While the nation and the world stumbled economically, at least one industry grew in stride and is now helping revive markets around the globe.
According to a report released by the research and publishing firm, Clean Edge Inc., the combined clean-energy markets of solar photovoltaic (PV), wind and biofuels, saw tremendous growth last year. The growth is expected to continue for the next decade, as it helps lift markets out of their malaise.
The report, “Clean Energy Trends 2010,” measured the collective growth of global revenue for the three major clean-energy sectors in 2009. The $139.1 billion total revenue for all three sectors represents an 11.4 percent increase from 2008.
The report cites declining costs and the emphasis of governments and private industry on clean energy for economic stimulus as factors contributing to the trend.
It includes several key findings. For example, last year’s global wind-power installations reached a record 37,500 megawatts. New solar photovoltaic installations reached almost 6 gigawatts worldwide in 2009, a nearly six-fold increase from five years earlier. Clean energy’s percentage of total U.S. venture capital investments also continued to rise, accounting for 12.5 percent of total activity in 2009. This represented the largest share in the history of the clean-energy asset class.
The report sees no signs the growth will subside. It projects the wind-power industry to expand from $63.5 billion in 2009 to $114.5 billion in 2019. Solar PV will grow from a $30.7 billion industry in 2009 to $98.9 billion by 2019. Together, wind and solar currently account for a total of more than 830,000 jobs around the globe. By 2019, that figure will increase to more than 3.3 million jobs.