US remains most attractive country for renewables

The US scores 69 for ‘all renewables’ and 70 for wind (75 onshore and 57 offshore wind), according to the latest quarterly ‘Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices’ produced by Ernst & Young. It receives a 73 for solar (72 for solar PV and 75 for solar CSP), 63 for biomass, 67 for geothermal and 65 for infrastructure.

In the February ranking, the US scored in first place.

China has moved from second place to tie for first with a 69 for ‘all renewables’, 74 for wind (77 onshore, 66 offshore), 59 for solar (66 PV and 40 CSP), 57 for biomass, 51 for geothermal and 74 for infrastructure.

Germany stayed in third place with 64 overall, India remained in fourth with 63, Italy continues in fifth with 61, but the UK moves up one spot to fifth with a 61, France moves from eighth to seventh with 58, while Spain drops from sixth to eighth place with a 57 overall.

Canada and Portugal retain their ninth and tenth spot rankings, with respective overall scores of 53 and 51. Ireland, Greece, Australia, Sweden, Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark and Norway complete the top-20 spots.

China moves ahead with multi-billion investment in renewables

China surged ahead 2 points in the latest report after investing US$34.6 billion in clean energy projects last year (double the US value) and emerging as the world’s market leader in installed wind power capacity in 2009, the report explains. The US dropped one point due to the increasing likelihood that a climate and clean energy bill will not be passed before the November mid-term elections.

India increased its position following the government’s injection of US$1 bn into the green economy and plans to install 4 GW of wind and 1 GW of solar capacity in the short term. Framework rules for a market of Renewable Energy Credits that will enable inter-state trade were also published this quarter.

The Ernst & Young country attractiveness indices provide scores for national renewable energy markets, renewable energy infrastructures and their suitability for individual technologies. The main indices (‘all renewables’ and long-term wind) are longer than two year periods, while the near-term wind index uses different parameters and weightings.

Weighting for renewable energies

The ‘all renewables’ score combines individual technology indices with wind at 68%, solar at 15% and biomass at 17%. Individual technology indices are derived from scoring 35% for general country-specific parameters and 65% for technology-specific parameters.

“For the renewables industry, the recession has had the side effect of focusing attention on green jobs as a means of stimulating growth and ensuring that economies become low carbon orientated,” the report explains. “Measures introduced to date have had mixed impacts but the desire for many economies to “shift to green” remains strong: with countries openly competing with each other for green jobs through stimulus measures and other support mechanisms.”

"In Europe, there has been competition for new investment in offshore wind, with the UK being particularly successful in attracting new investment due to its relatively strong measures to create the market through the award of multi-GW Crown Estate leases, adjustments to the RO and direct support for new investment in manufacturing facilities,” it continues. “In Canada, relatively high feed-in tariffs in Ontario, combined with strong local content rules, have been used to entice investment by Korean wind turbine manufacturers, with British Columbia set to follow. In Japan, the resumption of solar tariffs has provided stimulus for their strong local industry contributing to the re-emergence of Sharp as the leading global manufacturer of PV panels by sales last year.”

\“In the US, the stimulus package measures allowing operators to convert the Production Tax Credit or Investment Tax Credit into Treasury grants was vital in allowing pipeline projects to be completed in 2009, especially those sponsored by majors,” it notes. “However it has been less effective in maintaining momentum into 2010, with wind capacity installed falling in the first quarter, and at their lowest since 2007. This begs the question whether the ad hoc combination of individual state Renewable Portfolio Standards and a still wounded PTC/ITC market (should Treasury grants not be maintained on expiry) is the appropriate combination of measures to allow the US to punch to its natural weight.”