China now most attractive country for renewables investment

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China has surpassed the United States as the most attractive country in the world for investment in renewable energy projects, according to the latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices report from Ernst & Young (New York, NY). China first entered the index in 2004 and has steadily ramped up to the top of the Ernst & Young indices, while the United States in the most recent index dropped two points because of Congress’s failure to enact a federal Renewable Energy Standard (RES) this summer, Ernst & Young said. “China’s steady rise to pole position has been underpinned by strong and consistent government support for renewable energy,” said Ben Warren, Ernst & Young’s Environment and Energy Infrastructure advisory leader. “This, together with substantial commitment from industry and the sheer scale of its natural resources, means that its position as top spot for renewable energy investment is well-merited.” By contrast, “although the United States remains a highly attractive location for investors in renewable energy, it is clear that recent events have eased momentum,” Warren added. “The U.S. market continues to have significant potential but requires consistent legislative support to provide investors with the long-term confidence they need.”

In a separate report, HSBC (London, U.K.) concluded that the global low-carbon energy market could treble from $740 billion today to $2.2 trillion by 2020, with China leading the way in growth rates. China will pass the United States in low-carbon energy investment but will still trail the European Union (EU), which has set stringent renewable energy standards, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limits, and efficiency targets by 2020, said HSBC’s Sizing the Climate Economy report. “In the EU we expect renewable but not energy efficiency targets to be met; in the United States we project limited growth in clean energy; and in China, we expect current targets for clean energy to be exceeded,” the report said.

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