Uncertainty looms for renewable energy

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The renewable energy industry is at a tipping point as developed markets start to close the door on generous subsidy programs and emerging markets develop cost strategies to compete with fossil fuels, according to research from Ernst & Young.

The research provides scores for 40 countries for national renewable energy markets, renewable energy infrastructures and their suitability for individual technologies. During Q3 2012, China remained at the top, but dropped a point as its solar sector continued the consolidation process in an effort to boost domestic installation and rationalize government support, which could slow growth in the more immediate term.

The quarter also saw the U.S. drop 1.5 points, resulting in Germany moving up into second place ahead of the U.S. While the German government has recently increased the country's renewable energy target for electricity to 40 percent by 2020 and is proactively implementing policy measures to create sustainable growth, the downgraded score reflects the more immediate changes around possible subsidy caps for solar, wind and biomass.

Within the U.S., the uncertainty about long-term energy policy, as well as concerns over the extension of key renewable energy incentives and the availability of low-priced natural gas are likely to continue slowing the growth in the sector in the short to medium term, particularly in the wind sector.

With the election over, Gil Forer, Ernst & Young's global cleantech leader, predicts new long-term momentum behind cleantech-related regulations, such as EPA greenhouse gas regulations as well as Department of Energy and Department of Defense energy-efficiency initiatives.

For more:
- see the report

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