Forty countries are ranked each year for their attractiveness for renewable energy investing by Ernst & Young’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECA). In a turnaround, according to the index, during the past year the United States has now outpaced China as the most attractive nation to invest in renewable energy.
Next in order on the list are Germany, Australia, and then the UK. Also making up the top ten most attractive are Japan, Canada, India, France, and Belgium respectively.
The analysts noted that in 2012 renewable energy came of age. Although the sector has been going through significant turmoil, solar panels and wind turbines are becoming much more common sights around the world, and biomass plants power factories and hospitals. Clearly there is still a long way to go, but renewable energy is gaining momentum worldwide.
Globally, investments in the renewable energy sector actually dropped around 22% in 2012, but installed capacity still increased substantially, which reflects the resilience of the sector, authors of the report suggested. Recent cost reductions have also made renewable energy technologies more affordable, and not so reliant on government subsidies. This is a trend that’s set to continue. More capacity will be able to be generated for the same amount of money, yet the amount of investment is likely to grow substantially.
As an indication of how much the renewable energy sector has grown, the report notes that global clean energy investment of $269 billion in 2012 was 5 times greater than in 2004.