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US leads the way in attractiveness for renewables investment

Since 2003, Ernst & Young (EY), one of the world’s leading professional services organisations, has released biannual reports on which countries are leading the way in renewable investments.

Through their Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI), EY ranks the top 40 countries that are most effective in their transition to renewable energy.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a remarkable impact on the way many countries powered their economies, with EY reporting that reductions in demand for energy actually managed to help renewables increase their share of energy mixes.

US leads the renewables wave

For Edition 56 of the RECAI, the US led the charge worldwide in transitioning towards cleaner sources of power. Having lagged behind China for a number of years, 2020 has been the moment for the US to shine as a leading haven for renewables investment.

China’s renewables market faced something of a mixed year when it came to the pandemic, but is still forecast to add 251GW of additional wind power capacity by the end of the 2020s, according to figures by Wood Mackenzie.

France, ranked seventh in the report, is expected to bolster its renewables market, after the French Government unveiled a hefty €100 billion stimulus package in September. A third of this package is set aside for green projects, to help secure a green recovery from the COVID-19 recession. As much as €7 billion in fresh funding is to be provided to help stimulate the country’s green-hydrogen industry.

Hydrogen dominates conversation

The 56th RECAI was dominated by discussion about the development of green-hydrogen power. The report explored the potential for hydrogen to power long-haul transportation, but referred to the issue of infrastructure as something of a weak link in this field.

Heavy industry is being looked to as an increasingly viable candidate for switching to hydrogen power on a mass scale. Through a concept called industrial clustering, UK-based ideas such as the Gigastack project would serve as designated hydrogen hubs, which produce the hydrogen fuel, while also providing shared infrastructure for refuelling and distribution.

The UK managed to improve its standing in the RECAI yet again, having climbed from eighth place in the May 2019 edition to fifth place in the newest report. A recent pronouncement of green measures by the UK Government looks set to cement the UK’s position as one of the leading proponents of green energy. Going green is about more than just promises and slogans – actual investment is what separates concrete action from a load of hot air.

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