money to start flowing again for project deployment and new manufacturing facilities. And stimulus-related monies and policies must start to have a direct impact on the market.
Pernick admits that 2009 will be a tough year to get through, but renewable energy continues to have great success. While he doesn’t expect the same growth this year (although he points out what other industry has global growth of more than 30 percent over the past decade), he says the $70 billion in direct spending and tax credits for clean-energy and transportation programs in the U.S. stimulus bill will help a lot.