Renewable-energy investments booming around the world

Investment in renewable energy zoomed to record levels in 2006 and shows no sign of flagging, a United Nations report said this week. More than one-fifth of that investment went into companies or projects in developing countries. Thanks to high oil prices, desire for energy independence, government incentives, and worries about climate change, renewables “are becoming generating systems of choice for increasing numbers of power companies, communities, and countries,” says U.N. Environment Program head Achim Steiner; and with global capital hitting $100 billion, renewable resources are likely to stay competitive even if oil prices drop. Wind power got the biggest chunk of change, with 38 percent of investment; 26 percent went to biofuels, and 16 percent to solar. While renewables make up only 2 percent of global power generation, the 25 percent leap in investment from 2005 leads UNEP to project that almost a quarter of the world’s electricity could be cleanly generated by 2030.