IEA predicts substantial growth in renewable energy over the next five years

In response to government promises to double-down on renewable energy investment, the International Energy Agency released a report on July 5 that predicted spending on solar, wind and other green sources of power will increase by roughly 40 percent over the course of five years.

The study, entitled Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012, examines the current state of green energy production and offers estimates for future growth. According to the report, hydroelectric power is a major source of clean energy, and is expected to expand by approximately 730 terrawatt hours (TWh) between 2011 and 2017. For the industry as a whole, IEA researchers forecasted that total energy capacity should rise by approximately 1,840 TWh in the next five years, a substantial boost in production compared to the 1,160 TWh growth seen between 2005 and 2011. The organization expects China, a leader in global green energy technology manufacturing, to account for roughly 40 percent of this development.

"Clean energy is expanding rapidly as technologies mature, with deployment transitioning from support-driven markets to new and potentially more competitive segments in many countries," Maria van der Hoeven, IEA's executive director, said in a press statement. "Given the emergence of a portfolio of renewable sources as a crucial pillar of the global energy mix, market stakeholders need a clear understanding of the major drivers and barriers to deployment."

The aim of the study, according to the agency's website, is to bring together disparate information to form a definitive picture of the current state of green energy. It draws attention to government efforts to subsidize clean energy sources, identify new ways to generate power and ease certain industries through the economic growing pains associated with, as the IEA writes, supply chain restructuring and shifting geopolitics. However the industry ultimately develops, this report highlights the increasing importance of green power sources in our society.

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