Bad policy decisions in 2018 impacted renewable energy growth: Report

In India too the new investment in the sector decreased by 16 per cent compared to 2017

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Tuesday 18 June 2019
India’s new power generation capacity from solar photovoltaic panels decreased compared to 2017. Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images Photo: Getty Images

Renewable energy’s share in power consumption is increasing undoubtedly, but people would have consumed more had policy makers prioritised the sector, according to REN21’s Renewable 2019 Global Status Report (GSR) released on June 18, 2019.

Erratic policy decisions kept the world from using the sector to its potential in meeting climate change targets, added the report.

In India, which ranked fourth globally for new investment in renewable energy in 2018, the investment decreased 16 per cent compared to 2017, read the report by the think tank that focuses on renewable energy policy.

The report attributes this to factors like

  • Land and transmission constraints,
  • 25 per cent safeguard duty on imports from China and Malaysia
  • Flaws in tender scheme
  • Tax uncertainties

India’s new power generation capacity from solar photovoltaic panels decreased compared to 2017, according to the report. However, India placed fifth, overtaking Italy, with 33 gigawatts (GW) total installed capacity.

The report confirmed that installed renewable power capacity was more than that of fossil fuel and nuclear power combined for the fourth consecutive year.

Around 100 GW of solar PV were added in 2018 which is enough to meet more than 25 per cent of electricity demand in France, the report added.

However, lack of ambitious and sustained policies to drive decarbonising in heating, cooling and transport sectors indicates that countries are not trying to maximise the benefit of energy transition to move to cleaner options, the REN21 report added.

“Renewables now supply around 26 per cent of global electricity production but the transport, cooling and heating sectors lag far behind in renewable adoption,” highlighted the report.

Underlining the subsidy support being given to fossil fuel, the GSR read that lack of political will and fossil fuel subsidies are threatening to derail the crucial United Nations 2030 Climate and Development Goals.

Only 40 countries have taken some measures in terms of fossil fuel subsidy reform since 2015, while 112 countries still continue with the subsidy, found the status report. Also, 73 countries provided subsidies of more than $100 million each in 2017.

Only 44 countries have implemented carbon pricing policies and most countries have continued supporting subsidies for fossil fuel industry, the report read. Estimated total global subsidies for fossil fuel consumption were $300 billion in 2017, an 11 per cent increase from 2016, it added.

 “A key breakthrough could occur if countries cut their fossil fuel subsidies which are propping up dirty energy,” said Rana Adib, executive secretary, REN21.

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