2009 Represents a Boom Time for Renewables

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2009 was a year of contradictions. The threat of further financial woes combined with low oil prices and other problematic economic and geopolitical situations happened alongside a very positive development. Renewable energy sources grew by leaps and bounds throughout 2009, despite it being one of the most turbulent years on record. 2009 presented an opportunity for Europe and the United States as renewable energy sources proved to be viable enough to replace gas services while providing cheap electricity. Renewable sources became a major energy supplier in 2009. 

A new report backed by the United Nations has stated that renewable energy sources accounted for over sixty percent of all electricity generated in Europe. The report also focused on the United States; in 2009, renewable energy sources accounted for over half of the total generation capacity constructed. The report stated that the expectation was for renewable energy sources to outstrip conventional energy sources in 2010. 

The report was produced by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st century. The group said in the report that renewable energy sources had reached a critical point and that they had finally become robust enough to prove a viable alternative to conventional energy sources like fossil fuels. According to them, renewable energy had comprised fully one-quarter of all electricity capacity in the world and delivered approximately eighteen percent of global supply in 2009. 

The report further stated that this development was unprecedented and that emerging countries were fully embracing the new technologies. One of the biggest forces driving the adoption of renewable energy sources was the potential to bolster the economies of countries hit by the financial crisis and creating millions of new jobs. China alone added thirty-seven gigawatts of renewable electricity in 2009, more than any other country. 

The Chinese also dove headfirst into renewable energy exports, manufacturing forty percent of all photovoltaic solar panels in 2009, and thirty-three percent of all wind turbines. Around seventy million households worldwide installed solar water heating systems in 2009, and one hundred countries officially adopted renewable energy policies. Thus, renewable energy is starting to become a large part of the global energy sector. In fact, in 2009 global investment in renewable energy technologies skyrocketed until it become the second highest annual investment on record. 

The investment was less than in 2008, but this was largely attributed to the financial crisis that crippled economies across the globe, the report said. Despite all of the positive developments that 2009 represented, there are still serious problems to be confronted. The renewable energy sector is ambitious, but critical innovations need to be made before renewable energy sources can be widely adopted. In addition, the science behind renewable energy technology needs to be fine-tuned some more before renewable energy sources will be seen as commercially feasible.

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