Government Promotion of Renewable Energy Technologies

Policy measures for promotion of new & renewable energy
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The social acceptance of RE policy programmes and projects is particularly important. They argue that both policies and technologies need to be adopted by society at large in order for an initiative to be successful.

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Renewable energy sources will play an increasingly important role in meeting global energy demand. Katrin Jordan-Korte presents the first comprehensive. Dec 15, Why would the government invest in renewable energy? used finance to promote the development of new energy sources and technologies.

This is followed by community acceptance of decisions and RE projects by local stakeholders, residents and local authorities. For example, according to Rogers , market acceptance depends on the communication process between the potential adopting party and its environment, as this process facilitates the adoption of innovative technologies. South Africa is in a very different situation from other developing countries, as the majority of the population cannot even afford basic cheap energy Bennett, Manne and Richels confirm that innovation can reduce RE production costs.

Therefore, in order to make RE more competitive, technological innovations are necessary Russell, Painuly highlights other technological barriers such as a lack of standards, codes and certification and technical skills, lack of infrastructure such as the ability to link up to the grid, and a weak technological culture. Most importantly, lack of funding to sustain technological innovation is regarded as a limiting factor for cheaper renewable technology.

In South Africa, some RE technologies have to be imported as they cannot be made more cheaply locally, for example solar panels, wind turbine blades and Concentrated Solar Power CSP equipment Bennett, The nature and maturity of RE technology also influences any investment decision. Tyner argues that since the US government subsidised ethanol in , the ethanol industry has experienced substantial growth.

Government Promotion of Renewable Energy Technologies | SpringerLink

This subsidy was in line with the government's mandate to support the farming industry, environmental concerns and energy security. Tyner argues that the success of this industry resulted from state intervention, enabling its growth. It can therefore be argued that investment decisions can be influenced by political factors. Bennett argues that due to limited local manufacturing capability infrastructure, patents and innovation of RE technologies , most of the RE technologies used in South Africa are imported. It follows that any investment in these types of projects will be subject to foreign exchange exposure.

This exposure increases the risk profile of the investment because for a higher risk portfolio investors expect a higher return, this can make some RE projects unviable Shefrin, The South Africa Rand has a history of intense fluctuations. Over the last decade, the world has experienced substantial fluctuations in crude oil prices, as shown in Figure 2. Accordingly, as the price of oil rises, RE investments become more attractive.

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Similarly, as the price decreases, RE investments become less attractive Wakeford, It has been proposed that price volatility could be mitigated through government intervention, by diversifying the energy portfolio to include RE Janczura, Generally, investors consider the respective maturity levels of the RE technology in their investment decisions. The arguments presented confirm that RE adoption is influenced by political, economic, social and technological factors.

It was therefore considered important to explore these factors in order to understand the prevailing industry situation. Research methodology.

While there have been many studies dealing with the barriers to the adoption or penetration of RE globally, there was a paucity in literature specific to South Africa and its unique barriers available from South African academic databases. Literature addressing investment in RE in South Africa, with a focus on investment from the investor's perspective, was even scarcer. This may be attributed to the fact that the RE industry in South Africa is a relatively new field.

Good Government Investments in Renewable Energy

As this is an emerging field of interest, an exploratory survey-based research design was considered to be the most appropriate method to use Zikmund, This research design therefore included the use of both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Since this research was designed to gather data at a specified point in time, it is categorised as a cross-sectional study. The unit of analysis was the financial investment decision made by investors when investing in RE technologies.

In order to achieve its objectives, this research was broken down into three phases: Phase One identified potential factors which investors considered during their RE investment decision. Phase Two tested whether these factors were in fact considered by South African RE investors when making investment decisions.

The research and interview questions are included in Appendix A. The final phase of this research comprised the data analysis. The sample consisted of 16 South African based companies, which covered each segment of the investment community so that it would be representative of the general population of relevance. These investment companies are shareholders in various energy projects in South Africa.

Part of their finance portfolio includes RE Projects. The selection was through convenience sampling, as the number of respondents available was limited. These included financial and other types of institutions that invest in RE technologies. A total of 10 companies agreed to take part in the survey, resulting in a response rate of The companies were represented by individuals who make or contribute to the investment decisions into energy projects. It was adapted in the sense that the structured questionnaire was answered by the respondent during the interview.

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The interviews were conducted by the researcher in person. This methodology provided the researcher with the opportunity to explore further, insights raised in the response. With a generic, distributed, self-administered questionnaire, qualitative responses can sometimes be incomplete or misunderstood and therefore misinterpreted, which can influence the data analysis and may skew results.

Since data consistency allows responses to be analysed appropriately, therefore a structured questionnaire was used and the same set of questions was presented to each respondent. The questionnaire was designed in such a way that the responses were automatically categorised into the six predefined sections, namely Introduction, Political, Economic, Socio-cultural, Technological and General. It also contained an open-ended section in which the respondents could make additional contributions to any section of the questionnaire.

The Questions contained in the questionnaire were mostly closed and required short narrative responses. Some questions in the respective sections required the respondent to select an appropriate response from several alternative statements. If the response was vague or inadequate in terms of richness, then a follow-up question was asked. This method ensured that the required narrative response was of sufficient relevance and substance to be used in the analysis.

A consent form was included in the first section of the questionnaire. Table 1. Table 2. A preamble and background information about the research was sent to the respondent a few days before the actual interview session.

History of Support for Renewable Energy in Germany

Interview questions themselves were not sent to the respondent prior to the interview session, in order to prevent any response bias. The interviews were conducted by the researcher and captured in an audio format with prior permission from the respondent. A hard copy of the questionnaire was used to record important response aspects. All audio recordings were critically reviewed to confirm and highlight key insights, which the researcher might have overlooked during the interview.

The primary data obtained from the questionnaire was both quantitative and qualitative in nature.

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A frequency analysis method was used to analyse the quantitative data, while narrative content analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data. The first step in the narrative content analysis was to group the narrative responses to the same question from each respondent on one page. These were analysed in relation to the literature review conducted and the pertinent factors limiting investments in RE technologies. Discussion of results. Investors were very concerned about the financial viability of their investments and factors such as high capital costs, the price of products, tax benefits, grants, subsidies and means of raising capital through debt and equity were mentioned as being prime considerations when making investments.

Simply put, investors will not invest in any type of technology if it is not financially viable. Financial viability related to a number of factors mentioned by the respondents, such as capital, operational costs, market, selling price and foreign currency risks. This is illustrated in Figure 3. It can therefore be argued that until the cost of RE technologies can compete with traditional fossil based technologies, investment in RE will remain lower than investments in fossil fuel based technologies.

In order to address this imbalance, competitiveness level of RE technologies may be improved through political interventions through its policies as recommended by Martinot and Macdoom's as well as Jacobsson and Lauber It follows that if the political climate, objectives and instruments, such policies and tax breaks, are aligned with the promotion of RE based technologies, then the cost of RE technologies will be able to compete with traditional fossil based technologies.

One of the areas the research attempted to establish was the nature of political influence on RE investment decisions. The respondents were asked if the current South African political climate was conducive to RE investment. The responses are documented in Figure 4 and show that investors did not believe that the political climate was conducive to substantial investment in this industry. The reasons are a lack of clear regulations and government support, a preference for conventional fossil-fuel based energy, and the use of political forces to shape the energy industry with the government's own monopoly.

Responses to some of the questions were extremely divided, rendering inconclusive results.

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