Canada hangs on to top 10 for renewable energy investment: Ernst & Young

Provincial cooperation on the rise in hopes of achieving a single market to enhance competitiveness

TORONTO, April 5 /CNW/ - Canada maintains ninth position out of 29 countries measured for their renewable energy infrastructure investment attractiveness in Ernst & Young's latest Renewable energy country attractiveness indices.

"Although new investment in clean energy reached unprecedented levels in 2010, climbing 30% to US$243 billion, our indices tell us that some countries and technologies are still finding economic conditions deeply challenging, leaving the global market in an overall state of flux," said Stephen Lewis, leader of Ernst & Young's Renewable Energy Advisory practice in Canada.

Our indices confirm that China has remained the most attractive market for renewable energy infrastructure; however, some concerns exist over whether its rapid growth rate can be sustained. These challenges are likely to increase competition for Canadian businesses as, notably in the wind sector, the current supply chain is mainly domestically focused. A slowdown in this market could force some suppliers to seek international alternatives to maintain growth.

The United States approved a one-year extension of the US Treasury grant scheme, providing respite to the US renewable energy market and increasing near-term stability across North American renewable energy markets, allowing Canadian businesses greater certainty over near-term export opportunities.

The top 10 all renewables index as of February 2010 includes the following countries:

1) China 71 6) Italy  62
2) US 67 7) France  58
3) Germany          63                   8) Spain  55
4) India 63 9) Canada  54
5) UK 62 10) Portugal          52

Here in Canada, a CDN$6.2 billion deal between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador to develop transmission assets from the 824-megawatt Muskrat Falls hydroelectric power facility showcases how unity between provinces is developing, with hopes that increased market co-operation or even a single market could develop.

In Ontario, the renewable energy market continues to grow, with new contract offers from the Ontario Power Authority and a number of projects passing the notice-to-proceed stage.

Canada's wind power sector continues to attract finance, with the Glen Dhu wind farm in Nova Scotia and the Mont Louis wind farm in Quebec reaching financial close in 2010.

The merger between Magma Energy Corp. and Plutonic Power Corporation to create Alterra Power Corp. creates a geothermal and onshore wind development company, reducing market risk for each individual business unit while allowing leverage of synergistic project development skills.

Ernst & Young's country attractiveness indices provide scores for national renewable energy markets, renewable energy infrastructures and their suitability for individual technologies. The indices provide scores out of 100 and are updated on a regular basis.

About Ernst & Young
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