Australia Slips In Renewable Energy Attractiveness Rankings

The latest Ernst & Young’s global Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices shows that while clean energy reached record levels in 2010, some countries and sectors struggled in the prevailing economic and policy conditions. Australia was among those to have slipped in the rankings.
  
Ernst & Young report new investment in clean energy globally climbed 30% in 2010 to reach US$243 billion. 
  
China continued to lead the way with incredible growth, including a 64% jump in total wind power capacity in 2010, reaching in excess of 42GW.
  
China’s closest competitor, the USA, really wasn’t all that close at all; just managing 5.1GW of new wind power. This was only half 2009’s level and well shy of China’s 16.5GW in 2010. However, Ernst & Young hints to a brighter future for the USA after President Obama’s recent announcement regarding an ambitious 80% clean energy target for 2035.
  
2010 was a solid year overall for offshore wind, with new capacity growth of 51%. The solar sector also saw strong gains, including concentrated solar power.
 
Closer to home, Australia’s rank in the indices dropped from 12 to 14. Ernst & Young state new Government policies have negatively impacted on construction of wind farms, with as many as 70% of proposed projects under threat. The report states electricity output from new wind and solar power farms dropped almost 80% last year due to financing issues; with just 221MW added to Australia’s grid in 2010 compared with 993MW in 2009.
 
Also influencing the ranking was the Australian Government’s announcement of the early scaling back of the Solar Credits scheme; taking effect from 1 July 2011. The Solar Credits scheme is a solar panel rebate program targeted towards households and small businesses. The reduction will mean up to $1,200 less in subsidies after the June 30 installation deadline.
 
The full Ernst & Young’s global Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices (February 2011) can be viewed here (PDF).