According to Annual Renewable Energy Outlook 2013, political and financial assistance has played a major role in taking renewable energy to the heights it has achieved. These factors will continue to influence the market. The past decade has witnessed massive developments in terms of regulations and markets for renewable energy. While less than 50 countries worldwide had renewable support policies in place in the early part of the last decade, this number has now reached over 120. Investments in renewables have also risen dramatically over the past decade.
“The EU has set binding targets to source 20 percent of the bloc’s total energy consumption from renewable energy sources in 2020, and targets for individual member states range from 10 percent for Malta to 49 percent for Sweden, said Frost & Sullivan energy and environmental industry director Harald Thaler. “Climate and energy policies as well as long-term price-based incentives, such as subsidies and tax benefits, can substantially boost renewable energy penetration and innovation.”
While the sector has escaped relatively unscathed from the vagaries of the global economic downturn, it is beginning to feel the pinch now as investments begin to decline significantly. This is also a clear sign of the gradual shift in market power to emerging economies, where economic development and revised energy priorities will drive a more sustained increase in the adoption of wind, solar and biofuel generation technologies.
Urbanisation, population growth, and energy security concerns are other key drivers for the rise of renewable energy capacity in emerging regions such as Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. Developing countries also need to diversify to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and the dramatic fall in the cost of renewable energy.
“Concerted renewable energy strategies have been in place in countries such as China, India and Brazil for some time, and other emerging markets are now promoting renewables in a more systematic fashion,” added Thaler. “Among developed nations, Japan in particular is undergoing a seismic shift away from nuclear power towards a much greater focus on renewables.”