Clean Renewable Energy
Widespread use of clean renewable energy technologies (RET) is vital in securing a sustainable global energy system. Advantages of RET include:
- In contrast to conventional energy sources, the potential supply from renewables is essentially infinite and largely free of external costs.
- While clean renewable energy technologies currently still have relatively high installation costs, operating costs are low.
- In many countries, some RET are already competitive with conventional energy sources, for example biomass or biogas applications in Thailand. For most RET, costs will fall significantly below those of
conventional energy sources within the next two decades.
- Increased use of renewable energy technologies is an insurance against rising import prices of fossil fuels.
- Renewable energy technology equipment can be produced domestically. For example, China has become one of the leading manufacturers of low-temperature solar thermal applications.
The number of countries where clean renewable energy technologies have seen significant market growth is steadily increasing. However,in most countries of the world, dissemination of new renewable energy technologies is still very limited. A range of barriers – financial, economic, institutional, political and technical – impede implementation. Key barriers include energy markets that are either monopolistic and skewed by subsidies, lack of energy awareness of renewable energy technologies potential and benefits, and a lack of technical and institutional capacity and financing means. So far only a few countries have implemented clean air energy policies promoting renewable energy technologies.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, most public and private renewable energy project development companies can generate and market "certified emission reductions" from energy projects that involve renewable energy technologies that reduce carbon emissions in under developed areas of the world. The Kyoto Protocol provides financial incentives for shifting countries to less emissions-intensive economies. But while the Kyoto Protocol is able to lower some of the key barriers to renewable energy project development, especially in regard to the financial and economic aspects, it is not designed to cancel the obstacles. Adjusting these many conditions will attract more renewable energy technologies.
Addressing the barriers that discriminate
against renewable energy technologies in countries usually requires a mixture
of well-designed and mutually supportive policies. Probably the leading issue is the
economic performance of renewable energy technologies compared to the traditional energy
sources that currently dominate the world's energy demand.There are two main approaches to addressing this central
problem for developing renewable energy policies and technologies:
1. Bringing down the cost of renewable energy technologies and their related energy services
2. Abolishing market distortions that discriminate against the technologies
Measures to address specific economic barriers include
priority setting at project level by host countries, development
of a suitable legal frameworks. This is not to
say that Industrialised countries and the private
sector cannot provide assistance such as building capacity
and provding financing. But leading industrialized nations should provide international assistance to attract investment in renewable energy technologies.