After succumbing to emerging nations and falling down the last Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index published by EY, European countries have rebounded in the latest edition, published this week.
The bi-annual Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) received its latest edition this week, published by its creator, advisory services company EY (once Ernst & Young), highlighting some slight ground made up by European countries. France, Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, Norway, and Finland, all regained ground, though the United Kingdom continues to lose ground in the wake of Brexit and the closure of the country’s Department of Energy & Climate Change.
“European countries lack the flexibility that exists in emerging markets to transform their energy industries,” said Ben Warren, EY Global Power & Utilities Corporate Finance Leader and RECAI Chief Editor. “Their greatest hurdle is integrating renewables with historically centralized conventional power generation. It began to look like European countries were scaling back their renewables ambitions as a result but, in recent months, we’ve seen promising new programs materialize around the continent.”
This edition of the RECAI also focused on renewable energy green bonds. According to EY, Europe saw the greatest share of renewable energy green bond activity, with a total of $54.9 billion in green bonds issued in Europe since 2007. North America followed with only $19.8 billion, then Asia with $4.5 billion.
“The green bond market is enabling corporates, banks, and development finance institutions to tap into enormous demand among investors for clean energy projects,” explained Warren. “In the last few years, we’ve seen significant growth in green bonds sold by issuers with plans to direct proceeds to environmental ends.”
Of the total $95.6 billion worth of green bonds issued since the market’s inception in 2007, 65% of the funds have been channeled into renewable energy.
The industry is growing, too, with $48.2 billion of green bonds already sold by July 2016 — that’s compared to full-year totals of $41.8 billion in 2015, and $36.6 billion in 2014.
“Green bonds currently serve to refinance existing projects for issuers and tick a box on the corporate responsibility agenda for investors,” said Warren. “The ideal future state will see these financing vehicles used to bring new renewables projects to life.”