Global professional services provider EY announced the release of its Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI), its ranking of the top markets in terms of attractiveness for renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities. Keeping the top spot in the semi-annual index was the United States, followed by China Mainland, France and the UK.

EY launched the RECAI index in 2003, and bases its assessments on a series of criteria, spanning factors such as policy stability, long-term contracts, natural resources, grid infrastructure and finance availability, among others.

esg playbook

Some of the highlights regarding renewable energy developments in the US, according to the EY report, included the country’s recently launched target to transition to a carbon-free electric grid by 2035, and the prevalence of clean energy goals at the state level, with 40 states now having a renewable portfolio standards (RPS) or a carbon emissions reduction target. The country’s infrastructure bill allocates $73 billion to clean energy, and utility-scale renewables are expected to grow to a record 21% of the electricity mix this year, and to reach 23% next year.

While the report highlights the generally supportive environment for global renewables investment and development as countries gear up efforts to address the climate crisis, it also highlights some of the key barriers and bottlenecks to the continued growth and deployment of renewable energy capacity.

Most significantly, the report points to the need for rapid growth in grid investments in order to accommodate the planned increase in renewable energy capacity. EY cites and IEA report indicating the need for up to 50% increased grid spending over the next decade, with nearly 7 million km of transmission lines required to transport energy from renewable generation sources, which tend to often be concentrated in locations far from the grid.

Arnaud de Giovanni, EY Global Renewables Leader, said:

“With global leaders convening at COP26 in November, we are approaching what could be a watershed moment in combatting the climate crisis. Increasing investment and policy support has enabled renewables growth to continue at breakneck speed. If sustainability goals are to be met, a 50% increase in grid spending could be needed over the next decade as markets adapt for a net-zero future.”

Click here to view the EY Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) report.