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GSR 2015

24 Government support policies and increased cost- competitiveness, particularly for electricity generated from wind and solar photovoltaics (PV), have driven recent renewable energy development, resulting in changing market conditions for deployment. Future policies need to respond to emerging opportunities and challenges by addressing new developments, including: the spread of renewable energy deployment to new countries,particularlyinthedevelopingworld;theneedtoimprove existing energy infrastructure and markets in order to integrate high shares of renewable power; and the increasing electrification of non-power sectors (i.e., heating, cooling, and transport). As the Renewables Global Status Report documents, renewables play an increasingly central role in the provision of energy services to people globally. The challenge now is to develop the necessary policy frameworks to drive the renewable energy transition to achieve sustainable and universal energy access for all. DEVELOP STABLE AND PREDICTABLE POLICIES THAT CAN ADAPT TO A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT Stability and predictability of policy frameworks are required to underpin sustained deployment of renewable energy. The renewable energy industry needs predictability in order to attract investment, build up production capacity, develop new technologies, and expand the number of sustainable jobs. However, policies also need to have a degree of flexibility so that they can accommodate upcoming market developments and avoid unnecessary public spending. It is essential to avoid abrupt changes in the policy environment (for example, sudden reversal of feed-in policies can have major negative impacts for the industry). Therefore, transitions towards new policy systems require full knowledge of coming changes and sufficient time for the industry to adapt its business models. SHOWCASE AND COMMUNICATE THE ABILITY OF RENEWABLES TO PROVIDE LARGE-SCALE ELECTRICITY SUPPLY Manydevelopingcountriesareunderpressuretorapidlyincrease energy generation capacities to address growing demand, to meet energy access challenges, and to foster economic development. Decision makers faced with such pressures often underestimate the potentially significant and rapid contribution that renewables can make. The successful integration of high shares of renewables in existing infrastructure in China, Denmark, Portugal,Spain,andtheUnitedStates,forexample,demonstrates that the right mix of renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency improvements, and smart management can provide an affordable and reliable power supply. Communicating and learning from such successes and experiences is important to correct the misperception that baseload power cannot be provided by a mix of renewable energy sources. CREATE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD TO INCREASE COST-COMPETIVENESS Global subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power remain high despite reform efforts. Estimates range from USD 550 billion (International Energy Agency) to USD 5.6 trillion per year (International Monetary Fund), depending on how “subsidy” is defined and calculated. Growth in renewable energy (and energy efficiency improvements) is tempered by subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear power, particularly in developing countries. Subsidies keep conventional energy prices artificially low, which makes it more difficult for renewable energy to compete. Artificially low prices also discourage energy efficiency and conservation. Creating a level playing field can lead to a more-efficient allocation of financial resources, helping to strengthen initiatives to advance the development and implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Removing fossil fuel and nuclear subsidies globally would reflect more accurately the true cost of energy generation. Where energy or fuel subsidies focus on consumers, particularly in developing countries, subsidies should be shifted towards energy efficiency and renewable energy options. RENEWABLE POWER: ENERGY SYSTEM THINKING IS REQUIRED To increase shares of variable solar and wind power generation, a variety of technologies must be integrated into one resilient power supply. Thus, policy programmes should shift away from single-technology support schemes towards measures that support a balanced combination of diverse technologies. Policy and regulatory mechanisms must: support/enable more flexible power grids; increase demand-side management; and integrate renewable energy-based power systems with the transport, buildings, industry, and heating and cooling sectors. Utilities and grid system operators also play an important role in managing demand and generation in renewable energy- dominated energy systems. Demand-side management of industries, transport systems, and households, as well as the operation of distributed generation fleets, require different energypoliciestosupportnewbusinessmodels.Thedeployment of new technologies to allow for mainstreaming higher shares of dispatchable renewable generation is also necessary and requires new incentives to drive infrastructure investment. Policymakers should work with utilities and grid system operators, in addition to major energy consumers (e.g., energy- intensive industries), to define new policy mechanisms and regulatory structures. MAINSTREAMING RENEWABLES: KEY FINDINGS FOR POLICYMAKERS

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