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U.N.: Renewable energy growing

UNITED NATIONS, July 13 (UPI) -- The renewable energy sector is performing well despite a sluggish global economy, cuts in incentives and low natural-gas prices, a U.N. report says.

The report by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, backed by the United Nations' environment program, shows the renewable sector supplied an estimated 16 percent of global energy in 2010, a U.N. release said Wednesday.

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The sector also delivered close to 20 percent of the world's electricity production, the REN21 report said.

Global solar power generation doubled in 2010 compared with 2009 thanks to government incentive programs and the continued fall in the price of photovoltaic solar panels, the report said.

"The global performance of renewable energy despite headwinds has been a positive constant in turbulent times," said Mohamed el-Ashry, chairman of REN21's Steering Committee.

"Today, more people than ever before derive energy from renewables as capacity continues to grow, prices continue to fall, and shares of global energy from renewable energy continue to increase."

Globally, the report said, wind power added the most new capacity, followed by hydropower and solar, but for the first time ever Europe added more solar than wind capacity.

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Renewable energy policies continue to be the main driver of the renewable energy growth, the report said, with at least 119 countries instituting some type of policy target or renewable support policy at the national level.

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