Wind is Down, Solar Surging in 2013 Energy Survey

EV Chargin Stations

By Sam Eifling

February 27, 2014

In 2013 the “advanced energy” sector generated $1.13 trillion (USD) in global revenue. Advanced energy includes clean energy technologies like wind power, renewable fuels and building efficiency. This huge figure is a 7% increase on the previous year.

The report (summarized here, and free to download) also counted biofuels, hydropower, nuclear, and natural gas used for transport, across seven sectors of the economy. Most of the sectors are on the upswing with the notable exception of wind. Analysts found that uncertainty with the federal Production Tax Credit pulled investment in wind energy down by a whopping $23 billion. This figure contributed to an overall 2 percent dip in the US advanced energy market between 2012 and 2013 following a 26 percent overall jump in the previous year.

On the Canadian front, the report noted that concentrated plug-in electric vehicles are in the country's three biggest provinces. Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia are forecast to account for 97 percent of Canadian PEV sales by 2022, a figure that easily outstrips those provinces' share of the country's population (75 percent).

Worldwide, the movement into advanced energy sources trended modestly upward. Sectors such as electricity (the largest advanced energy sector, up 34 percent since 2011) and transportation saw gains, while building and industry were up moderately.

Among the sources to make notable strides was solar. Photovoltaic was up 27 percent in 2012 and 54 percent in 2013, nearly doubling in the two years to $16.2 billion. Driving that rise was, in part, growth in the US to 18 percent of the market share in 2013, which is a doubling over two years.

Aviation biofuels are racing ahead, propelled in large part by biofuel investments by the US Department of Defense, the world's largest end-user of petroleum.

Nuclear's luster is wearing off in Europe, North America and elsewhere, though China, the authors found, is plowing ahead with nuclear and investing in uranium mining.