Ireland comes 21st in renewable energy country attractiveness index

26 Feb 2013

Ireland is the 21st most attractive country for investment in renewables out of 40 countries, according to Ernst & Young’s latest quarterly index out today.

In its latest Renewable energy country attractiveness indices report, Ernst & Young points to how capacity auctions – whereby future power purchase projects and generation licences are awarded through a competitive process – are increasingly being adapted by governments. This is in contrast to traditional revenue-based support mechanisms.

In the report, Ernst & Young also pinpoints rising clean energy country performers, such as Chile, Morocco and South Africa.

In addition, Ernst & Young predicts that activity in the wind-energy sector will pick up in 2013. According to the report, investment in the global wind sector dropped by 13pc to US$78.3bn (€59.4bn) in 2012.

The index predicts that offshore wind is likely to be a key growth area for investment and transactions in 2013. According to Navigant Consulting, the offshore wind sector is set to expand by an average of almost 82pc per year by 2016, with 100 gigawatts of onshore wind capacity in the pipeline.

Ernst & Young said that the burgeoning offshore wind sector is also starting to attract a diverse investor base, including pensions funds, industrial conglomerates and private equity groups.

Country Attractiveness Index

Map of countries and how they ranked in the latest Country Attractiveness Index. (Ernst & Young: February 2013)

The overall index ranked 40 countries based on the attractiveness of their national renewable energy markets, energy infrastructure and suitability for individual technologies.

China retained the top spot in the index. Ernst & Young said this was a result of its announcement of ambitious capacity targets for 2013 and an increase in strategic outbound investment.

Germany came second in the index as a result of its government’s focus on expanding the country’s grid infrastructure. However, Ernst & Young said the sector will be put under pressure as a result of the plan announced in January to freeze the consumer levy for renewable energy.

The US was ranked in third place in the index due to its renewed focus on wind energy. Meanwhile, India, France and the UK ranked fourth, fifth and sixth in the index respectively.

Ireland rose two places to rank 21st in the current All Renewables Index. Ernst & Young said this was partly due to Greece losing points in the index, but also as a result of the recent memorandum of understanding signed with the UK that could pave the way for exporting wind energy from Ireland.

Ireland, meanwhile, ranked 11th in the Ernst & Young indices for onshore and offshore wind. This is up one position from the last index.

Gil Forer, Ernst & Young’s global clean-tech leader, said governments are tailoring their approach to clean-energy investment to suit their individual needs and market maturity.

“The clean-energy landscape has become much more global in the last 12 months, with more countries developing strategic initiatives at a national level to include and increase renewable energy within their overall energy mix,” he said.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic