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Green energies as alternative to fossils: a market analysis now possible thanks to our latest statistics

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Global Renewable Energy Industry

The global renewable energy industry had revenue in excess of $322 billion last year, according to MarketLine. The worldwide industry for this kind of energy is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of close to 8.5%, bringing it to a value of almost $480 billion in 2015. This represents an almost 50% increase in five years in terms of revenue and more than a 25% rise in energy to over 4,200 billion kilowatt hours (kWh).

Renewable energy is derived from natural resources including wind, tides and sunlight. It represents the fastest-growing sector among energy sources worldwide in terms of consumption, which is rising close to 3% annually. According to the International Energy Agency, renewable energy’s share of worldwide primary energy demand will rise to 10% over the next two decades, up from 7% in 2006 thanks to falling costs and government legislative measures regarding environmental protection. Electricity from renewable energy is estimated to reach almost 25% in 2030, up from under 20% in 2006. Renewable-based electricity generation is expected to be second only to coal by 2015.

More than 7% of the world’s demand for heating should be met by solar thermal, biomass, and geothermal together combined in 2030, according to the IEA. Investment in renewable sources of energy to 2030 is estimated to hit $5.5 trillion, representing almost 50% of electricity generation investment.

Leading Market Segments

The wind energy market had revenue of $32 billion in 2010, reports MarketLine, representing over 273 billion kWh. Growth is expected to slow, representing value of almost $60 billion by the close of 2015. Over the past decade, global sales of wind turbines have risen almost 30% per year, according to Aruvian’s Research. The EU segment of the wind power market is forecast to reach almost 15% in 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.

Biomass power is derived from biological material, namely landfill gases (methane), garbage, alcohol fuels, wood and waste. Biomass power converts organic waste and industry byproducts into electricity. It is a clean alternative to less environmentally friendly sources of energy, such as oil and nuclear. According to the IEA, the global supply of biofuels used for road transport is expected to reach 5% in 2030, up from 1.5% in 2006. Growth in this sector will be lead by the US, EU, China and Brazil.

The main technologies employed in the generation of solar energy are concentrated photovoltaics (PV), solar thermal, solar PV and concentrated solar thermal. The largest market share concerns solar PV, with concentrated solar thermal in second place; the former enjoying an average annual growth rate of 60% and the latter 8%, according to research from Markets and Markets.

Geothermal energy comes from thermal energy stored in the earth’s crust, and is originally from the earth’s formation, specifically the radioactive decay of minerals and from volcanic activity. Heat from the earth’s core to its surface is harnessed as thermal energy, giving geothermal power, a sustainable source of energy that is inexpensive relative to other energy sources and that does not impact negatively on the environment. The US is the number-one producer of geothermal electricity, accounting for around 30% of the global market, according to the Geothermal Energy Association.

The worldwide market for hydropower should have revenue of almost $57 billion in 2011, according to Visiongain. Hydro electricity represents a cheap source of renewable energy. Hydropower is produced without fuel combustion, offering an advantage over fossil fuels. One drawback to this source of energy is its negative impact on natural ecosystems as it disrupts the natural course of river and stream flows.

US Renewable Energy Consumption by Energy Source (2010) 

Regional Market Share

Together, the UK, France, Germany, Japan and the US represent the lion’s share of the global renewable energy market. China dominates in the wind energy market. The US market was worth almost $8.5 billion in 2010, representing 84 billion kWh. Wind energy industry growth is expected to slow to just over a 18% compound annual growth rate from 2010 to 2015, bringing the industry almost $19.5 billion in value by 2015.

China is equally leading in solar energy, producing almost 48% of the world’s solar PV power in 2010, reports Business Insights. Strong growth for concentrated solar thermal (CSP) technologies is forecast in new markets, including China, Brazil, France and India. CAGR in this market is forecast at 45% for the five-year period ending in 2016. The solar PV market is expected to show 30% growth over the same period, according to Markets and Markets.

Renewable Electricity Generation in China by Source *In Billion Kilowatthours (2008-2035)

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