Many countries worldwide have put much effort in promoting renewable energy. They have increased its proportion in energy every year by investing globally. In 2012, global subsidies for renewable energy reached $101 billion, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Total global investment in renewable power and fuels (including small hydro-electric projects) was $244 billion in 2012, more than doubled the amount since 2006 ($100 billion). Several factors explain this growing trend in renewable energy investment: the increasing price of fossil fuel, such as crude oil, the growing concerns over energy security, and an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The terrible Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 intensified the debate over renewable energy, raising the voices of renewable-energy support and thus escalating the trend. In fact, countries such as Germany and Italy decided to either close all existing nuclear reactors or significantly reduce the number of nuclear power plants originally planned. Reducing or ending reliance on nuclear power ultimately led them to diversify their energy mix, and one strategy is to increase the use of renewable energy.
In this favorable trend toward renewable energy, however, there are still disputes over whether governments should engage in promoting and incentivizing its use. Since energy policies not only are accompanied with the use of taxpayers’ money, but also play a significant role in showing the direction of future energy plan that is also associated with creating new market, conducting constant cost-benefit analysis for feasibility and efficiency check and tracking relevant technological developments are inevitable. In this paper, hence, I wil...
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...h and technological development, as it will solve the efficiency and variability issues. Such improvements, however, can only occur with the well-defined legal frameworks and strong financial support schemes.
According to the IEA, global fossil fuel direct subsides in 2012 were worth $544 billion, over five times more than those for renewable energy ($101 billion), implying that there is significant room for improvement in technological and economic barriers associated with renewable energy. Therefore, the continuing governments’ financial and political supports, including major existing policies such as feed-in tariff (FIT), tax credits, tradable green certificates, capital subsidies, and renewable portfolio standards (RPS), are essential, and those should be further enhanced in the future to promote the dissemination of renewable energy and related technologies.
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