Ernst & Young have just released their quarterly report which ranks the attractiveness of countries to renewable energy investors. Due to fears that the UK will turn to natural gas rather than renewable energy sources to deal with its looming energy crisis they have been demoted to sixth place.
China remained in the top spot, despite the fact that the US, at number two, received more investment in renewable energy last year for the first time since 2008. Germany and India kept hold of their third and fourth positions. Italy moved up to fifth to fill the spot left by the UK, whilst France, Canada, and Brazil help onto seventh, eighth, and ninth. Japan was promoted to tenth from thirteenth following the announcement of attractive feed-in tariffs for solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectricity.
The UK was dropped a place after it unveiled a draft of its new Energy Bill in which new emissions performance standards caused fears that natural gas will be used as a bridge fuel whilst coal power plants are phased out. The proposed cuts to the solar tariffs also negatively impacted the rating. The UK`s position was further exacerbated by the new method by which the indices are calculated which gives more weighting to solar energy; unlucky as their primary strength is wind power.
Ben Warren, the energy and environmental leader at Ernst & Young, said that “there is significant concern across the green energy sector that the government will shift its focus towards natural gas as an alternative to renewables. The Electricity Market Reform needs to deliver the right framework to stimulate investment across all forms of energy generation, including renewables.”
“The recently published draft Energy Bill is a welcome step in the right direction and signals clear progress; however, it is important we clarify certain aspects of the new regime, particularly around the off-take arrangements for independent generators in order to avoid uncertainty for investors.”