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GSR 2015

18 AN EVOLVING POLICY LANDSCAPE Renewableenergydevelopmentsin2014continuedtobeshaped largely by government policy. Renewables faced challenges in some countries resulting from policy changes or uncertainties, such as the imposition of new taxes on renewable generation in Europe and the expiration of the US federal production tax credit. However, the number of countries with renewable energy targets and policies increased again in 2014, and several jurisdictions made their existing targets more ambitious—including a rising number with 100% renewable energy or electricity targets. As of early 2015, at least 164 countries had renewable energy targets, and an estimated 145 countries had renewable energy support policies in place. Policymakers continued to focus on adapting existing policies to keep pace with rapidly changing costs and circumstances. Recent trends include merging of components from different policy mechanisms; a growing linkage of support between the electricity, heat, and transport sectors; and development of innovative mechanisms to integrate rising shares of renewables into the energy mix. RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICIES FOR ELECTRICITY Combined policies to accompany structural changes Policymakers have focused predominantly on the power sector, a trend that has shaped the current landscape. Feed-in and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) policies remain the most commonly used support mechanisms. Feed-in policies have been enacted in 108 jurisdictions at the national or state/ provincial level. Egypt was the only country to add a new national FIT, with policymakers—particularly in Europe—continuing the recent trend of amending existing policies. RPS policies are most popular at the state and provincial levels; they are in place in at least 26 countries at the national level and in 72 states/ provinces. However, existing RPS policies continued to face opposition in several US States. Tendering has been utilised increasingly around the world; at least 60 countries had held renewable energy tenders as of early 2015. Net metering or net billing policies are in force in 48 countries, and some form of financial support for renewables is in place in an estimated 126 countries. Traditional mechanisms also are being used to increase energy storage capacity and to modernise grid infrastructure. In addition to traditional support mechanisms, green banks and green bonds represent innovative options that are gaining support from policymakers. Despite the growing prominence of renewable energy support policies for power generation globally, however, charges or fees on renewable energy have been introduced in an increasing number of countries. RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICIES FOR HEATING AND COOLING Less-prevalent than policies for renewable power Policies for renewable heating and cooling are slowly gaining attention from national policymakers. An estimated 45 countries worldwide had targets for renewable heating or cooling in place by early 2015. Financial incentives continued to be the most widely enacted form of policy support for renewable heating and cooling systems, with several schemes reintroduced and existing programmes strengthened. Other policy tools include solar-specific renewable heat mandates, which were in place in 11 countries at the national or state/provincial level, and technology-neutral mandates, which were in place in an additional 10 countries by early 2015. RENEWABLE ENERGY TRANSPORT POLICIES Renewable transport is on the move The majority of transport-related policies continued to focus on the biofuel sector and on road transport, although other modes of transportation also are attracting attention. Policies promoting the linkage between electric vehicles and renewable energy have received little focus to date. As of early 2015, biofuel blend mandates were in place in 33 countries, with 31 national mandates and 26 state/provincial mandates. A number of countries strengthened existing blend mandates in 2014; however, the debate over the sustainability of first-generation biofuels continued. CITY AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICIES Local municipalities take the lead Cities continued to lead the way, setting and achieving ambitious targets and helping to drive the trends of national and regional governments. By early 2015, several jurisdictions had 100% renewable energy or electricity targets in place, with the vast majority of targets at the city/local level. Many municipalities already have achieved such targets. To reach their goals, policymakers in cities around the world continued a growing trend of mandating the use of renewable power generation and renewable heat technologies through building codes. Development of district systems has emerged as an important measure to facilitate the scale-up of renewable energy for heating and cooling. Public-private partnerships are being used increasingly to advance renewable energy deployment, and thousands of US and European municipalities have created community power systems. Policymakers also continued to use their purchasing authority to support local deployment of renewable energy in all economic sectors, including integrating biofuel and electric vehicles into public transportation fleets and developing related support infrastructure.

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