The United States, which topped the indices between November 2006 and May 2010, is now five points behind the ascendant China. The continued repercussions of the financial crisis, low gas prices and the uncertain medium-to-long term policy environment have prompted a one point fall this quarter in the US, while China rose two points.
Ben Warren, Ernst & Young's UK Energy and Environmental Infrastructure Advisory Leader, explains, "Since reaching top spot in our Index in September, China has opened up a healthy gap from other markets. Cleantech, including renewable energy, represents a significant part of the country's future economic growth plans."
Warren continues: "The level of wind energy being deployed in China shows what can be achieved with a carefully planned energy and industrial policy that elevates cleantech to a national strategic level. The Chinese solar industry is also fast becoming of great importance in the global market place."
This issue of the indices includes four new entrants: South Korea, Romania, Egypt, and Mexico. South Korea leads the new entrants to secure 18th position, on the back of its ambitious targets, strong incentives, and robust supply chain. Romania and Egypt both achieve a ranking of 22nd, as a result of their fast-growing wind markets. Mexico completes the new line up, ranking 25th, benefiting from challenging targets and strong wind and solar resources.
Gil Forer, Ernst & Young's Global Cleantech Leader, comments: "South Korea, one of the largest energy consumers in the world, elevated the country's focus on cleantech to a national strategic level through its five year comprehensive National Strategy for Green Growth plan that was announced last year. The implementation of this plan will enable the country to drive a low carbon and more resource-efficient economy, as well as enhancing its innovation-based platform."
Japan climbed three points in the index, driven by the potential for its solar cell market to grow nearly fourfold from its 2009 level to JPY487.1b (euro 4.3b) by 2020, given the Government's climate policies such as the household solar installation subsidy FITs introduced in 2009.
The UK has climbed a point following its Government's public spending review and the publication of a National Infrastructure Plan — both of which signalled strong support for renewables and specific investment in offshore wind.
Elsewhere, India gained a point following the completion of regulations for the trading of renewable energy certificates by seven Indian states, with another nine states having now prepared drafts.
The Czech Republic is the only country to have fallen outside the top 30 countries, mostly due to various plans by Parliament to remove or significantly reduce solar subsidies.