Policy advocacy plays a crucial role in deployment of renewable energy technologies. Be it wind, solar or geothermal, policy helps in mitigating the risks experienced when operating in the renewables sector. It helps in reducing the perils observed by the private players, through increased capital flow for R&D. However, the trouble does not end there, as organizations face significant challenges in the marketplace. Despite this, the industry has seen phenomenal growth in the last few years.
The continued growth in renewables has been driven by several factors.
- Worldwide awareness of the role of renewable energy in alleviating the greenhouse gas emissions
- Support access to energy resources
- In few developing countries, energy technologies like wind and solar are able to support decentralized, mini-grid and off-grid solutions for powering telecommunications and irrigation
- While in developed countries, one can witness the growth of “prosumers”- people who produce their own electric power through solar panels
- Further, these technologies are considered sound investments as they increase energy diversity and reduce dependence on fossils, thereby mitigating economic risks
- With constant innovation, renewables are poised to be affordable and cheap
In this regards, policymakers need to work around the industry drivers encouraging significant investments in the field. As such the policies should focus upon:
- Carbon pricing
- Fossil fuel phase-out
- Zero subsidies
- Financial incentives to support and cushion the industry from economic setbacks
- Upscaling technologies and stimulating radical innovation
- And of course large scale power generation
Feed-in Tariffs and Renewable Portfolio Standards policies are two popular tools. Particularly in Europe, RPS policies are very much practiced, be it state or provincial levels. Other options available are Green banks, tenders, net billing policies and green bonds. Additionally, transport authorities in the countries are now focusing on better integration of biofuel sector.
The policy makers in order to meet the strong energy demand, with reduced carbon emissions, need to empower the renewables industry by providing greater incentives in form of finances, technological advancements and consistent political lobbying in favor of the industry. Thus, a continued policy support for the renewable energy sector will play a progressive and immensely significant role in mitigating climate change and global energy mix for the 21st century.