Promoting renewable energy: Lessons learned from 20 years of experimentation

Reinhard Haas, Niels I Meyer, Anne Held, Dominique Finon, Ryan Wiser, Ken-Ishiro Nishio

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


    Currently, the promotion of electricity generated from Renewable Energy Sources (RES-E) has gained high priority in the energy policy strategies of many countries world-wide. Since RES-E contribute to climate protection and security of electricity supply their market deployment has been supported since the first oil price shock in 1973. A wide range of strategies has been implemented during this time in different countries to increase the share of RES-E. However, historic development of electricity generated from RES-E was characterised by large differences between the countries due to national policies. The core objective of this chapter is to summarize and evaluate the lessons learned to identify the most successful policy examples applied in the last 20 years. Recommendations for the design of future renewable energy policies are deduced, in particular with regard to the harmonisation of European renewable legislation. The most important conclusions of this analysis are: (i) regardless of which strategy is chosen, it is of superior relevance that there is a clear focus on the promotion of newly installed plants; (ii) currently, a well-designed (dynamic) feed-in tariff system provides the fastest deployment of power plants using RES-E at the lowest cost to society; (iii) promotion strategies with low policy risks have lower profit requirements for investors and, hence, cause lower costs to society. The world-wide experience in promoting RES-E has shown that the “one size fits all” approach can not work and it is necessary to adapt the instruments and the policies to each national case, taking into account the overall regulation of the energy sector, the attitude towards market rules and the historical approach to RES-E.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCompetitive Electricity Markets : Design, Implementation, Performance
    EditorsFeridoon P. Sioshansi
    VolumeChapter 12
    Publication date2008
    ISBN (Print)978-0-08-047172-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • renewable energy, sustainable energy development, electricity supply


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