EY deems China ‘most attractive’ country for renewable investments

China and the US remain the most attractive countries, but less-developed markets are catching up. 

China has retained the top spot in EY’s latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI), which ranks 40 nations on the appeal of their renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities. 

The US came second in renewable energy attractiveness. According to a statement from EY, trade tensions between China and the US – including the Trump administration’s introduction of 30% tariffs on solar panel imports – helped the top two markets hold their respective places in the rankings. 

While the US federal government has indicated that it wants to increase coal-fired generation and slow the rollout of renewable technologies, several states are pressing ahead with bold clean energy plans. Most notably, California and Hawaii have both set targets of 100% renewable generation by 2045. 

Meanwhile, India climbed one place to third position, though the report notes that progress towards the country’s 100 GW solar target has been hampered by trade uncertainty, including a 25% tariff on solar cell imports.

Germany slipped to fourth position in the RECAI rankings after its government admitted it would fall significantly short of its 2020 emissions reduction targets. The country had initially set out to cut emissions to 40% below 1990 levels, but this figure will likely end up being 32% by the end of the decade. The UK also fell one position, from seventh to eighth, as concerns about Brexit intensify.

The largest movements recorded in the index were made by less mature clean energy markets. Argentina, for instance, entered the top 10 for the first time after its government demonstrated strong political support for renewables. Egypt climbed five places to 15th, with its total wind capacity is expected to reach 3.3 GW by 2027. Greece also made a significant leap – from 34th to 28th position – as its government aims to reach a target of 18% renewable energy by 2020. 

‘An uncertain political climate… compounded by the increasing scarcity of subsidies, presents a challenging backdrop to the maturity of the renewables sector,’ says Ben Warren, RECAI Chief Editor. ‘In the longer-term, increasing demand for power from the mobility and heating sectors provides something other than trade disputes for policymakers to focus on.’

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