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Rising oil imports and growing worry over environmental issues have prompted both the U.S. and Canadian governments to reduce fossil fuel dependency and launch numerous renewable energy initiatives, according to a study by Palo Alto, Calif.-based global growth consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

The company's report - "North American Renewable Energy Market: Investment Analysis & Growth Opportunities" - reveals that revenues in the renewable energy market totaled $17.37 billion in 2006 and are likely to reach $24.6 billion in 2010.

In January 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Clean Energy Act - an act expected to transfer more than $14 billion from certain subsidies to investments in clean energy. Likewise, the Canadian government has launched three new ecoENERGY initiatives for boosting renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Frost & Sullivan predicts that these initiatives will provide new direction for the future growth of the North American renewable energy markets.

Nevertheless, the report adds, increasing raw material costs, high initial capital outlay and raw material availability pose notable challenges for market participants and could hamper market growth.

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