The U.S. is the most attractive market worldwide for renewable investment, according to a pair of reports released by EY consulting: The Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) and the Power & Utilities Transactions and Trends Q1 report.
The ranking is partially driven by what EY calls “a new era of energy policy,” referring to the country’s re-acceptance of the Paris Climate Agreement, coupled with the recent announcement to cut greenhouse gas emission levels 50-52% by 2030 and to achieve 100% carbon free power by 2035.
Not only will these policy drivers lead to increased investment interest in the U.S., but the RECAI shows that current renewables spending is vastly short of what’s needed to meet Paris Agreement standards. That means institutional investors will have a magnified role in the energy transition, highlighting the maturation needed by the industry to keep building momentum.
The U.S. saw $12.6 billion in renewable investments during the first quarter, a 19.1% increase compared to Q4 2020. The figure also marks the highest level of investment in the first quarter of a year over the past three years.
Across the Americas, the $17.9 billion total deal value notched in Q1 represents a threefold year-over-year increase from Q1 2020. There were five multibillion-dollar deals in Q1 2021, with a combined value of around $12.4 billion. The deal value in the region during Q1 2021 was driven by integrated assets ($6.8 billion) and generation ($4.2 billion).
During the quarter, the largest deal came when PPL Corp. sold off its UK business to National Grid for $19.8 billion, and acquired Narragansett Electric Co. in exchange. This repositioning, according to EY, will transform PPL into a high-growth, purely U.S.-focused company with a strong balance sheet.
Another deal highlighted by the report was EDP Renewables North America acquiring an 85% stake in C2 Energy Capital to expand its presence in the distributed generation market.