An increasingly diverse energy policy landscape prompts a major index reshuffle, as some markets elevate renewables ambitions while others rein them in. But effective large-scale generation delivery models remain critical for most.
Renewable energy country attractiveness index - September 2015
Established in 2003, our global quarterly publication ranks 40 countries on the attractiveness of their renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities, based on a number of macro, energy market and technology-specific indicators.
Strategic risk allocation through public-private partnerships may prove the most effective way to bring forward new utility-scale generation and optimize the economic benefits of emerging renewable technologies.
President Obama's Clean Power Plan (CPP) has not only shaken up the US energy market, but also our index. The US returns to the top spot ahead of China as it rolls out arguably its most comprehensive and far-reaching emissions reduction legislation to date, with the potential to significantly increase renewable energy deployment over the next 15 years.
China continues to dwarf the US in terms of new renewables investment and deployment, but its current economic slowdown, limited foreign participation despite government efforts, and grid constraints, contribute to its slip to second place.
India continues to dominate the headlines with multi-gigawatt project and multi-billion-dollar investments. While many doubt it will achieve its ambitious renewables target, it has galvanized the market and prompted economic and political reform that is creating the foundations of an extremely attractive long-term market.
As a result India moves to third place ahead of Germany, where capacity deployment has slowed, and a new auction regime has raised fears that smaller developers will be squeezed out.
Top 10 battle
The UK also slips down, falling out of the top 10 for the first time, as a raft of policy measures threaten its historically attractive renewables market.
However, its fall helps Latin America's hottest markets to cement their top 10 positions. Despite Brazil's challenging economic conditions, government proactivity in addressing key challenges such as low tariffs, and an increasing focus on its untapped solar market takes it up to eighth place.
Meanwhile, the success of renewables in Chile's technology-neutral energy auctions and a continuing flow of large-scale project approvals justify its climb to ninth.
Best of the rest
Mexico rises to 19th place following a transition to a wholesale electricity market and tradable renewable energy certificate regime — both helping a market already attracting significant international investment. Details of its first energy auctions are also expected in October.
Turkey's long-term investment and deployment potential see it jump to 15th place, while Ireland climbs two places to 28th. An improving economic outlook, sizeable private sector commitment to solar, and a decision by the UK regulator to revisit a potential interconnection to help Irish power exports, have increased its attractiveness.
Kicked when down
More bad news for Australia's and Spain's already battered renewables markets prompt falls to 13th and 25th places. Australia's government is continuing its attacks on the wind sector, while apparently softening toward utility-scale solar.
Spain also seems to be targeting its austerity measures, with plans to tax residential solar systems that apply battery storage, and preventing these being paid for selling excess power into the grid.