Clean Energy Trends 2008

Clean-Energy Trends 2008

The following is an excerpt from Clean-Energy Trends 2008. To read the full report, please download the PDF file by clicking on the link to the left.

Amid a challenging economic outlook—plummeting housing prices, rising foreclosure rates, record-high oil prices, sinking consumer confidence, looming recession—2007 was another banner year for clean energy, with no signs of a slowdown in 2008. Solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal, energy intelligence, hybrid- and all-electric vehicles, advanced batteries, green buildings, and other clean-energy-related technologies and markets provided bright spots in an otherwise sluggish economy.

Clean Edge, which has been tracking the growth of clean-energy markets since 2000, reports a 40 percent increase in revenue growth for solar photovoltaics, wind, biofuels, and fuel cells in 2007, up from $55 billion in 2006 to $77.3 billion in 2007. For the first time, three of these are generating revenue in excess of $20 billion apiece, with wind now exceeding $30 billion. 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, according to research firm New Energy Finance.

Further proof of clean tech's move from marginalized to mainstream is abundant. A growing number of governments announced plans to generate electricity from renewables. Corporations continued to jump on, if not lead, the race to transition to a cleaner, greener economy. Venture capitalists in the U.S. invested $2.7 billion in the clean-energy sector, representing more than 9 percent of total VC activity. Cleanenergy indices outpaced the broader markets in 2007. For example, the NASDAQ® Clean Edge® U.S. Liquid Series index (co-developed by Clean Edge and NASDAQ) was up 66.67 percent last year, compared with 3.53 percent for the S&P 500 index and 9.81 percent for the NASDAQ Composite index.

According to Clean Edge research:

  • Biofuels (global production and wholesale pricing of ethanol and biodiesel) reached $25.4 billion in 2007 and are projected to grow to $81.1 billion by 2017. In 2007 the global biofuels market consisted of more than 13 billion gallons of ethanol and 2 billion gallons of biodiesel production worldwide.
  • Wind power (new installation capital costs) is projected to expand from $30.1 billion in 2007 to $83.4 billion in 2017. Last year's global wind power installations reached a record 20,000 MW, equivalent to 20 large-size 1 GW conventional power plants.
  • Solar photovoltaics (including modules, system components, and installation) will grow from a $20.3 billion industry in 2007 to $74 billion by 2017. Annual installations were just shy of 3 GW worldwide, up nearly 500 percent from just four years earlier.
  • The fuel cell and distributed hydrogen market will grow from a $1.5 billion industry (primarily for research contracts and demonstration and test units) to $16 billion over the next decade.

Together, we project these four benchmark technologies, which equaled $55.4 billion in 2006 and expanded 40 percent to $77.3 billion in 2007, to grow to $254.5 billion within a decade.

U.S Venture Capital Continues to Grow and Grow

U.S.-based venture capital investments in energy technologies more than quadrupled from $599 million in 2000 to $2.7 billion in 2007, according to New Energy Finance (with supporting data from Clean Edge and Nth Power). As a percent of total VC investments, energy tech increased from .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.

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