international energy policy
At present, renewable energy generators have to compete with old nuclear and fossil fuel power stations which produce electricity at marginal costs because consumers and taxpayers have already paid the interest and depreciation on the original investments. Political action is needed to overcome these distortions and create a level playing field for renewable energy technologies to compete.
At a time when governments around the world are in the process of liberalising their electricity markets, the increasing competitiveness of renewable energy should lead to higher demand. Without political support, however, renewable energy remains at a disadvantage, marginalised by distortions in the world’s electricity markets created by decades of massive financial, political and structural support to conventional technologies. Developing renewables will therefore require strong political and economic efforts, especially through laws that guarantee stable tariffs over a period of up to 20 years. Renewable energy will also contribute to sustainable economic growth, high quality jobs, technology development, global competitiveness and industrial and research leadership.
renewable energy targets
In recent years, in order to reduce greenhouse emissions as well as increase energy security, a growing number of countries have established targets for renewable energy. These are either expressed in terms of installed capacity or as a percentage of energy consumption. These targets have served as important catalysts for increasing the share of renewable energy throughout the world.
A time period of just a few years is not long enough in the electricity sector, however, where the investment horizon can be up to 40 years. Renewable energy targets therefore need to have short, medium and long term steps and must be legally binding in order to be effective. They should also be supported by mechanisms such as feed-in tariffs for renewable electricity generation. In order for the proportion of renewable energy to increase significantly, targets must be set in accordance with the local potential for each technology (wind, solar, biomass etc) and be complemented by policies that develop the skills and manufacturing bases to deliver the agreed quantity of renewable energy.
In recent years the wind and solar power industries have shown that it is possible to maintain a growth rate of 30 to 35% in the renewables sector. In conjunction with the European Photovoltaic Industry Association1, the European Solar Thermal Power Industry Association2 and the Global Wind Energy Council3, the European Renewable Energy Council and Greenpeace have documented the development of those industries from 1990 onwards and outlined a prognosis for growth up to 2020 and 2040.
demands for the energy sector
Greenpeace and the renewables industry have a clear agenda for the policy changes which need to be made to encourage a shift to renewable sources. The main demands are:
1.Phase out all subsidies and other measures that encourage inefficient energy use and support fossil fuel use and nuclear power production.
2. Set stringent and ever-improving efficiency and emissions standards for appliances, buildings, power plants and vehicles.
3. Establish legally defined targets for renewable energy and combined heat and power generation.
4. Reform of the electricity market to allow better integration of renewable energy technologies on the market.
5. Provide stable return for investors through fixed price mechanisms for renewable energy.
6.Develop and implement market transformation policies that overcome current barriers and other market failures to reduce energy demand.
7. Support innovation in energy efficiency, low-carbon transport systems, and renewable energy production.
Conventional energy sources receive an estimated $250-300 billion4 in subsidies per year worldwide, resulting in heavily distorted markets. Subsidies artificially reduce the price of power, keep renewable energy out of the market place and prop up non-competitive technologies and fuels. Eliminating direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear power would help move us towards a level playing field across the energy sector. Renewable energy would not need special provisions if markets factored in the cost of climate damage from greenhouse gas pollution. Subsidies to polluting technologies are perverse in that they are economically as well as environmentally detrimental. Removing subsidies from conventional electricity would not only save taxpayers’ money. It would also dramatically reduce the need for renewable energy support.
chile energy policy
Chile has great potential with regards to Non-Conventional Renewable Energies (NCRE)5. Northern Chile has a great solar potential given its location. On the other hand, in Central and Southern Chile the development of wind energy has had investment, but is still in the early stages of development. As for the generation of tidal energy, Chile has an extraordinary opportunity. Studies estimate there is the potential to generate 164,000 MW of electricity. On the other hand the energy from biomass is also presented as a great alternative, given the availability Chilean forestry. It should be noted that 17% of the energy matrix comes from wood. The electricity market is made up by production, transmission and distribution of the electric supply. These activities are developed by privately owned companies. The State only has the power to regulate, oversee and provide indicative planning on investments in production and transmission in the form of recommendations (Comisión Nacional de Energía6). The main State body that regulates the power industry in Chile is the Comisión Nacional de Energía (CNE for its abbreviation in Spanish), It is in charge of creating and coordinating plans, policies and regulations needed for national energy planning. It does this by advising all Government bodies on all energy related subjects.