Monday, August 20, 2012

Requirements for a Renewables Revolution

Felix Mormann has published a thoughtful analysis of the renewables revolution and the challenges that come with it. You can download the full paper here. What I find remarkable is the wide range of factors considered. He does not offer a single panacea ("leave it to industry!", "leave it to the market!" "Impose high carbon prices!" etc) but discusses the regulatory framework, market incentives, innovation, R&DD, civil society responses, and technical requirements of electricity generation and transmission. He obviously knows the German and US landscape well, so has some very informed views on offer for a comparative perspective.
He obviously does not know the Hartwell approach and so fails to connect some obvious dots (e.g. between technology R&DD and regulation/taxation). He also puts much hope in the 2 degrees rhetoric and other mainstream views (like Lord Stern's). So given his starting point his paper is a rather refreshing take on climate policy.

Here is the abstract:

This Article identifies and analyzes the obstacles presently barring the rise of renewables, evaluates the role of the current policy favorite emission pricing, and offers design recommendations for a comprehensive U.S. renewables policy.

Successful climate change mitigation requires a timely shift to renewable sources of energy, such as sunlight, wind or tides, to decarbonize today’s high-carbon electricity sector. But market pull alone is not strong enough. This Article discusses the most widely cited economic barriers and identifies and evaluates additional obstacles related to the electricity sector’s regulatory framework.

Emission pricing is largely considered the most efficient policy to drive the timely transition to a renewables-based electricity sector. This Article argues that, for political, conceptual, and, most of all, regulatory reasons, emission pricing will not fuel the rise of renewables at the speed necessary for successful climate change mitigation.

Rather, a comprehensive renewables policy is required to address each and every one of the existing barriers. Drawing on the policy experience of other sectors and nations, I offer recommendations for the design of a comprehensive U.S. renewables policy. Many of the proposed policy recommendations aim at non-economic barriers, which can be overcome through regulatory intervention. Once these barriers have been removed, policy support for renewables can focus on the remaining economic barriers and, hence, becomes far less costly. In light of the plethora of obstacles to a timely transition to renewables, this Article calls for concerted policy action by scientists, engineers, economists, lawyers, marketers, and educators to fuel the renewables revolution.


Günter Heß said...

Der Mr. Grundmann,

I couldn't download the full article.

Günter Heß

@ReinerGrundmann said...

I have asked Felix for an accessible on-line version. I didn't realize that not everyone can download SSRN papers, sorry.

hvw said...

The full 64 pages are free for everyone to download. You should try with a different browser and/or disable child-protection, anti-virus or "firewall" software.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Heß,

If you let me know how to reach you, I'd be happy to email you a copy of the paper directly. I agree with the previous comment by hvw, however, that SSRN (in theory) makes all papers available without requiring a login or other prior registration. So, perhaps, your firewall or other browser settings may offer an easier solution.


Felix Mormann

Günter Heß said...

Thanks for the help.
I think as soon as I am back On my Desktop Computer
I will get it.
iPhone seems to be limited or I just don't know the right Stettins.
Best Regards
Günter Heß