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China widens renewables lead over US in Ernst & Young ranking

China widened its lead over the US in a renewable energy ranking compiled by consultant Ernst & Young that gauges the attractiveness to investors of wind and solar power projects in those countries.

The US, weighed down by “uncertainty over the country’s long-term renewable energy strategy,” dropped 1.5 points to 66 in the quarterly renewables “attractiveness index,” E&Y said today in an e-mailed report. That pushed it into a tie for second with Germany, trailing China’s score of 70.2.

“The upcoming elections have led to an understandable slowdown in the decision-making process in the US,” Ernst & Young Global Cleantech Leader Gil Forer said. “Germany is pushing ahead with its ambitious renewable energy agenda.”

US wind power project developers face the expiration at the end of the year of a tax credit benefiting the industry. Americans vote in presidential elections in November and Congress has dragged its heels over renewing the incentive.

China dropped 0.2 points from the last report in May. While the government has cut incentives to solar projects, it also raised its target for solar installations to 21 gigawatts by 2015 and 50 gigawatts by 2020, up from 15 gigawatts and 20 gigawatts, E&Y said. Wind power has been curtailed by problems in gaining access to the grid in China, according to the report.

India placed fourth, the UK fifth, France and Italy tied for sixth, and Canada, Japan and Brazil rounded out the top 10. E&Y’s assessment criteria include regulations and planning barriers, as well as access to capital, land and power grids.

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