Worldwatch Institute

REN21 - Renewables 2007 Global Status Report


The Renewables 2007 Global Status Report provides an integrated perspective on the global renewable energy situation. It gives testimony of the undeterred growth of electricity, heat, and fuel production capacities from renewable energy sources, including solar PV, wind power, solar hot water/heating, biofuels, hydropower, and geothermal.


The report is the product of an international team of over 140 researchers and contributors from both developed and developing countries, drawing upon wide-ranging information and expertise across technologies, markets, and countries. Sections include: Global Market Overview, Investment Flows, Industry Trends, Policy Landscape, and Rural (Off-Grid) Renewable Energy. The policy section provides overviews of: policy targets for renewable energy, power generation promotion policies, solar hot water/heating policies, biofuels policies, municipal policies, and green power purchasing and renewable electricity certificates.

The Renewables 2007 Global Status Report is published by REN21 in collaboration with the Worldwatch Institute and was compiled and written by Worldwatch Senior Fellow Eric Martinot. The report is 51 pages long and contains 24 illustrative figures and tables as well as extensive endnote documentation. By design, the report does not provide analysis, discuss current issues, or forecast the future.


Renewable energy offers our planet a chance to reduce carbon emissions, clean the air, and put our civilization on a more sustainable footing. It also offers countries around the world the chance to improve their energy security and spur economic development. So much has happened in the renewable energy sector during the past five years that our perceptions lag far behind the reality of where the industry is today. This report helps us to adjust those perceptions and to educate ourselves. It paints a remarkable overall picture of renewable energy markets, policies, industries, and rural applications around the world.

More than 65 countries now have goals for their own renewable energy futures, and are enacting a far-reaching array of policies to meet those goals. Multilateral agencies and private investors alike are “mainstreaming” renewable energy in their portfolios. And many renewables technologies and industries have been growing at rates of 20 to 60 percent, year after year, capturing the interest of the largest global companies. In 2007, more than $100 billion was invested in renewable energy production assets, manufacturing, research, and development—a true global milestone. Growth trends mean this figure will only continue to increase.

In 2004, 3,000 delegates from 150 countries came together to share ideas and make commitments at the “Renewables 2004” conference in Bonn, Germany. That conference launched many specific actions, which are now appearing in the global trends described in this report. It also launched the REN21 Global Policy Network. REN21 has grown to share ideas, facilitate action, and provide leadership to promote renewable energy. This type of leadership has never been more important, as renewable energy has reached the top of the agendas of international policy processes under the United Nations, the G8, and other multilateral fora.

This report gives us an integrated perspective on the global renewable energy situation that wasn’t available in 2004. It is the product of an international team of over 140 researchers and contributors from both developed and developing countries, drawing upon wide-ranging information and expertise. The report was first produced in 2005, was updated in 2006, and is now being issued again in early 2008.

I would like to thank the German government for its financial sponsorship, the Worldwatch Institute for leading the production, German Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) for administration, the REN21 Secretariat for oversight and management, the members of the REN21 Steering Committee for their guidance, all of the researchers and contributors these past three years for the information that made it possible, and the report’s lead author, Eric Martinot, for the monumental work of putting it all together.

REN21 is proud to offer this picture of renewable energy to the global community.

Mohamed El-Ashry
Chairman, REN21

About REN21

REN21 is a global policy network in which ideas are shared and action is encouraged to promote renewable energy. REN21 provides a forum for leadership and exchange in international policy processes. It bolsters appropriate policies that increase the wise use of renewable energies in developing and industrialized economies. Open to a wide variety of dedicated stakeholders, REN21 connects governments, international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, industry associations, and other partnerships and initiatives.

Linking actors from the energy, development, and environment communities, REN21 leverages their successes and strengthens their influence for the rapid expansion of renewable energy worldwide.

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