Press release

25 Nov 2020 Dublin, IE

Ireland maintains strong position in EY ‘Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index’

Ireland has ranked 14th in the latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) published by EY.

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  • Clear targets and governance are helping Ireland lay the foundations for the long-term growth of renewables
  • US and China retain their top rankings as Australia rises to #3 for the first time
  • Technological advancements such as hydrogen and AI critical to reaching net zero goal

Dublin, 25 November 2020: Ireland has ranked 14th in the latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) published by EY. The index examines the attractiveness of markets to those investing in renewable energy activity and projects. Out of the 40 markets assessed as part of the latest RECAI, Ireland maintained a strong position in the rankings. A key call-out from the report is that climate change and renewables must stay at the top of the global agenda if the low-carbon transition is to be accelerated as we navigate the pandemic.

Commenting on Ireland’s position in the Index, Anthony Rourke, EY Ireland Government and Infrastructure Advisory Director, said:

“Since 2017 Ireland has jumped from a ranking of 40 to now being within the top 15 markets on the Index. Huge progress has been made over that time with new policy underlining the growing importance of renewable energy development in Ireland. This has gone some way in boosting confidence in Ireland’s sustainability and enabling investment across a more diverse range of technologies.”

Buoyed by the country’s first successful renewable electricity auction, under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS), Ireland’s coalition Government is also laying the foundations for long-term growth of renewables with clear targets and governance structures. But addressing key sectoral challenges – such as grid capacity, planning consents and setting appropriate commercial rates – will be crucial for the country to meet its ambitious green goals over the next decade and beyond.

Crucial to achieving Ireland’s pledge that 70% of its electricity will come from renewable sources by 2030, will be the need for greater public and private sector support to develop Ireland’s renewable electricity market. Specifically, it will be critical for the Irish Government to meet the target it has set for 15% of Ireland’s renewable electricity demand to come from corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) over that time.

“We are on a new path to meet Ireland’s 2050 net-zero emissions targets via a set of five-year economy-wide carbon budgets. This together with the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2020 is indicative of Ireland’s recent efforts to create a clear and reliable framework for decarbonization that provides strong signals for investment in renewables,” said Mr. Rourke.

Global View

The United States holds its place at the top of the latest RECAI, with significant support from COVID-19 stimulus packages designated to renewable energy projects and a commitment pending to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement. The US regained the number one position in 2020 for the first time since 2016. Despite the pandemic, the Chinese solar sector remains buoyant and continues to remain in the second spot on the index. Australia has reached its highest position on the index in the history of the RECAI, reaching number three for the first time. This is largely due to developers and investors driving growth in Australia’s renewables sector, while the country has ambitious green energy export plans. Rounding out the top five markets on the index are India and the United Kingdom at fourth and fifth position respectively.

Technological Advancements

The report has also called out technological advancements, such as hydrogen and artificial intelligence (AI), as having a critical role to play to reach net zero in a post-COVID-19 world. The ability to convert excess renewable electricity into hydrogen - to create a chemical battery with greater storage capacity - is projected to be a game-changer. Meanwhile, AI algorithms – with their use of the internet of things, sensors and big data – can help stabilize central grids with improved prediction capability through demand forecasting and asset management, and consequently increase dispatch efficiency.

For the complete top 40 ranking, as well as an analysis of the latest renewable energy developments across the world, visit ey.com/recai.