By Isabella Kaminski

Ernst & Young’s latest global Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices show that 2010 was a good year for offshore wind energy, with new capacity growth of 51%.

The solar sector, particularly concentrated solar power (CSP), grew strongly while biomass investment remained similar to 2009 levels. However, onshore wind was down 7% globally, with a 14% fall in Europe.

China is still the leader of the global renewable market and its wind and solar markets have continued to grow; total installed wind capacity grew 64% last year to over 42 GW. China's closest competitor, the US, installed 5.1 GW of wind power, barely half of the 2009 level and less than a third of China's 16.5 GW in 2010.

Across Europe, the report shows a varied picture with tightening government budgets, falling technology costs and booming solar markets in some areas. According to Ernst & Young, Turkey has risen in the indices following an approval to a new energy law which introduced more favourable feed-in tariffs, differentiated by technology.

Gil Forer, Ernst & Young's Global Cleantech Leader, says: "We will continue to see progress in development, deployment and adoption of renewable energy. The global transformation to a resource efficient and low carbon economy is a long journey and we expect to have challenges along the way, at local or regional levels. But the global drivers of this transformation, including imbalance of supply and demand of natural resources, energy security and energy prices, are solid."