A recently released Greenpeace report stated that coal fuel would create extra costs from now until 2030 of around $15.9, but renewable sources will produce power without extra fuel costs and save $18.7 trillion.
A May 2007 report by the University of California, Berkeley stated that the renewable energy sector “generates more jobs per megawatt of power installed, per unit of energy produced, and per dollar of investment than the fossil-fuel-based energy sector.” Every $100 million invested in the renewable sector creates 2,700 new jobs. The report estimated that additional investment between 2007 and 2010 will be between $14 billion and $19 billion, which will create between 400,000 and 500,000 new jobs.
According to the Greenpeace report, over 2.4 million jobs globally were created in the renewable energy sector. Around 1.1 million of the jobs were in biofuels productions.
Last month the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) released a report on green jobs. The report cited several studies about the renewable energy sector, including a January study by the Blue-Green Alliance which stated that investment in renewables could create 820,000 jobs.
A 2007 analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists discovered that establishing a national Renewable Electricity Standard (requiring 20 percent of electricity to come from renewables) would create 185,000 jobs. If the federal government invested $36 billion within ten, 420,000 jobs would be created, according to estimations by Apollo Alliance’s 2004 report.
Presidential candidates and dirty energy
Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain (AZ) calls for the expansion of domestic oil drilling. McCain also calls for the expanded use of natural gas, including exploring the Outer Continental Shelf because it contains “77 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.”
McCain is in favor of expanding the use of so-called clean coal technology and nuclear power. He would commit $2 billion to clean coal technology, and commit to constructing 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030.
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (IL) promotes the “responsible use of domestic production oil and natural gas.” Obama would make constructing a natural gas pipeline in Alaska a priority. Obama also favors the use of clean coal technology, and expanding the use of nuclear energy.
Renewable investment and capacity
A total of $100 billion was invested worldwide in new renewable energy, manufacturing plants and development in 2007. Worldwide investment in new renewable energy jumped from $40 billion in 2005, $55 billion in 2006, and $71 billion in 2007, according to the Greenpeace report. In 2007 $71 billion was invested in new renewable power and heating. Wind power received 47 percent, and solar photovoltaics (PV) received 30 percent. Large hydropower received an additional $15-20 billion.
The worldwide power capacity of renewables (excluding large hydropower) increased from 182 gigawatts (GW) in 2205, 207 GW in 2006, and 240 GW in 2007. Renewables represent only five percent of global power capacity and 3.4 percent of power generation. Hydropower accounts for 15 percent of power generation.
In 2006 renewable energy (large hydropower excluded) generated as much power as a quarter of the globe’s nuclear power plants. The same year rooftop solar heat collectors provided warm water and space heating for almost 50 million houses worldwide, and solar capacity increased by 19 percent.
Wind power capacity increased by 50 percent in 2006 and 2007. Wind power has the largest capacity of all renewables, but the fastest growing renewable energy technology is grid-connected PVs.
Forty percent of renewable power capacity is in developing countries. Solar hot water capacity accounts for over 70 percent and bio fuels production accounts for 45 percent.