China and India have taken the world’s top two spots in EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI), surpassing the US and pushing it to third place for the first time since 2015 in the ranking of the top 40 countries.
Newly minted US President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders that attempt to revive the country’s coal industry by rolling back former US President Obama’s environmental and climate change policies, and the review of the Clean Power Plan, all served to decrease the country’s attractiveness for renewable energy development and investment.
“Movements in the index illustrate the influence of policy on renewable energy investment and development – both productive and detrimental,” said Ben Warren, EY Global Power & Utilities Corporate Finance Leader and RECAI Chief Editor. “Supportive policy and a long-term vision are critical to achieving a clean energy future.”
Aside from the disadvantageous energy policy changes the US is making, the strong growth in China and India also contributed to pushing the two countries to the top spots.
China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) announced in January that the country intends to spend US$363 billion to develop new renewable energy capacity by 2020. China is also intending to trial a pilot tradable green certificate program in July of this year.
Meanwhile, India continued its upward trend that has been seen over the past few editions of the RECAI, thanks in part to the country’s plans to build 175 GW of new renewable energy capacity by 2022 and to ensure renewable energy accounts for 40% of installed capacity by 2040.
“The renewable energy industry is beginning to break free of the shackles that have stalled progress in the past,” Warren added. “More refined technology, lower costs and advances in battery storage are enabling more widespread investment and adoption of clean energy.”
Meanwhile, the UK squeezed its way back into the top 10, and somewhat surprisingly, Australia managed to eke its way into the top 5 due to a record year of investment in renewable energy and efforts to ensure the country reaches its 2020 renewable energy target. Canada fell out of the top 10, and Chile, France, and Mexico all saw themselves slip down in the top 10.