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Image: Levan Jgarkava, WikimediaGlobal investment in renewable power and fuels increased 17 percent to a new record of $257 billion in 2011. Developing economies made up 35% of this total investment, compared to 65 percent for developed economies.

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The US closed in on China in the race to be the lead investor in Renewable Energy, with a 57 percent leap in its outlays to $51 billion. India however, displayed the fastest expansion rate for investment of any large renewables market in the world in 2011, with a 62 percent increase to $12 billion.

One of the dominant features of the Renewable Energy landscape in 2011 was falling technology costs. Photovoltaic module prices fell by close to 50 percent, and onshore wind turbine prices by around 10 percent. These changes brought these two leading renewable power technologies closer to competitiveness with fossil-fuel alternatives such as coal and gas. The other key feature was a weakening in policy support for Renewable Energy in many developed countries. This reflected austerity pressures, particularly in Europe, and legislative deadlock in the US Congress.

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