The world is in dire need of converting the vast majority of its power sources to non carbon emitting sources within the near future. Renewable energy sources are the most ideal source of this as they produce no carbon dioxide in their operation. So it is good to see that some governments are encouraging the use of renewable energy sources by providing financial incentives and reliefs to their population. A very recent example of this kind of incentive is the new renewables tax measures implemented by the government of the United Kingdom. This has involved the scrapping of the 5 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) currently applied to homeowners who want to install solar panels, insulation or heat pumps in their homes.
Improvements from British government
This is a great move from the UK government as it encourages growth in the renewable energy sector and reduces the cost of energy. This is a controversial topic at the moment in the country due to rapidly rising prices as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting oil market fallout. Unfortunately this measure is not a permanent one. The measure will be in place for five years from April 2022 until April 2027. So if you are a UK resident it may be time to invest in making your home more energy efficient before this tax break runs out!
This is the newest of the British government’s financial support of sustainable energy practices and energy efficiency. Last year, the UK prime minister: Boris Johnson announced that UK homeowners would be eligible for a £5,000 grant if they would install a heat pump in their home. The installation of a heat pump is a good way of making your home more energy efficient to heat and cool, when compared to traditional central heating seen across the UK. Unfortunately the overall price of heat pumps is around £15,000 to £20,000: quite a steep cost for the savings seen.
An example of a residential heat pump, keep your eye out for these, there will likely be a few more around in the near future!
Research studies have shown that installing solar panels on the roof of a house is a much cheaper alternative to installing a heat pump. Obviously it would be ideal to install both solutions but when evaluating the installation cost with the energy saved/generated, solar panels have a much shorter payback time. Solar panels have also been estimated to add as much as 14 percent to the value of a home when compared to a home without solar panels. Unfortunately, as domestic wind turbines are a relatively new technology there are no such studies evaluating domestic wind turbines.
Governments approaches to encourage renewable energy usage
For another example of legislation that encourages the adoption of renewable energy we look to the United States of America. Legislation at the state level mandates that a certain percentage of the power generation of electricity companies must be generated by renewable means. This varies from state to state with some adhering to the governmental ‘standard’ percentage and others setting their own, more ambitious target percentages. This type of policy is a great way to force companies to invest in developing renewable technology, injecting much needed capital into the technology, developing it for all.
A selection of states and if they are aiming higher than given standard renewable electricity %
Historically, Germany was heavily reliant on coal generated power, relying on the electricity source to power the nation for many years. Clearly this is not ideal for the German environment. Under a coalition of centre-left and Green Party governments in the year 2000, a new bill named the ‘Renewable Energy Sources Act’ was passed into law. This bill has since helped to shape the energy sector of Germany and has encouraged the renewable energy sector to grow. The policy has less of a focus on local power generation and more on energy providers.
The bill involves a ‘feed-in’ tariff for energy providers who use renewable energy sources to generate electricity. The tariff ensures the price at which the electricity generated by renewable sources does not fall below a certain level. The succeeding government took this further, pledging an ‘Energiewende’, an energy transition hoping to achieve 35% renewable generation by 2020 and 80% by 2050. This is a great goal to have, it is great to see a country so dedicated to clean energy supplies! Not only is it good from a clean energy point of view but has developed a lot of jobs in and across Germany. Why not join Germany in its renewable energy boost by looking at some TESUP turbines, if you are interested of course!
Finally, China’s policy on renewable energy generation is quite interesting and well worth a look! Chinese cities have historically had a large number of problems regarding the degree of air pollution and low general air quality. This problem is so large that it was and is causing widespread lung related illness and sometimes manifests in thick fogs over cities. This is attributed to the heavy industry seen in Chinese cities as well as a heavy reliance on coal as a power source. Coal is one of the most unclean energy sources and using it so heavily in close proximity to cities is not a good idea.
Clearly the Chinese government wanted to remedy the situation as they have been seen to increase their renewable energy construction year on year. To the point where the country now tops the leaderboard for most renewable energy capacity in the world! A large part of this is from the country’s continued investment in cheaper solar panels which has helped to drive down prices worldwide. Unfortunately Chinese renewable energy can have a downside. Development of massive dams for hydropower generation has blocked up rivers and is depriving countries downstream from China of fresh water causing issues with food supplies and ecological areas.
The Three Gorges River Dam in China.
So as you can see, there are many different policies the world over to encourage the use of renewables. Most of the policies to date have been successful in aiding the shift away from fossil fuels and towards a cleaner environment!
For more interesting reading have a look at this research paper!