Earlier this year it was starting to look worryingly like Europe was slamming into reverse gear with its clean energy policy. In its biannual report on renewables investment, released in May, consultancy EY reported that countries across the continent were becoming less attractive to investors as the pipelines of clean energy projects slowed following widespread subsidy cuts and a perceived “scaling back” of ambition.
Almost without exception, European markets slipped down the rankings while emerging economies across Latin America, Asia and Africa took their place near the top of the league table thanks to government plans to deploy green energy as a fast, relatively cheap way to develop their grids.
“European markets appear to be scaling back their ambitions as they address the challenges of marrying up increasingly mainstream renewables with a legacy of centralised conventional power generation,” EY said at the time.
But rather than being the start of a long, painful descent for Europe – historically the world’s frontrunner in renewable energy development – it now seems that the worrying report in May may have been a temporary blip.
The latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI), released today, shows many European nations, including France, Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, Norway and Finland, all moved up the rankings thanks to a flurry of new renewables programmes that are helping to drive investment across the continent.
For example, France, moved up a position to reach 7th in the global rankings, thanks largely to a new national plan to tender 3GW of new solar capacity over the next three years, which will boost its solar capacity to more than 10GW by 2018. The country is also embarking on an ambitious project to pave 1,000km of roads in the country with solar panels. Construction work has already begun on the Normandy factory where the panels will be built, with the first shipments due to hit the streets next year.
Meanwhile, in Germany significant investment is going into grid flexibility to allow higher levels of renewables to come online, according to Ben Warren, EY global power & utilities corporate finance leader and RECAI chief editor. “The effort that’s going on in Germany is how to deploy more renewables and manage the stresses on the grid,” he told BusinessGreen, describing how a “buoyant” energy storage market is emerging along with new business models for peak shifting and demand shifting.
Reading more on: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/26/new-projects-boost-europes-attractiveness-to-renewables-investors