China remains most attractive renewable energy market as new US headwinds emerge

London, 10 October 2017

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  • US stalls at third position in global index as threat of import tariffs unsettles solar market
  • Recent deals strengthen Middle East and North Africa appeal
  • India’s second place ranking threatened by cancelled agreements and tariff reductions

China holds its position at the top of the latest EY Renewable energy country attractiveness index (RECAI) after overtaking the US in May this year, while India’s second position in the top 40 country ranking looks increasingly precarious. This follows cancelled wind energy power purchase agreements and steep falls in tariffs bid in recent auctions, placing doubt over India’s 2022 target of 100GW of solar PV.

After conceding the leading poll position in the last index, the US remains at third place. In addition to recent executive orders to rollback climate change policies, in September the US International Trade Commission (USITC) issued a preliminary ruling stating that increased imports of solar panels could potentially cause “serious injury” to the domestic market.1 The US solar industry awaits recommendations from the USITC by 13 November 2017.

The report sees Middle East and North African countries climbing the index, owing to a surge in renewables activity and a series of policy developments, financing deals and tenders in the region. In Egypt, the International Finance Corporation has approved US$635m for 500MW of solar projects; Saudi Arabia has invited bids for its first utility-scale wind farm – a 400MW project; and Algeria is a new entrant to the index at 38th position, with a 4GW solar tender.

Ben Warren, EY Global Power & Utilities Corporate Finance Leader and RECAI Chief Editor, says: 

“The index highlights that government policy is pivotal in driving renewable energy development globally. As it becomes increasingly clear that time is running out for legacy energy supply models, countries are vying for their place in a clean energy future. Collaboration with existing suppliers and innovative partners through partnerships and acquisitions holds the key to success in this new world.”

Despite regional instability, South Korea has risen four places to 29th position, following plans to increase the share of renewables from 6.6% today to 20% by 2030 as recently announced by the newly elected President Moon.

And France is edging further toward RECAI’s top five, rising two places to the sixth position amid new tenders and acquisitions, combined with strong political support for renewables under President Macron.

50th index reflects on dramatic evolution of renewables

In what is the 50th issue of RECAI, the report looks back over the last 15 years, reflecting on key milestones in the renewables journey and projections that new wind and solar will account for 34% of global electricity generation by 2040.2

Warren says: “While predictions should be met with caution in this changing landscape, the trend toward further technology cost reduction will likely drive enormous investment and faster penetration of renewables. The onward march of renewable energy is also likely to generate employment, tax revenue and attractive returns for astute investors.”

The report also highlights how three key disruptors – digitization, decentralization and decarbonization – are reshaping the retail energy market, and how new, agile competitors are eroding the market share of incumbent suppliers.

For the complete top 40 ranking and further insights on retail energy, mini-grids and the US renewables sector, visit ey.com/recai.

- Ends -

Notes to Editors

About EY

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About EY’s Global Power & Utilities Sector

In a world of uncertainty, changing regulatory frameworks and environmental challenges, utility companies need to maintain a secure and reliable supply, while anticipating change and reacting to it quickly. EY’s Global Power & Utilities Sector brings together a worldwide team of professionals to help you succeed — a team with deep technical experience in providing assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The Sector team works to anticipate market trends, identify their implications and develop points of view on relevant sector issues. Ultimately, this team enables us to help you meet your goals and compete more effectively.

For more information, please visit ey.com/powerandutilities.

About the report

The index has been updated, with underlying datasets fully refreshed since the May 2017 issue.

For more information or to see a description of our methodology, please go to ey.com/recai.


1 United States International Trade Commission: https://www.usitc.gov/press_room/news_release/2017/er0922ll832.htm

2 Bloomberg, New Energy Outlook 2017: https://about.bnef.com/new-energy-outlook/