A new report released by Ernst & Young measured China as having having caught up to Germany in renewables, and the report also showed wind power to be flourishing in a number of countries. What follows are the highlights from the report.
China rose to tie Germany in the Ernst & Young renewables index, due to the latest government focus on wind and solar. New national support in the form of stimulus announcements has arrived for solar photovoltaic, with 2020 targets that are 75-times current capacity (120 megawatts), and Chinese wind targets of 100 gigawatts.
The challenging decline in solar module prices has hit manufacturers worldwide, but new funding from China, and potentially the United States, could spur demand. The large Jiuquan wind project is aiming for over 5 GW by 2010 and 40 GW by 2020.
Recent sector motion has been positive, with even biomass seeing some gains, however in June, prices leveled off or even fell slightly.
The report shows the US remains number one for wind and solar. Following right behind the US in the wind sector are China, Germany, India and the United Kingdom. And in the solar sector, the US is followed by Spain, Germany, Italy and India, respectively.
Across the pond, the United Kingdom recently saw the publishing of five documents that could prove vital to the renewable sector; among them was a Renewable Energy Strategy, Low Carbon Transport Strategy, and the Low Carbon Industrial Strategy. The Renewable Energy Strategy has, like China's plans, set out goals for renewable development by 2020.
The UK has seen its ranking in the Ernst & Young index fall due to the renewable energy industry's difficult time gaining project approval and permission; as well as high import prices. Even more, the report states that UK investors and businesses remain concerned about whether government strategies will achieve the forecasted results.
Surprisingly, the report also suggested that the landscape could be improving in European debt market liquidity due partially to recent large-scale projects and European debt market liquidity. Project finance terms aren't expected to improve, but new signs could provide "welcome relief" to delayed projects.
The solar industry began with an aggressive development of production capacity and newer technologies, and now new development is being seen in new markets, such as South America and South Africa. Emerging markets are more resilient than major markets—solar has attracted significant US attention; and unlike previous quarters was spread across other renewables.
Chinese wind turbine manufacturers are expected to become significant international players. While the US has remained static in the long-term wind index, China has seen gains.
Other rising wind nations in the Ernst & Young index include Ireland and Poland. An Irish Wind Energy Association report recently stated Irish wind power was viable in terms of investment and job creation, and Poland has also seen a rise in wind energy.
Offshore wind received attention due to new "mega-projects" such as the London Array. Ernst & Young will also be running a Side Panel Debate on equity finance at the European Offshore Wind Conference in September 2009.
Filled with the prospect of fresh stimulus funds, American investors were more open to a diverse portfolio, with smart grid, transportation and wind, rather than the traditional emphasis on solar. Italy, however, saw a deceleration in photovoltaic installation projects.
India saw a surge in renewable energy investment to the tune of 12-percent, with the largest portion (17-percent) going to wind. Assisted by increasing incentives, a number of nations are attracting investors globally.
The credit climate has altered, requiring the lending community to realign practices, according to the report. Renewables are continuing to gain attention worldwide and hopefully will receive new support from government incentives.
You can find the report here.
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