04 Policy Landscape

Renewable energy technologies continue to receive significant attention from policymakers around the world. The number of countries with policies to promote the development and deployment of these technologies increased yet again in 2013.

Policymakers have turned to renewable energy to achieve a number of goals. The primary objective is generally to maintain or expand energy services. Other social, political, and economic objectives may include reducing health and environmental impacts of energy use, including greenhouse gas emissions, and enhancing energy access and security, as well as secondary benefits such as improving opportunities for education, job creation, rural economic development, poverty reduction, and gender equality.

By early 2014, renewable energy support policies were in place at the national or state/provincial level in 138 countries, up from the 127 countries reported in GSR 2013.1 (See Table 3 and Figures 26 and 27.) As in recent years, however, the pace of policy adoption was again slow in 2013 relative to the early-to-mid 2000s; the slowing rate of adoption is due partially to the fact that so many countries have enacted renewable energy support policies already. While the early expansion of policies was driven by developed countries, many of which now have several policy measures in place, developing and emerging economies have led the expansion in recent years, accounting for 95 of the countries with renewable support policies in place by early 2014, up from an estimated 15 in 2005.i 2 (See Figures 29 and 30.)

In 2013, there was an increasing focus on revisions to existing policies—including retroactive changes. Some adjustments were made to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of supporting policies, while others were aimed to curtail further growth of renewables for a variety of reasons. Particularly in Europe, decisions were taken in several countries to reduce support in the electricity sector. At the same time, however, policies are being further developed and differentiated, moving towards convergence of features across the different types of policy mechanisms. For example, technology-specific support has been introduced into certificate trading and quota systems that were originally technology-neutral, and feed-in policies have been moving from fixed minimum payments to premiums paid on top of a market price.

In many countries, policymakers have continued to adapt legislation to respond to changing circumstances. Some countries have adjusted policies in response to rapidly evolving domestic and international market conditions, including declining technology costs and perceived unfair trade practices. Others have revised policies to address continuingly tight national budgets or shifting public opinion, which in some instances has blamed renewables for increases in energy prices. Some countries are also providing guidance by enacting policies to advance or manage the integration of high shares of renewable electricity in existing power systems. For the first time, this section of the report presents a brief overview of these policies.

The section aims to give a picture of new policy developments at the national, state/provincial, and local levels, and does not attempt to assess or analyse the effectiveness of specific policies or policy mechanisms.

1 This section is intended to be only indicative of the overall landscape of policy activity and is not a definitive reference. Policies listed are generally those that have been enacted by legislative bodies. Some of the policies listed may not yet be mplemented, or are awaiting detailed implementing regulations. It is obviously difficult to capture every policy, so some policies may be unintentionally omitted or incorrectly listed. Some policies also may be discontinued orvery recently enacted. This report does not cover policies and activities related to technology transfer, capacity building, carbon finance, and Clean Development Mechanism projects, nor does it highlight broader framework and strategic policies—all of which are still important to renewable energy progress. For the most part, this report also does not cover policies that are still under discussion or formulation, except to highlight overall trends. Information on policies comes from a wide variety of sources, including the International Energy Agency (IEA) and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Global Renewable Energy Policies and Measures Database, the U.S. Database of State Incentivesfor Renewables& Efficiency (DSIRE), RenewableEnergyWorld.com, press reports, submissions from REN21 regional-and country-specific contributors, and a wide range of unpublished data. Much of the information presented here and further details on specific countries appear on the "Renewables Interactive Map" atwww.ren21.net. It is unrealistic to be able to provide detailed references to all sources here.Table 3 is based on idem and numerous sources cited throughout this section.Figures 26 and 27 are from idem and from Renewable Energy Policy Network forthe 21st Century (REN21), Renewables 2005 Global Status Report (Washington, DC: WorldWatch Institute, 2005), and REN21, Renewables Global Status Report 2006 Update (Paris: REN21 Secre tariat and Washington, DC: WorldWatch Institute, 2006).

2 REN21, Renewables 2005..., op. cit. note 1.Figures 29 and 30 based on past editions of the GSR and all sources listed in Endnote 1.