Earlier this year it was revealed Ireland had shot up the EY Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) rankings by six places to 12th. Now the latest RECAI rankings announced today (25 November) show the country has fallen to 14th place.
The rankings list the top 40 countries in the world on the attractiveness of their renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities, with Ireland now placed in between South Korea in 13th and Brazil in 15th place.
The authors of the report said that the climate crisis and renewables must stay at the top of the global agenda if the low-carbon transition is to be accelerated as we navigate the pandemic.
In the last report published earlier this year, EY pointed to the Irish Government’s introduction of the Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS) as an important climate action, along with noting increasing international interest in Ireland’s offshore wind resources.
Under the first RESS auction results, 160 wind turbines and 1,750 hectares of solar power were approved.
Now, in a deep-dive article on Ireland’s current attractiveness for renewable investment, EY’s UK and Irish government and infrastructure advisory director, Anthony Rourke, warned that the prevalence of smaller projects – particularly solar – could lead to “funding issues” for this first set of RESS auction winners.
A crucial time
Rourke also noted that the short turnaround for projects – including an agreement to post a €25,000 per MW performance bond and have operations commence by 2023 – could prove challenging.
“Buoyed by a successful renewable electricity auction, Ireland’s coalition Government is laying the foundations for long-term growth of renewables with clear targets and governance structures,” Rourke said.
“But addressing key sectoral challenges – such as grid capacity, planning consents and setting appropriate commercial rates – will now be crucial for the country to meet its ambitious green goals over the next decade and beyond.”
Globally, the US and China hold first and second place in the RECAI, respectively. The US regained the number one position in 2020 for the first time since 2016 bolstered by significant support from COVID-19 stimulus packages designated to renewable energy projects and the likely return of the country to the Paris Agreement.
The EY report also pointed to promising technological advancements – such as AI and hydrogen – as having a critical role in trying to achieve net-zero emissions.
Speaking of Ireland’s ambitions to reach this target by 2050, Rourke said that the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2020 is “indicative of Ireland’s recent efforts to create a clear and reliable framework for decarbonization that provides strong signals for investment in renewables”.
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