Climate Progress is the title of my blog posts’ main home, as much as the “progress” part strains credulity at times. I only see two major quantitative areas of sustained progress: clean energy deployment (especially in Europe) and private sector clean-tech funding.
Those folk at Clean Edge, who wrote the best 2007 book on clean tech, The Clean Tech Revolution, have quantified these gains — and made predictions about the future — in a new report you can read here. Some interesting factoids:
- Clean-energy markets — revenue for solar photovoltaics (PV), wind, biofuels, and fuel cells — grew by 40 percent from $55 billion in 2006 to $77.3 billion in 2007. They project revenues will reach $254.5 billion by 2017. [Yes, lame — if not counterproductive — biofuels are about a third of those numbers, and I personally wouldn’t count them as “clean tech.” Then again, Clean Edge isn’t counting energy efficiency.]
- New Energy Finance does a slightly different calculation, showing “New global investments in energy technologies — including venture capital, project finance, public markets, and research and development — have expanded by 60 percent from $92.6 billion in 2006 to $148.4 billion in 2007.”
- “U.S.-based venture capital investments in energy technologies more than quadrupled from $599 million in 2000 to $2.7 billion in 2007 … As a percent of total VC investments, energy tech increased from 0.6 percent in 2000 to 9.1 percent in 2007. Between 2006 and 2007, venture investments in the U.S. clean-energy sector increased by more than 70 percent.”
- “Last year’s global wind power installations reached a record 20,000 mW, equivalent to 20 large-size 1 gW conventional power plants.”
- “Annual installations [of PV] were just shy of 3 gW worldwide, up nearly 500 percent from just four years earlier.”
In Europe, renewables have become the dominant form of new power generation — which just shows you what happens when governments become (relatively) serious about global warming:
Europe provides a great example of this transition. Since the beginning of the decade the EU has added 47,000 mW of new wind energy compared to just 9,600 mW of coal and only 1,200 mW of nuclear, according to Platts Power Vision and the European Wind Energy Association. Perhaps even more telling, 2007 saw net capacity additions of 8,505 megawatts of wind, whereas both coal and nuclear saw net capacity reductions of 750 megawatts and 1,023 megawatts, respectively.
Climate progress, albeit in fits and starts, can be found if you look hard enough.