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China enters top five for investors

Outstanding growth rates for wind power in China have propelled the country into the top five most attractive countries in the world for renewable energy investments. The Chinese government's energy policy pushes the country into joint fourth place with Spain in the latest renewable energy country attractiveness index by Ernst & Young's (E&Y), covering the first and second quarters of 2008. The Chinese government's target is for 15% of energy to come from non-carbon sources by 2020.

For long term wind investments, China moves to third place from fourth in the previous index for the last quarter of 2007; for near term wind investments, it moves up an impressive four places from eighth to fourth. China achieved its first 5 GW of wind three years ahead of schedule and the government is setting new targets. "China's stellar growth in renewables can also be attributed to the speed at which it has built up its supply chain capability, to the point where it is likely to have nine gigawatts of manufacturing capacity in a few years," adds E&Y's Jonathan Johns. "China is also likely to become a significant exporter of wind turbine equipment." But E&Y places question marks over accessibility and the grid system in some remote areas, "and also the closed nature of the market which tempers our long term view," it states.

China's strong showing comes at the expense of the UK, which drops from fourth to sixth place in the all-renewables index and from second to fifth in the long term index. The fall is blamed on delays in passing Britain's Energy Bill and the government's decision to conduct yet another long winded public consultation into its future renewable energy strategy, Johns comments.

The US still retains the top slot in the all-renewables and wind indices, despite the failure of Congress to extend wind power's federal production tax credit (PTC) past 2008 (page 54). Germany makes an improved showing, climbing up to second place in all the indices after raising the guaranteed prices paid for onshore and offshore wind from 2009 (Windpower Monthly, July 2008).

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