Investment in UK renewables may slow during 2016 following a number of cuts to government subsidies that propped up the industry

More investment in renewables than fossil fuels last year

A record £265bn was invested in renewables worldwide last year, greater than the amount invested in new fossil fuel power plants.

The UK was also one of the top five destinations for renewable investment according to a report by Clean Energy Canada, an initiative by Vancouver's Simon Fraser University.

It found that the sector in the UK attracted £17bn during 2015.

UK renewables have achieved high levels of investment despite a number of cuts to subsidies from the government during the summer.

The latest round in December, a 64 per cent reduction in subsidy for small scale domestic solar panel installations, occurred just days after the UK signed the climate change agreement in Paris pledging to keep global temperature rises to no more than 2°C from pre-industrial levels.

The UK came in below China, the US and Japan, but ahead of India, according to the report, which also found investment in Canada had dropped compared to 2014, and the country ranked eighth in the world.

For the first time, more money was invested in clean energy in developing countries, which attracted £120bn, than in developed countries, which saw £117bn spent on renewable power.

Renewables have been boosted by falling technology costs, with the report suggesting that in the US the unsubsidised cost of wind power has dropped 61 per cent in six years, and solar fell by 82 per cent.

Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada, said: "A third of a trillion dollars was invested in renewable power - that's serious money and it set a new record for global clean energy investment, even in the face of stiff competition from cheap fossil fuels.

"The cost of producing clean energy keeps dropping, and the fuel - sun, wind, water - is free.

"There's no wonder clean energy is gaining momentum around the world. It stands in stark contrast with fossil fuel markets, which have seen such high highs and low lows.

"Clean energy is taking off because it offers value that can't be beat - it's local, so it offers energy security. It's a climate solution. It reduces health issues from smog. It's increasingly competitive, and there's big money to be made."

Meanwhile, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has finished constructing a 100 metre high wind turbine that is set to start generating power at its headquarters.

Construction of the turbine has been completed at the RSPB's Lodge headquarters near Sandy, Bedfordshire, by energy company Ecotricity and is now expected to generate enough electricity to meet the annual needs of 450 homes.

The turbine, which will save an estimated 800 tonnes of carbon emissions a year as it generates the equivalent of half the electricity the RSPB uses across its 127 sites, is part of moves by Europe's largest nature conservation charity to make its operations greener.

RSPB director of conservation Martin Harper said: "Climate change is the single biggest threat to our planet. This is about our birds and wildlife as well as our way of life.

"Around the world, and even in the UK, we can already see how these changes are affecting wildlife, the places where they live as well as damage to our homes and disruptions to the economy."

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