Increase in renewable energy investment

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Global warming fears and rising oil prices have contributed to the recent increase in investment into renewable energy across the globe, a new report has stated.

According to the latest figures released by the UN Environment Program, investors across the world put an additional $71 billion into the renewable energy sector in 2006, a 43 per cent increase on the previous year.

While the report found that just two per cent of the electricity produced globally comes from renewable sources, such as wind, solar power and biofuels, renewable energy accounts for 18 per cent of all global investment into generating power.

"One of the new and fundamental messages of this report is that renewable energies are no longer subject to the vagaries of rising and falling oil prices," said Achim Steiner, UNEP executive director.

"They are becoming generating systems of choice for increasing numbers of power companies and countries, irrespective of the costs of fossil fuels."

In addition, the study found that the biggest growth in investment in 2006 came in the venture capital and private equity sectors, while the trend is set to continue, with a total of $85 billion expected to be put into renewable energy over the course of 2007.

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