Blog Archives and Partner Posts

From late 2011 to through late 2013, Solutions Center blog posts — by our policy experts and others — provided insights on energy policy developments around the world.

thumbnail figure of installed capacity in 2050

Achieving a High Renewable Electricity Future: As deployment of renewable sources of electricity gains traction, technical, economic, social, and environmental questions arise about renewable electricity’s role and integration in power systems and the wider energy sector.

Re-considering the Economics of Photovoltaic Power: In an upcoming paper in the journal Renewable Energy, the authors of this post examine the rapidly changing market for photovoltaics.

Smart Grids: The Regulatory Framework Is Still Not In Place: Smart grids are seen by many as an effective solution to address some of the toughest challenges the electricity industry has faced so far; the integration of renewables on a very large scale, the promised rise in number of electric vehicles, the necessity of energy efficiency, the improved security of supply or the arrival of the ‘prosumer'. Equipment manufacturers and IT solution providers are eagerly awaiting the hundreds of billions of euros to be invested over the next decades. In this article, we advocate that smart grid technologies have the potential to transform the electricity markets given they are for the most part readily available, but, the correct regulatory framework first needs to be put in place. Failure to recognise the need for a regulatory overhaul can only hamper and delay the deployment of smart grids and their expected benefits.

Smart and Just Grids: Options for Sub-Saharan Africa: In 2009, an estimated 585 million people had no access to electricity services in sub-Saharan Africa. Unlike many other regions of the world, under current assumptions, that figure is expected to rise significantly by 2030 to about 652 million—an unsustainable and unacceptable situation (IEA, WEO, 2010). While national governments and regional organisations have identified the urgent need for accelerated electrification rates, responding to this need will require innovative and effective energy policies. The way future power systems are planned, designed, constructed, financed and operated will have a significant impact on how effectively these aspirations are delivered.

thumbnail figure of installed capacity in 2050Contextualizing Electricity Access in Sub-Saharan Africa: The populations of sub-Saharan African countries have the least access to modern electricity services compared to emerging countries from other regions. Yet Africa’s long-term economic growth and competitiveness fundamentally depends on reliable access to energy services.

Return on Investment from Industrial Energy Efficiency: Evidence from Developing Countries: Energy efficiency (EE) is a foundational aspect of any good energy policy. The economic, security, and environmental benefits of EE have been recognized for decades. This post briefly considers the economic rationale for industry to invest in EE and presents results from financial analysis of 119 projects that were surveyed across nine manufacturing sub-sectors. While a large body of EE investment-related literature exists, the empirical results presented in this post focus on developing countries.

thumbnail figure of installed capacity in 2050Open Source Software and Crowdsourcing for Energy Analysis: In an article in Energy Policy, the authors discuss issues around refining and augmenting energy planning model through innovative new tools and methods. This short blog draws from that piece.

The Rooftop PV Revolution and its Implications: This post was prompted by the recent release of a Rooftop PV Information Paper by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). Part of AMEO’s charter is to deliver electricity planning advice in eastern and south-eastern Australia. Up to now rooftop PV generation was not included in their demand forecasts due to its small contribution (not “observable”).

The Effectiveness of Policy Instruments in Facilitating the Implementation of Renewable Energy Systems: This blog was prompted by recent evaluations in Australia of the efficacy of various policy instruments targeted at the promotion of low emission technology implementation. Lessons learned from these evaluations may be useful to other countries and governments exploring and developing the most cost effective ways to achieve emission and renewable energy implementation goals.

thumbnail figure of installed capacity in 2050Policy Impacts on Biofuels Development: Implementation of biofuels polices is complex due to diversity of interests and concerns. Countries around the world are utilizing different approaches to policy design, but with common goals of supporting biofuels development and economic growth, protecting the environment, and increasing energy security. This post examines several different approaches to policy design and the current state of biofuels production.

Examining the Origins and Content of Australia's Carbon Tax Policy: The Australian Government is enacting a tax that is designed to reduce an environmental harm while the proceeds fund a social good.

Reforming the CDM to Expand Emissions Reduction: The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that emerged as part of the Kyoto Protocol has generated both praise and criticism for its ability to reduce carbon emissions. Efforts to expand upon the CDM may come in the form of nationally appropriate mitigation action (NAMA) plans that are expected to comprise a key element in any future international climate protection regime. Combining NAMAs and CDM has the potential to deliver cost-effective emissions reduction with a measurable commitment from developed and developing countries.

World's First Renewable Heat Incentive Launched: The UK launched the world's first renewable heat incentive scheme in November 2011. Similar to the way a feed-in tariff rewards generators of electricity, the heat incentive scheme rewards generators of heat from biomass technologies, heat pumps, solar thermal systems and biomethane.

From REFIT to REBID: South Africa's Renewable Energy Auctions: The pressing demand for new electricity generation capacity and over-demand on the existing network prompted the government to throw its support behind developing renewable energy sources.

Feed-in Tariff Key to Philippines’ Renewable Energy Development: In early 2012, electricity consumers on Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines archipelago, experienced daily power curtailments of between 30 and 90 minutes. Peak demand on Mindanao is 1,261 MW; however there is only 1,112 MW of power available.

Pakistan Looks to Wind Power in a Crisis: With electricity demand doubling every ten years, Pakistan is suffering from major power shortages. To encourage new sources of energy, Pakistan’s national electric power regulatory authority has proposed a feed-in tariff for wind power projects of nearly 15 U.S. cents per kWh. The tariff will run for 20 years and be limited to projects of 5 MW to 250 MW that close before the end of 2012.

Orchestrated Support Delivers Indian Solar Boom: India set an ambitious renewable energy goal of adding 12.4 GW capacity between 2007 and 2012, and is now poised to exceed that goal by 1.8 GW according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Biogas: Clean Energy with Health Benefits Lagos, Nigeria faces major waste problems. With 8 million inhabitants and millions more in the surrounding area, Lagos is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Population density is around 4,200 people per square kilometer. This surging population produces 9,000 tonnes of waste daily. Now, a Nigerian entrepreneur’s innovative approach promises a clean energy solution.

Energy without the Backache: One person can carry enough fuel to cook for their entire family and to light their house for a day in a virtually weightless backpack. In areas where there is little firewood or other fuel, dung collection is a major part of people’s daily routine. Some households operate their own biogas facilities, but this requires three conditions: access to capital, four cattle to produce sufficient dung, and access to large quantities of water.

UK Cuts Feed-in Tariffs to Prevent Boom: As the costs of solar panels and installation fall, governments across Europe are revising their solar feed-in tariffs (FITs) that helped to stimulate the market in its nascent stage. Germany established a system of long-term and predictable tariff reductions; the United Kingdom (UK) plans to take the opposite approach.

Project Helios: Revitalizing the Greek Economy with Solar Power: Project Helios, a plan to construct 2.2 (gigawatts) GW of PV systems in Greece by 2020 and 10 GW by 2050, embodies hopes for a win-win solution to Greece’s financial crisis and Germany’s goals for solar expansion. The electricity generated by Helios installations will be transmitted to Greece’s northern creditors – mainly Germany – as payment towards the country’s debts.

Home Solar Systems Provide Appealing Solution to Increasing Electricity Demand: Demand for electricity is growing in Bangladesh, but geographic barriers and the lack of economic influence in poor, rural areas have inhibited the government’s efforts to expand the electricity grid. Currently, 45% of the population has access to electricity from the grid.

Senegal Program Converts Animal Waste to Fuel and Fertilizer: In Senegal, the government's Programme National de Biogaz Domestique (PNBD) is helping households install and use biodigesters to convert animal manure into low-emissions fuel for cooking and lighting, and a safe, organic fertilizer.

Feed-in Tariff Cost Containment: A Summary of Three Primary Policy Mechanisms: Feed-in tariffs are the most widely used renewable energy policy worldwide, beating out renewable portfolio standards and other quota systems, according to the REN 21 Renewables 2011 Global Status Report.

Accelerating the Global Transition to Clean Energy: In this post, which originally appeared on the Climate and Development Knowledge Network website, Emily Miller from the Solutions Center explains how the Center works with governments to turn clean energy visions into action.