New investment in UK renewables has slowed over the past year when compared with the previous 12 months, amid Brexit uncertainty. This is according to the EY Renewable Energy Attractiveness Index (RECAI), which saw the UK fall by one position to rank 8th this month. Another contributing factor to the decline was the launch of a government consultation to close the feed-in tariff scheme for small-scale renewables from April 2019. In addition, the rejection of funding for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project had a dampening effect on the outlook for renewable investment.
The Index published by EY ranks 40 countries on the attractiveness of their renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities. To arrive at each country’s ranking, a wide range of factors are assessed, which include policy, affordability, economic stability, and technological potential.
The top ten positions saw little change in this biannual report as all countries face similar geopolitical instability. The US retained its position in second place, despite the fact that it introduced a 30% tariff on imports of solar panels. US states are continuing with their renewable development plans independently of federal government. India climbed to third place in the index, although reaching its 100GW solar target is in question now that it has also placed an import tariff on solar cells.
China remains at the top of the index despite plans to cut back on renewable subsidies. The intention is to bring about grid parity for photovoltaics as quickly as possible.
While investment in UK renewables has slowed, government statistics still showed an increase in renewable capacity of 10% at the end of Q2 2018, compared to one year earlier, with over half of the annual increase coming from offshore wind. Renewable electricity generation made up 31.7% of total generation in the same quarter. It is the pace of investment and the outlook for renewables in the UK that are under scrutiny.
Germany and France sit at 4th and 5th place on the RECAI. Germany is not expected to meet its 2020 emission reduction targets, cutting emissions to 32% below 1990 levels instead of the intended 40%. However, new plans are being put in place to support the phase out of lignite plants. The EU set a new target this year of 32% gross energy consumption to be sourced from renewables by 2030.