The UK has shot back up accountancy giant EY’s renewables attractiveness league, aided by subsidy-free solar developments and surging interest in wind.
EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI), which tracks the investment appetite for clean energy across the globe, has placed the UK in seventh position, a marked rebound for the country after continual slides.
While the withdrawal of renewable energy subsidies prompted a collapse in the UK’s RECAI ranking previously, EY has pointed to the advent of subsidy-free solar and the development of onshore wind projects for merchant generation as being behind the UK’s “bounce” back up the chart.
Last summer renewables developer Anesco claimed a UK-first with the development of the Clayhill Solar Farm, a 10MW solar farm constructed alongside battery storage units without any subsidy support.
A number of other solar developers have also established their intent to bring similar projects over the coming 18 months, with Clean Energy News’ publisher Solar Media’s in-house market research division stating there to be up to 4.2GW of solar projects at various stages of planning in the UK.
Meanwhile EY has also pointed to an increasing number of investments in renewables, particularly solar, being made by oil and gas incumbents as they look to diversify their generation portfolios. Late last year BP acquired a 43% stake in solar developer Lightsource, echoing similar investments made by the likes of Shell, Total and Enel.
Ben Warren, global power & utilities corporate finance leader at EY, writes in this quarter’s RECAI that the triggers for these investments are both short- and long-term.
“In the long term, they recognize that climate change and the rise of electric vehicles will crimp demand for hydrocarbons. In the short term, they see the rapid growth of renewable energy and an opportunity to deploy their capital and expertise in a fast-evolving new energy market,” Warren wrote.