World Wildlife Fund

Challenges in scaling implementation of renewable energy must be addressed if the target of 100 percent sustainable renewables by 2050 is to be achieved, according to a new World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report.

In the report, challenges inhibiting scaling up implementation in seven countries—China, India, Germany, Morocco, Philippines, South Africa and Spain—are identified.

The report highlights key findings and understanding of what factors are required in order to reach renewable energy targets at the national level based on lessons learned from experience in renewable energy policy from the seven countries.

WWF Global Climate & Energy Initiative leader Samantha Smith says while setting targets represents a clear commitment to renewable energy, simply setting these targets is not enough.

“The real job is to create an enabling environment, including money, ensuring access for the poor, infrastructure and capacity building. This is what will ensure these targets are achieved,” says Smith.

The report shows the challenges to be:

  • Balancing policy flexibility and stability
  • Implementing policies that promote cost competitiveness
  • Identifying appropriate funding and investment security frameworks
  • Transparency and accountability of decisions
  • Achieving wide-scale political and social acceptance
  • Mapping institutional and stakeholders discrepancies and diverging interests 
  • Overcoming infrastructural lock-in to conventional energy sources
  • Policy reliability with long-term planning
  • Sufficient human capacity building

“Financing is a particularly significant challenge and the WWF’s global campaign Seize Your Power! launched earlier this month urges governments and financial institutions worldwide to increase investment in renewable energy,” says Smith.

The Kuyasa CDM Pilot Project involves the retrofitting of solar water heater, insulated ceilings and energy efficient lighting in over 2,300 low-cost homes in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo credit: WWF/WRI report

WWF Global Energy Policy Director Dr. Stephan Singer says scaling the implementation of renewable energy is possible “if countries avoid the mistakes and learn from successes” of countries which have pioneered implementation.

“Today, 138 countries worldwide have introduced renewable energy targets, mostly to be met by 2020. But renewable energy targets, important as they are, function only as icing on the cake,” says Dr. Singer. 

“Local and national participation by stakeholders, sound national technology assessments, schemes to provide affordable and clean energy to the poor, financing the needed cost of capital and infrastructure, grid integration, monitoring success and bottlenecks as well as a good compliance system are all crucial parts of a sound implementation plan to make renewables the key energy supply source in the few decades ahead,” he added.

“Case studies in the report show that in order for renewable energy targets to be implemented successfully, it is not only a question of financing and technology but of good governance. It’s about ensuring transparency and public participation in energy planning, effective policy design and investments in human know-how and capacity,” says Athena Ballesteros, project manager of International Financial Flows and Environment Project of the World Resources Institute, which collaborated with the WWF to compile the report. 

The report provides clear evidence of what factors are required in order to reach renewable energy targets at the national level. “If addressed appropriately and consistently, these barriers can become opportunities for creating fundamental and solid conditions for successful RE [renewable energy] implementation,” says Dr Singer.

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLE ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.

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