Clean Edge finds growth in clean energy despite tough 2011
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
The Clean Edge "Clean Energy Trends 2012" report was released Tuesday showing sustained growth in clean energy. Click through the gallery to see the highlights.
Clean Edge, the Portland-based clean energy research and consulting firm, turned out its annual Clean Energy Trends report Tuesday morning, reassuring the cleantech faithful that the industry is strong despite the trials of 2011.
Double-digit growth rates for global solar and wind energy deployment brightened the overall picture, despite the specter of Solyndra's bankruptcy and much hand wringing about the viability of clean energy technologies over the long run.
"Last year ... the industry became a modern-day whipping boy," said Ron Pernick, Clean Edge co-founder and managing director in a press release. "The attacks, offered up in sound bite-sized nuggets delivered more for impact than accuracy, overlook the fact that many clean-energy technologies are becoming increasingly cost competitive, central to the expansion of energy markets in places like China, Japan and Germany, and a critical hedge against more volatile forms of traditional energy."
Case in point is solar energy. Clean Edge reports that installed solar per watt of power generated dropped in 2011 to $3.47, down from $4.55 in 2010. The firm projects that price to fall to $1.28 per watt by 2021.
Other key findings of this year's report are:
• The global market for solar photovoltaics hit $91.6 billion in 2011, up nearly 29 percent from $71.2 billion in 2010.
• New installation capital costs for wind energy reached a record $71.5 billion in 2011, up 18 percent from $60.5 billion in 2010. It was the largest year on record for global wind installations, with China leading the pack.
• Biofuels, the global production and pricing of ethanol and biodiesel, reached a record $83 billion in 2011, up 47 percent from $56.4 billion the prior year. While costs of wind and solar energy are coming down and driving growth, the jump in biofuels was due largely to a rise in prices.
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