Cutting through the carbon crap

Strong words this week from the CEO of the UK’s Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), Dr Nina Skorupska CBE: “If the Government is serious about reaching their Net Zero ambitions, and about ‘levelling up’, they need to back our sector, remove the barriers preventing the growth of our technologies and help us deliver new jobs and investment. 2021, the year the UK is hosting COP26, must be a watershed moment. The time for rhetoric is over, we need to see action.”

Somewhat curiously, her clarion call came in the same week that Japan outlined a plan to significantly increase its target for renewable energy electricity generation to 2030, according to a draft of its latest energy policy.

The industry ministry’s policy draft says renewables should account for 36-38% of power supplies in 2030, double the level of 18% in the financial year to March 2020. The earlier target was for renewables to contribute 22-24% of electricity in 2030, while the use of coal will be reduced to 19% from 26% under the new plan.

So does this mean that it’s full marks for Japan and a “could do better” for the UK for their end of term reports?

Well, not exactly. For the reality would appear to be that both the UK Japan are not at the top table when it comes to renewable energy investment, despite all the powerful spin.

Indeed, IHS Markit’s Global Renewable Markets Attractiveness Rankings has tracked the attractiveness for investment for non-hydro renewables – offshore wind, onshore wind and solar PV – across 35 countries that are expected to account for 90% of non-hydro renewables capacity additions to 2030.

The ranking evaluates each nation on the basis of seven subcategories that include the current policy framework, market fundamentals, investor friendliness, infrastructure readiness, revenue risks and return expectations, easiness to compete and the overall opportunity size for each market.

And the nation which claims the number one spot? The United States, which has “sound market fundamentals” and the availability of an “attractive support scheme”. Under the American Jobs Plan, President Joe Biden’s administration is aiming to significantly increase federal investment in renewable energy in the US. Scaling up on clean technologies is expected to play a key role in the nation cutting its carbon emissions by 50-52% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

Over-ambitious? Possibly. Commendable vision? Absolutely.

Enjoy this week’s read.

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