Market News

 May 26, 2009
The Changing World of Renewable Energy

 Ernst & Young has released the latest edition of its Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices, which in addition to an update on renewable energy opportunities by region and country, contains an insightful look at how the RE industry can and will survive the recession. 

The days of inexorable profitable growth are over, according to Guest Columnist Jonathan Johns in his insightful article "Managing renewables through the recession," who predicts late 2012 to be the cross over point when aggregate revenues exceed aggregate costs.  

The firm has introduced a revision to the Solar index, to reflect the increasing role of solar thermal in electricity generation. Changes to weightings in the index have resulted in overall rises in solar score for countries such as the U.S., Spain and India which have strong concentrated solar power (CSP) potential, while some countries such as Germany and France, with strong solar photovoltaic potential, have seen drops in overall score driven by a low potential for CSP generation.

"It is ironic that the recession is likely to prove the most effective device to date in cutting emissions, and the impact has been a rapid reduction in the price of carbon, demonstrating the volatile nature of that marketplace and confirming the need for capacity-building renewable incentives as well as cap-and-trade polluter-pays mechanisms. The extent to which carbon becomes fully priced in the economy is likely to have a fundamental effect on the speed of growth of the renewables sector and its profitability. This can be achieved either by way of trading (the preferred route to date) or by way of taxation, a route likely to be increasingly tempting to depleted government treasury departments." Jonathan Johns

Boosted by the new CSP index, the U.S. has remained top in the all renewables index and extended its lead to four points. European nations have benefited from the European Economic Recovery Plan as well as announcements from the EC that one-third of Cohesion Policy funds will target a green economy. These announcements have driven a rise in infrastructure scores across the affected Member States.

Meanwhile the Indian government announced a new target of 10% renewable energy within its energy mix by 2012. This, along with rises in tariffs for wind and solar, both photovoltaic and concentrated solar power, have bolstered India’s position near the top of the table.

In the near-term index, revised forecasts have seen the US rise as the reduction in forecast capacity for 2009-10 was not as great as expected. This is however still well below its peak seen in Q4 of 2007.

The full report is available for download 

Source: Renewable Energy World