China still most attractive place for renewable energy projects

Ernst & Young's Illustration of the All Renewables IndexA new report out from Ernst & Young, the Renewable energy country attractiveness indices report, found that China remains the best place to undertake renewable energy projects like solar or wind. But the report, which looked at how countries are making their policies attractive for solar and wind projects also found that emerging markets are becoming a bigger factor, particularly as incentive-driven markets are drying up.

While China remained at the top of Ernst & Young’s All Renewables Index (ARI), it dropped a point in the solar index, where the U.S. topped the list. The report found that the slowdown in the China’s solar market occurred as its solar sector continued to consolidate as the country tries to boost domestic installation and rationalize its government support of solar.

The report found the overall attractiveness of the U.S. for renewables fell also. Largely because of political uncertainty during the election season and the lack of a long-term policy plan. “It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone,” said Gill Forer Ernst & Young’s global cleantech leader. That is likely to change, however. “I do believe in the lame duck session we’ll have some kind of agreement.…In the long-term, going forward, we do anticipate some more certainty. What it i will include no one knows,” he said.

Germany stepped back up into second place on the ARI. That’s largely because the German government recently upped its renewable energy target for electricity to 40 percent by 2020. The country continues to implement policy measures to grow its sustainability.

Meanwhile, the index saw the arrival of two new countries, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which is indicative of a new trend of emerging markets. Saudi Arabia is looking to boost it’s renewables even though it is oil rich. “It’s better for some countries to use renewables for power and export oil,” Forer said.

“It’s a major shift in the world, we are seeing more of the emerging markets play a roll,” Forer said. He observed that building electric grid infrastructure and central power plants can be very expensive. But renewables can be incorporated on a more local basis where power is needed. 

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