What is Really behind the Adoption of New Renewable Electricity Generating Technologies?
21 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2012
Date Written: October 15, 2012
A number of renewable electricity generating technologies have not reached grid-parity in terms of cost. These include solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, tidal, wave, ocean, onshore wind and offshore wind power (new renewables henceforth). It is noticeable that the share of electricity from these new renewables is globally increasing and it is also noticeable that countries' share of electricity from these new renewables differ significantly. The objective of this study is to analyze the importance of energy security, climate change mitigation and income levels in explaining these differences. The author proposes a measure of energy security depending on the role of inputs (coal and gas) in electricity generation as well as a measure of the potential of a country to mitigate climate change. Results from weighted least squares on 107 middle and high income economies show that energy security and climate change mitigation add up in the case of imported coal for electricity generation purposes resulting in a shift towards new renewables. Large economically recoverable fossil fuel reserves are found to be preventing the diffusion into wider use of the new renewables. Rich countries largely relying on coal imports to generate their electricity are those achieving the highest shares of new renewables.
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