Japan moved higher while the United Kingdom and Australia slid as the EY Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index closed out 2013, a year in which new investment in clean energy fell 11 percent.
This long-running assessment of the state of renewable energy opportunities around the world had the U.S. on top, again, but with China narrowing the margin to 74.4-73.1 from 74.7-71.6 at the end of the third quarter of 2013. Record-breaking solar deployment buoyed China, as it did Japan, which displaced the U.K. in the fourth spot on the list.
Germany hung on to its No. 3 spot but EY noted that “(r)ecently announced revisions to renewables subsidies, though providing much-awaited clarity, signal tougher times ahead as the cuts threaten the country’s shift away from nuclear.”
The assessments for the U.K. and Australia were equally if not more dire.
Government bills to repeal the carbon pricing legislation and the US$9b Clean Energy Finance Corporation were approved in the Lower House in November. The Government will also undertake a review of the Renewable Energy Target. Such developments will inevitably have a downward impact on investment as projects begin to be evaluated on the basis of raw economics, although recent analysis identifying Australia as a key grid parity market for wind and solar signal an attractive market in the long run.
And the U.K.:
Government proposals to make mature renewable technologies compete head-to-head for subsidy support from day one of the new contracts for difference (CfD) regime — on top of cuts already planned — have thrown the UK market into a spin. Mixed policy signals on the country’s long-term energy strategy are also continuing to reduce investor confidence in the Government‘s commitment to a low-carbon energy future, while the mothballing of a number of large-scale offshore wind projects has also sparked concerns.
Outside the major players, EY noted significant progress in South Africa, Brazil, Chile and Turkey.
You can download a PDF of the 40th quarterly issue of the RECAI here.