USA remains most attractive country for renewable energy

The quarterly Renewable energy country attractiveness indices provide scores for national renewable energy markets, infrastructures and their suitability for individual technologies. The weighting in the latest rankings has been amended to give 68% for wind (both onshore and offshore), 15% for solar (PV and CSP) and 17% for biomass and other renewable energy technologies.

The USA scores in top spot in the ‘All Renewables’ index, with a 70 comprised of 71 for wind, 75 for onshore wind, 59 for offshore wind, 72 for solar PV, 76 for CSP, 64 for biomass / other, 67 for geothermal, and 68 for renewable energy infrastructure.

China moves from third spot to second with an overall renewable energy score of 67, with high marks in onshore wind and infrastructure. Germany drops to third spot with a 66 overall, with high scores in offshore wind and solar PV.

Other countries in the top 10 for renewable energy include India (61), Spain (59), Italy (59), UK (57), France (57), Canada (54) and Portugal (53). In descending rank, the balance of the top 25 countries are Greece, Ireland, Australia, Sweden, Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Belgium, Brazil, Norway, Japan, New Zealand, Turkey, South Africa and Czech Republic.

“This issue sees slight score changes taking place across the board as the weighting between technologies (namely wind and solar) has been reassessed,” the report notes. “This has led to a general rise in countries favouring solar technology, reflecting the growing importance of solar as a generation technology going forwards.”

The one-point drop for Spain to tie with Italy, reflects the continuing impact of legislation changes and delays in processing of applications. China moved above Germany on the back of announcements that restrictions on the amount of non-domestic components used to manufacture generation technologies are being relaxed, as as well as announcements of new plans for solar farms as well as the Golden Sun incentive programme.

The new targets of the Japanese government to reduce GHG emissions by 25% (based on 1990 levels) by 2020 represents a significant increase on previous targets of 8%, the report notes. Brazil’s energy plan to 2017 includes calls for 7.3 GW of wind, biomass and small hydro combined generation capacity to drive towards a 2020 target of 10% of consumption to be met by renewable energy.

Decisions flowing from the climate summit in Copenhagen will, “in the medium term at least, have a significant bearing on these indicies,” the report explains.

On the renewable energy technology indices, China moves into top spot in wind, pushing out the USA, with a score of 72 comprised of 76 in onshore, 61 in offshore and 81 in near-term wind. The USA scores 71, Germany 67, India 63, UK 62, Spain 60, Canada 60, Italy 59, France 59 and Ireland 58.

Spain dropped a point following continued complications in the political environment and news of skyline taxes in Galicia which represent “a new and uncertain development” that may drive renewable energy investment elsewhere, the report says. Britain rises one point following announcements to improve the grid-connection process and a promise of £1.15 bn of investment in the grid.

In the near-term wind index, the USA is ranked top with 85, China 81, India 56, Germany 52, Spain 51, UK 49, France 47, Italy 47, Canada 46 and Portugal 42. The USA rose two points as the short-term drop in installations (relating to stalls caused early in the credit crunch) appears to be easing, bringing stronger forecasts into the near term. The Chinese score rose three points following announcements regarding the reduction of restrictions on the level of local components required in developments.

The report also provides an index on wave energy, where Portugal is ranked top with a 68, followed by Ireland with 65, UK 64, US 60, Australia 53, France 53, Canada 48, South Africa 47, China 46 and New Zealand 44.