Issue 02 / 2011

Regional-global Linkages in the Energy-Climate-Development Policy Nexus: The Case of Biofuels in the EU Renewable Energy Directive
Francis X. Johnson
The European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive aims to accelerate the transition to renewable energy in the Community to support the EU energy policy goals of energy security, sustainability, and competitiveness. At the same time, the Directive – especially in its biofuels components – must also recognise the need for convergence between global and regional policy objectives. Such convergence is seen as necessary in order to align regional energy-economic objectives with global environment and development policies in general and climate policy in particular. In this article, the biofuels components of the Directive are evaluated – particularly the sustainability criteria – in terms of their relation to the EU energy strategy and the resulting effects on energy, climate, and development policy objectives. It is found that the design and implementation of the sustainability criteria weaken the effect of the Directive’s potential impacts on global energy markets and international development objectives, while somewhat strengthening the internal EU market and technology objectives.
Development of Renewable Energy in India: Role and Effectiveness of Electricity Regulators
Manisha Gulati
India has been making efforts to harness renewable energy to meet concerns related to energy security, energy access and climate change. However, these national level objectives can only be met if the regulatory framework for RE and the institutional environment in the electricity sector are conducive. Electricity regulators, who are responsible for catalyzing the development and deployment of RE, have taken several measures, but they have not yet been effective in achieving the desired outcome. They have also not been successful in addressing some of the larger issues pertaining to the electricity sector as a whole that have an important bearing on the development of RE. The fact that regulators operate in an institutional setting that provides few incentives to effectively develop RE has further weakened their efforts.
The European Experience with Renewable Energy Support Schemes and Their Adoption: Potential Lessons for Other Countries
Volkmar Lauber
In the EU since the late 1990s, two schemes for renewable electricity support have competed with each other: feed-in tariffs (FITs) and tradable green certificates (TGCs). After electricity liberalisation began in 1997, the European Commission at first sought harmonisation of support rules and challenged FIT for violating legal provisions; however, it accepted a compromise for the first renewable energy directive of 2001. Focused attention on the results of two schemes produced valuable insights and showed overall better results for FIT. When the Commission returned to support TGC (now called guarantees of origin) harmonisation for the second renewable energy directive adopted in 2009, a coalition of Parliament and Council, strengthened by evidence gained from experience, again replaced the Commission approach by a neutral position. The controversy, its arguments and the insights it produced should be helpful for other countries facing similar policy choices.
The Impact of Electricity Market Design on Access to the Grid and Transmission Planning for Renewable Energy in Australia: Can Overseas Examples Provide Guidance?
Anne Kallies
The question of who pays for grid augmentation and strategic building of new infrastructure is likely to be central for the successful integration of renewable energy on a large scale in Australia. Other countries, such as Germany, have recognised the public interest component of a high renewable energy percentage. That realisation is reflected not only in the extensive grid access and augmentation provisions, but also in the special norms introduced to make offshore wind a viable option. The lack of environmental objectives in Australian electricity market law makes similar arrangements difficult.
China’s Low Carbon Strategy: The Role of Renewable Energy Law in Advancing Renewable Energy
Hao Zhang
The goal of this article is to examine the role and effectiveness of the PRC’s Renewable Energy Law (REL). It starts by providing a brief outline of the REL in China and notes that the formulation of the mechanisms in some cases is not very clear or precise. The article critically examines the principles and mechanisms set out in the REL. It is argued that the current price-based mechanism has some unintented consequences for the renewable energy industry. Issues flowing from state-ownership of energy production and transmission enterprises are noted. Recent developments in the energy conservation law, notably Energy Performance Contracting and a cap-and-trade scheme in Tianjin, are discussed.
Governing Nanotechnology for Solar Fuels: Towards a Jurisprudence of Global Artificial Photosynthesis
Dr. Thomas Faunce
The carbon-based fossil fuels (chiefly oil, coal, and natural gas) implicated in anthropogenic climate change are sequestered outcomes of millions of years of natural photosynthesis. Many emerging areas of nanotechnology research are focusing on artificial photosynthesis as a long-term planetary renewable energy and carbon management option – by providing an alternative form of energy to both fossil fuels and biofuels and as a means of stabilising atmospheric CO2. A macroscience Global Artificial Photosynthesis (GAP) Project, by allowing researchers to refine and enhance the process of photosynthesis, has the potential to become a valuable adjunct to or even supplant other bioenergy and biosequestration policy options. This article explores what lessons can be drawn from the governance of contemporary macroscience projects about the ethical and legal principles upon which a GAP project should be organised.


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