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United Kingdom

Britain best reveals market analysis

Britain is the most attractive market for wind project developers according to a league table of national renewables markets. Favourable regulation in the UK puts it at the top of the wind league in Ernst & Young's Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, which allocates scores for markets, renewable energy infrastructure and renewable resources for 15 countries.

Joint second in the wind league are the US and Germany, with Spain in fourth place. Jonathan Johns from Ernst & Young says Britain's top ranking is a result of the large amount of unexploited wind resource, improving planning attitude and attractive tariffs under the new Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) system.

"Renewables are relatively protected from the deregulated UK market by ROCs, with renewable energy obtaining prices typically three times those for conventional energy. In addition, there are good general capital allowances," he says.

The wind league forms part of a wider renewable energy index which also measures the attractiveness of national markets for regulatory infrastructure, solar, and biomass and other technologies. These factors are weighted according to their importance with wind given the highest weighting of 47%, regulatory infrastructure 38%, solar 5% and biomass and other renewables 10%. In the all-renewables index, the US comes first, with Germany and Spain in second place and the UK fourth.

The US scores highly because of its renewables portfolio standard (RPS) legislation in more than a dozen states, vast areas of open land, and the financial incentives of its production tax credits at federal and state level. An RPS mandates a minimum standard of renewable energy.

Germany's high rating is due to its favourable feed-in tariffs for all technologies and potential for offshore wind. The UK's overall fourth position is because its high score for wind is offset by low points for solar energy. "Commercial solar power is currently too expensive to generate a positive return under the ROC system," says Johns.

Despite having most wind power per head of population, Denmark achieves relatively low scores because of its high installed base relative to grid capacity and reduced tariff incentives.

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