By the Blouin News Science & Health staff

The future of global renewables

by in Environment.

George Frey/Getty Images

George Frey/Getty Images

The renewable-resources industry is increasingly in focus as measures to stem the tide of climate change falter around the world. A climate conference in Warsaw in late 2013 failed to produce any significant resolutions to globally address the need to tackle worsening air pollution and severe weather patterns. China is struggling to curb a smog problem in Beijing, where pollutant levels have now octupled what the World Health Organization regards as safe. The consulting group EY has published its Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) to pinpoint discussions on various countries’ efforts in the clean tech category, with some intriguing results.

VISUAL CONTEXT: RENEWABLES IN THE COMING YEAR

Source: RECAI

Source: RECAI

In its profile of the world’s entities that play a role in the renewable energy industry, it forecasts that Africa and Asia are going to surpass Europe’s prowess in renewables in the coming years. The U.K.’s and Germany’s clean tech markets are going to be challenged by the rising participation and growing clean tech advancements from Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea. The report states:

Germany’s renewables market took a battering in 2013, with September’s election prolonging discussions on how best to curb rising energy prices. Calls to reform the FIT program in February 2013 and ongoing rhetoric about “affordability” were not translated into policy statements, making developers and investors nervous and contributing to a staggering 46% fall in new investment. The overall robustness of Germany’s market has helped keep it in third place, but 2014 will determine its long-term attractiveness as the new coalition’s policy plans become clearer.

But the news is not all bad; the report focuses on the promises of emerging markets into the renewables space too. South Africa is poised to contribute greatly to the solar energy industry — a fact bolstered by a recent report from IHS. Even though South Africa’s electricity demand growth is putting pressure on its grids, the funding of renewable energy projects in the country has remained high, and they have attracted some big bidders.

Notwithstanding the challenges ahead, however, the ongoing success of the country’s flagship renewables procurement program and the growing interest of international developers and funders is a strong sign that South Africa is blazing a trail across the global renewables sector.

Of course, there are decades of work to do, but the RECAI points out that many countries with negative ratings in past years have climbed the ladder — big players like Japan, Brazil, Australia among them — to shed a promising light on the development of resources to fuel the world’s future consumption.