Renewable Energy Sources: Comparison of Their Use and Respective Policies on a Global Scale

Renewable Energy Sources: Comparison of Their Use and Respective Policies on a Global Scale

Mahmure Övül Arıoğlu Akan (Marmara University, Turkey), Ayşe Ayçim Selam (Marmara University, Turkey) and Seniye Ümit Oktay Fırat (Marmara University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0440-5.ch011
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Sustainability concerns resulting from the consumption of natural resources, life-threatening levels of pollution, global warming, climate change and the ever-increasing worldwide energy use have brought renewable energy sources to forefront. Given the possibility of depletion of fossil fuels in the near future, the utilization of clean and renewable energy sources have become inevitable. Consequently, governments and global organizations adopted respective regulations to ensure the production and use of renewable energy and promote the respective new investments. In the light of these developments, the aim of this study is to conduct a detailed review and evaluation on the current literature and global energy statistics. The respective projects, binding regulations, incentives, and pricing mechanisms have also been studied to analyze and compare the renewable energy policies adopted worldwide. Ultimately, the goal is to make certain suggestions and lay out possible solutions regarding global energy problems.
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Renewables excluding large hydro accounted for 9.1% of world electricity generation in 2014, up from 8.5% in 2013 with a corresponding increase of 17% in global investment ($270.2 billion invested in 2014 in renewable power and fuels excluding large hydro-electric projects) (Frankfurt School-UNEP Centre/BNEF, 2015). The reason behind this is the concern for sustainability resulting from factors including but not limited to the depletion of natural resources, life-threatening levels of pollution, global warming, climate change and the ever-increasing worldwide energy consumption (Komor & Bazilian, 2005; Apergis & Payne, 2010). The effective utilization of renewable energy is critical across the world, where 1.3 billion people still do not have access to modern sources of energy (WEF, 2013). Societies have much to gain from the effective use of renewable energy with certain issues to consider while making this happen (see Table 1).

Table 1.
Advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy
Provides low operating and maintaining costsHigh up-front investment
Provides long life periodEntails long-term planning
Service cost is lowEntails long-term agreements
Reliable sourceEntails multidisciplinary involvement
Induces technology developmentCould involve resettlement
Fosters regional developmentEntails new legal codes
Provides efficient energy production and safetyExcessive competition
Generates revenue and tax
Creates new employment opportunities
Protects environment and saves environmental protection costs
Enhances living conditions
It is waste-free
Improves air quality
Preserves ecosystems
Helps slow down climate change

Gökmen & Temiz, 2015.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Feed-in Premium: A type of feed-in policy, where producers of electricity from renewable sources sell electricity at market prices, and a premium is added to the market price to compensate for higher costs and thus to mitigate financial risks of renewables production.

Renewable Energy Target: An official commitment, plan, or goal set by a government (at the local, state, national, or regional level) to achieve a certain amount of renewable energy by a future date.

Capital Subsidy: A subsidy that covers a share of the upfront capital cost of an asset (such as a solar water heater).

Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS): An obligation placed by a government on a utility company, group of companies, or consumers to provide or use a predetermined minimum renewable share of installed capacity, or of electricity or heat generated or sold. 8

Renewable Energy Certificate (REC): A certificate awarded to certify the generation of one unit of renewable energy (typically 1 MWh of electricity but also less commonly of heat).

Investment Tax Credit: A taxation measure that allows investments in renewable energy to be fully or partially deducted from the tax obligations or income of a project developer, industry, building owner, etc.

Mandate/Obligation: A measure that requires designated parties (consumers, suppliers, generators) to meet a minimum, and often gradually increasing, target for renewable energy, such as a percentage of total supply or a stated amount of capacity.

Production Tax Credit: A taxation measure that provides the investor or owner of a qualifying property or facility with an annual tax credit based on the amount of renewable energy (electricity, heat, or biofuel) generated by that facility.

Feed-in Tariff: The basic form of feed-in policies, where a minimum price (tariff) per unit (normally kWh or MWh) is guaranteed over a stated fixed-term period when electricity can be sold and fed into the electricity network, normally with priority or guaranteed grid access and dispatch.

Net Metering: A regulated arrangement in which utility customers who have installed their own generating systems pay only for the net electricity delivered from the utility (total consumption minus on-site self-generation).

Fiscal Incentive: An economic incentive that provides individuals, households, or companies with a reduction in their contribution to the public treasury via income or other taxes, or with direct payments from the public treasury in the form of rebates or grants.

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