Political support and clear policies prove critical for renewable energy market growth

  • Share

London, 29 August 2012 – Having quadrupled its solar capacity target to 50GW by 2020 and  begun an accelerated domestic installations program to tackle the oversupply of solar panels, China looks set to continue its domination of the global renewable energy market, according to EY's latest quarterly global Renewable energy Country Attractiveness Indices report (CAI) released today.

The indices provide scores in 40 countries for national renewable energy markets, renewable energy infrastructures and their suitability for individual technologies. During Q2 2012, China remained at the top of the All Renewable Index (ARI) but going forward it has a number of challenges to overcome, such as the oversupply of wind turbines and solar panels, and resolving grid transmission issues.

During the same period, the US dropped 1.5 points, to share second position with Germany. This was due to ongoing uncertainty over the country's long-term renewable energy strategy and a failure to indicate if there will be an extension to the critical Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind projects. The drop in the US score coincided with Germany gaining a point —the result of the German government's proactive approach to addressing barriers to offshore wind development and creating stability in the solar sector.

Gil Forer, EY's Global Cleantech Leader, comments: “While the US and Germany markets are level within the ARI, the contrast between these two markets is evident. The upcoming elections have led to an understandable slowdown in the decision making process in the US, while Germany is pushing ahead with its ambitious renewable energy agenda — including the introduction of a new solar PV tariff and compensation for offshore grid connection delays.

“Having made positive progress, the challenge now facing Germany is making sure that the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure the renewable power generated in the north of the country can be shipped to customers in the south. It is important for any country not only to focus on policies that support supply, but also on those that will encourage and simulate demand.”

Looking beyond the top three markets to fourth place, India recently suffered severe blackouts leading to speculation that the country has attracted insufficient private investment to modernize its power infrastructure and that renewable energy investment may suffer amid wider power system reforms. India fell a point in the ARI as a result.

Despite dropping half a point, the UK has risen to fifth place in the ARI, due to a fall in Italy's ranking — a response to worsening economic conditions. While a number of UK policy and subsidy announcements were made during Q2 2012, the general consensus appears to be that these announcements have fallen short of establishing transparency, longevity and certainty, and have potentially created even greater uncertainty within the market.

Debt markets and asset finance see total new investment up 24% from Q1 2012
Q2 2012 saw total new investment in the sector at US$59.6b (€48b), up 24% from Q1 2012, with China experiencing a 92% increase on Q1 2012. Europe and the US saw an increase in total new investment of 11% and 18% respectively in Q2 2012, the majority of which was driven by new build asset finance. While the number of deals remained broadly the same, the value of these transactions increased by around 40%–50% across the two regions.

Transaction deal values down 50% from Q1 2012
Challenging market conditions were reflected in a 50% decline in the value of renewable energy deals in Q2 2012 compared with the previous quarter. Most transaction activity reflected the continued consolidation of the market, which is almost inevitable given the competitive landscape, compressed prices and tightening in demand.

Ben Warren, EY's Energy and Environmental Financial Leader comments: “During Q2 2012, major utilities and energy groups continued to rationalize their renewable energy portfolios through structured divestment programs to dispose of non-strategic businesses and assets, as they sought to deleverage their balance sheets.”

Looking forward, Warren summarizes: “The Q2 slowdown in transaction activity and deal values may only be temporary. For H2 2012, an increase in outbound Chinese activity is expected, with solar technology companies and wind sector original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) looking to access new markets through the acquisition of development portfolios.”

To download issue 34 of the Renewable energy CAI and previous issues, visit www.ey.com/CAI


Notes to Editors

About the CAI
The Country Attractiveness Indices publication has been running since the beginning of 2003 and is distributed to over 4,000 people each quarter. It provides scores for national renewable energy markets, renewable energy infrastructures and their suitability for individual technologies.

The Indices now monitors 40 entries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, UK and the US.

About EY's Energy and Environmental Finance Group
With a dedicated team of over 100 international advisors operating from our global team, EY's Environmental Finance Group helps private and public sector clients to increase value from renewable energy activity. The team covers established and emerging renewable technologies, providing advisory services from initial market entry strategies to commercial analysis, finance raising, and M&A transactions advice.

How EY's Global Cleantech Center can help your business
From start-ups to large corporations and national governments, organizations worldwide are embracing cleantech as a means of growth, efficiency, sustainability and competitive advantage. As cleantech enables a variety of sectors, old and new, to transform and participate in a more resource-efficient and low-carbon economy, we see innovation in technology, business models, financing mechanisms, cross-sector partnerships and corporate adoption. EY's Global Cleantech Center offers you a worldwide team of professionals in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services who understand the business dynamics of cleantech. We have the experience to help you make the most of opportunities in this marketplace, and address any challenges. Whichever sector or market you're in, we can provide the insights you need to realize the benefits of cleantech.

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 152,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

EY refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit www.ey.com.

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.