5
Renewable Energy Policies, Markets, and Deployment in China and the United States

By reducing some of the risks perceived by the private sector, leveraging financing, and increasing capital flows for R&D, policy plays a central role in the deployment of renewable energy technologies. Beyond technological challenges are significant hurdles in the marketplace. Renewable projects will require large investments in infrastructure, which the private sector might consider risky, unless they have sufficiently funded, consistent incentives. In the form of incentives, policy can also sustain industry sales until manufacturers achieve cost reductions from learning opportunities and economies of scale. The United States and China have historically taken different approaches to policy making in the energy sector, partly because they have different needs and priorities and partly because they have different systems of government. These factors can make it difficult to comparatively analyze policies, or to find common ground for cooperation on policy-related matters. Nonetheless, given the important role that policy will continue to play in both countries’ efforts to scale up the use of renewable energy, this chapter highlights the strategic approaches that China and the United States are taking,1 and identifies some areas of common interest. It also summarizes potential constraints in the marketplace, and discusses opportunities to strengthen the market infrastructure.

1

Campbell (2010) offers a recent, comprehensive overview of renewable energy programs and policies in China and the United States.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 113
5 Renewable Energy Policies, Markets, and Deployment in China and the United States By reducing some of the risks perceived by the private sector, leveraging financing, and increasing capital flows for R&D, policy plays a central role in the deployment of renewable energy technologies. Beyond technological challenges are significant hurdles in the marketplace. Renewable projects will require large investments in infrastructure, which the private sector might con- sider risky, unless they have sufficiently funded, consistent incentives. In the form of incentives, policy can also sustain industry sales until manufacturers achieve cost reductions from learning opportunities and economies of scale. The United States and China have historically taken different approaches to policy making in the energy sector, partly because they have different needs and priorities and partly because they have different systems of government. These factors can make it difficult to comparatively analyze policies, or to find common ground for cooperation on policy-related matters. Nonetheless, given the important role that policy will continue to play in both countries’ efforts to scale up the use of renewable energy, this chapter highlights the strategic approaches that China and the United States are taking, 1 and identi- fies some areas of common interest. It also summarizes potential constraints in the marketplace, and discusses opportunities to strengthen the market infrastructure. 1 Campbell (2010) offers a recent, comprehensive overview of renewable energy programs and policies in China and the United States. 

OCR for page 113
4 ThE POWER OF RENEWAbLES RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICY IN CHINA The Role of Government China’s energy policy is developed through a two-step approach. The cen - tral government first develops broad policy goals and communicates them every five years in its Fie year Plans. Ministries, agencies, and the National People’s Congress then use the plans to design targeted, specific policies. China’s 10th and 11th Fie year Plans (2000-2005, 2006-2010) were the first to include goals for renewable energy development. China’s increased focus on renewable energy requires coordinated action from many entities and groups outside the central government and government agencies. In January 2010, the government announced the creation of the National Energy Commission (NEC) to streamline China’s energy operations and coor- dinate activities by the National Energy Bureau (NEB) and the National Energy Administration (NEA), which tend to overlap with the mandates of other min- istries. The NEC will also assume many of the energy-focused activities of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Finance. The goals of the NEC are to devise China’s energy strategy, ensure the country’s energy security, and coordinate cooperative programs. One of China’s main goals in developing renewable energy has been to supply off-grid electricity to more than 2 million rural households that have no access to electricity. Another goal is to address concerns about the long-term environ - mental impacts of coal-fired electricity generation. China has acknowledged the potential impact of increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on climate, and China has already taken several steps to reduce emissions of regionally important criteria air pollutants, such as particulates, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide (NAE/ NRC/CAS/CAE, 2007). Among other things, these reductions have served as a response to civil unrest in recent years to protest energy-related pollution. Even more important, however, China sees renewable energy as a potentially lucrative economic opportunity, particularly in the global market for clean technologies. In 2009, for example, more than 90 percent of photovoltaic (PV) cells produced in China were exported. General and Targeted Policies In China’s 11th Fie year Plan, its broad renewable energy policy goal is to “accelerate renewable technology advancement and industrial system develop - ment . . . specifically supporting the technology breakthrough and industrialization of bio-liquid fuel, wind power, biomass power, and solar power.” This goal is supported by a series of suggested measures and incentives, shown in Tables 5-1 and 5-2. Four important policies in defining China’s renewable energy landscape are: Renewable Energy Law of the People’s Republic of China, which outlines policy goals; Medium and Long-Term Development Plan for Renewable Energy

OCR for page 113
TABLE 5-1 Direct Renewable Energy Policies in China Dates Policy Details February 2005 The Renewable Energy Law of the Outlines mid-range policy goals of the government surrounding renewable energy. It provides only People’s Republic of China general guidance and so does not set prices. The price authorities of the State Council set them. November 2005 Renewable Energy Industry Sets industrial development targets covering the field of wind, solar, bio, geo, ocean, and Development Guidance Catalogue hydropower using the top performing projects in each field. January 2006 Interim Measures for Renewable Mandates the purchase of renewable energy over the national grid, either based upon the Energy Power Price and Cost-Sharing Government Fixed Price or the Guidance Price of the Government (awarded tariff of the bid winner). Outline pricing policies of electricity from renewable sources: 1. Applies Guidance Price to wind energy’s feed-in tariff 2. Applies Government Fixed Price to solar, ocean, and geothermal power Biomass feed-in tariff shall be set by the yardstick feed-in tariff for desulpherizing coal-fired units in 2005 plus the subsidy price for biomass, which was raised to 0.35 CNY/kWh in 2008. Biomass projects shall receive the subsidy for 15 years after the beginning of production. January 2006 Management Rules of Renewable Assigns management bodies to approve, manage, and monitor various categories of renewable Energy Power Generation projects on a central and provincial level. Mandates detailed responsibilities of the power generating companies and the grid companies to develop renewable energy power generation. May 2006 Interim Measures for Management Detailed codes for supporting key areas, such as funding, management, and assessment. of Special Fund for Development of Renewable Energy August 2007 Medium and Long-Term Development Mandates that the share of renewable energy consumption must reach 10 percent by 2010 and Plan for Renewable Energy in China 15 percent by 2020. March 2008 The Renewable Energy Development Establishes priorities and targets for renewable energy development during the 11th Five Year Planning during 11th Five Year Planning Period. Planning Period July 2009 Feed-in-tariff rates for four categories Tariffs vary by quality of wind resource area: 0.51 CNY/kWh; 0.54 CNY/kWh; 0.58 CNY/kWh; of onshore wind projects 0.61 CNY/kWh. December 2009 The Amendment to the 2006 Renewable Mandates power grid operators to buy all the electricity produced by renewable energy Energy Law generators within their region. 5

OCR for page 113
6 TABLE 5-2 Indirect Renewable Energy Policies in China Dates Policy Details 2006–2010 National 11th Five Year Plan for Outlines the national agenda during the 2006–2010 administrative period. The plan bases Environmental Protection itself on the 11th Five Year Plan and the Implementation of the Scientific Outlook on Development and Strengthening Environmental Protection. Specific goals include to: 1. Reduce national sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent from 2005 levels by 2010. 2. Increase the number of days in which urban air quality of key cities is superior to Grade II National Air Quality Standard by 5.6 percent. 2000 10th Five Year Plan for Energy Outlines the national energy resource agenda for the 2000–2005 administrative period with a Conservation and Resources focus on efficiency, energy conservation, consumption reduction, and comprehensive resource Comprehensive Utilization utilization. This includes: 1. Petroleum conservation and substitution technologies 2. Renewable resources recovery and utilization technologies 3. Energy-saving and clean enterprise demonstration projects 2006 11th Five Year Plan for the Outlines the national agenda for the 2006–2010 administrative period with a focus on Development of the Environmental environmental protection. This includes: Protection Industry 1. Focus on the development of technologies that are more resource-efficient and less polluting. 2. Focus on the development of overall contract services for environmental projects, including financing, design, and equipment.

OCR for page 113
7 RENEWAbLE ENERGy POLICIES, MARKETS, AND DEPLOyMENT in China, which establishes thresholds for renewable energy; Interim Measures for Management of Special Fund for Development of Renewable Energy; and Policy and Price of Electricity Generated by Renewable Energy, which describes pricing policies. Renewables, except for hydropower, are still more expensive than fossil fuels, partly because of long-term subsidies for fossil-fuel power. Pricing policies are, therefore, important to providing incentives for the increased deployment of renewables. One approach consists of feed-in tariffs that force energy utilities to purchase renewable energy at a fixed price and connect it to the grid. Another approach is tendering, a government-run bidding process for contracts that supply renewable energy. Feed-in tariffs have benefited biomass power and solar power; tendering has benefited wind power, although in 2009 tendering was replaced by a feed-in-tariff. As China expands the use of feed-in-tariffs, it may need to con - sider increasing the quota and rate, to encourage larger scale commercial projects. Feed-in tariffs account for the bulk (~90 percent) of China’s national subsidies for renewable energy development, leaving a comparatively small percentage of national support for R&D and other “upstream” efforts to improve technologies and reduce costs. Chinese policies address biofuel production, but overall, China’s biomass policy focuses on heat and power generation rather than alternative transportation fuels. Because of concerns about the impact of biofuels on the food supply, in 2006 the government prohibited the production of ethanol from food grains. The production of ethanol from non-food feedstocks (such as cassava, sweet sorghum, Jatropha Curcas, Pistacia Chinensis, Tung, and cottonseed) continues. Impact and Challenges Hydroelectric projects dominate the Chinese renewable energy landscape, reflecting the long history of policies promoting electrification regardless of the energy source. The country also has the resources, the know-how to take advan- tage of them, and a centralized approach to policy making that is well suited to the development of large hydro projects, such as the Three Gorges Dam. The deployment of other renewable energy sources, with the recent exception of wind farms, continues to be an uphill struggle in most areas because of widely avail- able, low-cost, fossil-fuel energy. One of the most important renewable energy policies in China is the Medium and Long Term Development Plan for Renewable Energy. This policy has a specific goal of increasing the share of clean energy (to include large hydro and nuclear) to 10 percent of primary energy consumption by 2010 and 15 percent by 2020. Achieving or exceeding these targets will likely require China to address some related policy issues that could otherwise impede progress.

OCR for page 113
8 ThE POWER OF RENEWAbLES Enforcement China will need to strengthen environmental regulations to address some environmental impacts of renewable energy production, and enhance local capac - ity to enforce regulations. Although the central government plays the largest role in implementing renewable energy policy, the enforcement of environmental regulations is left to provincial governments. A number of provincial leaders regard enforcement of environmental regulations as a secondary or tertiary con - cern. Some authorities have even exerted influence over regulatory agencies that have attempted to report inadequate environmental enforcement (Canfa, 2007). Lax enforcement of environmental regulations has several important implica - tions for the renewable energy industry, namely: (1) the price of coal-fired power remains artificially low if pollution controls are bypassed, (2) as manufacturing of renewable energy technologies increases, inefficient and highly polluting pro - cesses could serve to undermine confidence in the fledgling industry, and (3) as renewable power plant installations increase in quantity and scale, site-specific environmental impacts, if not properly managed, could undermine support for a further proliferation of these projects. Grid Integration The expansion of the electricity grid has not always kept up with the con - struction of new renewable energy projects. The 2006 Renewable Energy Law stipulates that grid utilities must connect renewable energy developments to the electricity grid, and grid operators are awarded a subsidy based on distance: 0.01 Chinese yuan renminbi (CNY) per kWh within 50 km, 0.02 CNY per kWh for 50 to 100 km, and 0.03 CNY per kWh for distances of more than 100 km. However, connecting with the grid requires more than just new construction. It requires training grid operators to manage the intermittency of the renewable power supply, which often requires the modernization of grid technology to make the electrical distribution system more predictable and manageable. It also sometimes requires balancing services, which in China’s case frequently means additional coal-fired power (whereas the United States will typically rely on natural gas). A relatively large portion of China’s wind projects have not been connected to the main electricity grid, particularly in Inner Mongolia and Gansu. There are various reasons for this, including the lack of available transmission interconnec - tions. However, in many cases individual wind farm project development is simply outpacing regional plans for power development and transmission. Projects are also sometimes constructed without the necessary permits and authorization—this can result in either an excess of wind capacity that must routinely be curtailed, or poorly constructed projects that are difficult and expensive to integrate without causing severe disruptions to the grid.

OCR for page 113
 RENEWAbLE ENERGy POLICIES, MARKETS, AND DEPLOyMENT Social Resistance The construction of hydroelectric projects such as the Three Gorges Dam has caused substantial population displacements in China. Hydroelectric projects have displaced millions of people in the past few decades, and hydropower projects continue to arouse resistance. In 2004, approximately 100,000 farmers staged a sit-in to denounce the building of a 186-meter high dam in Hanyuan in Sichuan Province. Although there have not been such demonstrations against wind farms or other renewables development, this could be a potentially important issue for future projects. Transmission projects, particularly long-distance corridors cross - ing multiple provinces, are likely to be a part of China’s overall plans to develop large wind and solar bases in remote provinces. Thus, it may be useful to engage all of the affected communities at the outset of transmission planning, in order to identify potential impediments to developing these large projects. RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICY IN THE UNITED STATES Role of Government As noted in Chapter 1, there are many drivers for increasing the deployment of renewable energy in the United States. Chief among these, as reflected in cur- rent policy debates, are the desires to substantially reduce GHG emissions from the power and transportation sectors and to identify more sustainable, long-term sources of energy. Within the transportation sector especially, national security concerns are another driver; the United States imports approximately 65 percent of its oil, some of it from politically unstable regions. James Jones, the U.S. National Security Advisor, has described the nation’s reliance on foreign oil as “one of the most important and pressing national security challenges of this century” (Jones, 2008). Finally, job creation is another rationale for increasing the deployment of renewable energy. In policy discussions, the renewable energy sector, and its asso- ciated jobs in manufacturing, construction, and operation of facilities, constitute a portion of the so-called “green jobs” sector. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is critical to energy-related legisla- tion in the United States and to energy-related research and conservation. DOE also supports the development of a variety of energy policies. Recent legislation related to DOE activities include the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which was the last comprehensive energy bill passed in the United States. As of July 2010, comprehensive federal legislation on energy was still pending in the House of Representatives (H.R. 2454 American Clean Energy and Security Act) and the Senate (American Clean Energy Leadership Act). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for developing U.S. environmental regulations. Although EPA is not a cabinet agency, it is respon-

OCR for page 113
0 ThE POWER OF RENEWAbLES sible for enforcing compliance with the Clean Air Acts and has devised a number of energy efficiency programs, such as Energy Star, as well as fuel-economy standards. In addition, in December 2009, EPA issued an Endangerment Finding, a prerequisite to finalizing proposed standards for greenhouse gas emissions. A major impact of this finding would be restrictions on the availability, and increases in the prices of, fossil fuels, especially coal. Thus, the finding would have a major impact on the development of renewable energy in the United States. State governments encourage the adoption of renewable energy through the implementation of state programs and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). In 2007, California, for example, instituted the California Solar Initiative, which initially offered a cash incentive of $2.50 (decreasing over time) per watt of PV modules installed. States have often been referred to as “laboratories” for policy experi- mentation, and this has been the case for renewable energy policies since the early 2000s (NAE/NRC/CAS/CAE, 2007). As of July 2010, 29 states and the District of Columbia have an RPS, while an additional 7 states have set portfolio goals. Com- prehensive information on state-level incentives is available through the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE, www.dsireusa.org). General and Targeted Policies Renewable energy policy in the United States is shaped at the federal, state, and local levels. The key policy tools at the federal level include the Federal Production Tax Credit (PTC), the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and the Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS). These policies have provided economic incentives and subsidies that have made the final production price of renewable energy more cost competitive with traditional fossil fuels. Newer federal proposals may impact the U.S. renewable energy sector in the future. These include the federal RPS, carbon-pricing legislation, and regulations for electricity transmission and distribution. Combined with established fuel subsidies, the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) could be particularly effec - tive at making alternative transportation fuels more cost competitive. Palmer and Burtraw (2005) have found that a federal-level RPS would be more cost-effective in promoting renewables than a PTC or a carbon cap-and-trade policy. Critics of a federal RPS point out that it favors renewables over other sources, notably nuclear and coal with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), that could also deliver low-carbon electricity. A state’s RPS can be more stringent than a federal renewable energy man- date. This is significant because a state with a large consumer market that adopts relatively stringent environmental regulations can influence the enactment of those regulations on a national level. For example, a relatively stringent CAFE (fuel economy) regulation in California is a strong incentive for auto manufacturers to adopt the standard for all U.S. vehicles in order to gain access to the large California market.

OCR for page 113
 RENEWAbLE ENERGy POLICIES, MARKETS, AND DEPLOyMENT On February 13, 2009, the U.S. Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), commonly referred to as the U.S. stimulus package. ARRA includes economy-wide funding but does have some specific provisions that support renewable deployment. New federal funding was made available through: • cash grants in lieu of investment tax credits under a program administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury • loan guarantees underwritten by the U.S. Department of Energy Approximately $43 billion of ARRA funds were dedicated to “clean energy” projects, and $36.7 billion of this is being administered by DOE. Of that sum, $4.5 billion is to be spent on smart grid applications, $4 billion for loan guar- antees, $2.3 billion in manufacturing tax credits, and $2.5 billion for research, development, and demonstration within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The RPS, the most often used state-level policy to encourage renewable energy development, is complemented by tax credits and other incentives. How- ever, some states have not mandated RPS because of scarce renewable energy resources, opposition to the federal expansion of electricity transmission, and interstate competition. Some states, notably California, have also implemented feed-in-tariffs, and a national feed-in-tariff continues to be a subject of debate but has, to date, not been formally proposed in Congress. Green-power marketing (i.e., marketing and selling power from renew - able sources to end-users) is one factor to consider when introducing a policy that targets renewables. These voluntary purchases of power represented about 0.6 percent of all electricity sales in 2008 (Bird et al., 2009). It is still unclear whether introducing new renewable energy policy will stimulate new markets for renewables or simply recapture the already present interest in this voluntary market. Impact and Challenges Tables 5-3 and 5-4 list policies that directly and indirectly impact renewable energy production and consumption in the United States. Figures 5-1 and 5-2 illustrate the different levels of federal incentives for energy development from 1950 to 2006. These figures demonstrate that the fossil-fuel sector (particularly oil) has historically benefitted from a range of subsidies and other government incentives. Incumbent technologies in these sectors continue to be dependent on federal incentives, with an emphasis on tax policy and regulation. Figure 5-3 illustrates the impacts of the federal production tax credit (PTC), a key driver in the U.S. renewable energy sector—it has cycled on and off, thus making it dif - ficult to plan for large-scale projects.

OCR for page 113
TABLE 5-3 Direct Renewable Energy Policies in the United States  Dates Policy Level Sector Form About 1997–present Renewable States and Electricity Command- The standard varies significantly depending on the state (typically 10 Portfolio territories and-control to 30 percent) and the type of renewable energy source. Adding all the Standard (44) (with trading) RPSs for the different states shows that 60GW of renewables will be (RPS) placed online over the next decades. 1994–present Production Primarily Electricity Financial Mandates 2.1 cent tax credit per KWh of electricity generated in the Tax Credit federal incentives first 10 years of new renewables projects. 1986–present Modified Federal Electricity Financial By allowing a wide variety of renewable electricity assets to be Accelerated incentives declared as depreciating rapidly, this system indirectly reduces the tax Cost- burden on entities building renewable energy capacity. In some cases Recovery this can be very significant. Prior to MACRS (from 1975–1983), a System similar system, the Accelerated Cost Recovery System (ACRS), was in (MACRS) place. 2005–present Investment Federal Electricity Financial This mandates a 30 percent tax credit for solar power, fuel cells, and Tax Credit incentives small wind <100 kW, and 10 percent for geothermal, micro turbines, (ITC) and combined heat and power. Note that the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 allowed all PTC eligible renewable sources to receive the ITC in-lieu of the PTC. 2005–present Renewable Primarily Transport Command- The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act mandated a Fuel Federal and-control substantial increase in the use of biofuels over the level established Standard (with trading) by the Energy Act of 2005. The Energy Act of 1992 gave DOE the (RFS) authority to require alternative fuels, but only in certain federal fleets. 1997–present Public States Electricity Financial Several states tax electricity and use a portion of the tax revenues to benefit incentives fund a wide variety of projects and subsidies for renewable power. funds

OCR for page 113
Dates Policy Level Sector Form About 1978–present Tax credits, Federal, Primarily Financial Every U.S. state except Arkansas provides some form of financial grants, states (49) electricity incentives assistance to renewable energy, although the nature and extent of this rebates, assistance varies considerably. Tax exemptions are a common theme. low-interest loans Varies State goals States (5) Primarily Goal setting Five states that have not established binding renewable energy targets electricity have established nonbinding goals instead. 2009 25 percent Federal All Goal President Obama has called for the United States to meet 25 percent of renewable its energy needs with renewable energy by 2025. energy by 2025 2009 Doubling Federal All Goal President Obama has called for the United States to double its renewable production of renewable energy in 3 years. energy in 3 years 1978–present Renewable Federal Transport Financial Federal subsidies for renewable fuels have gone through various fuel incentives permutations since the Energy Tax Act of 1978. The current level is subsidies 45 cents per gallon for corn ethanol, 65 cents per gallon for cellulosic ethanol, and $1 per gallon for biodiesel. 

OCR for page 113
40 ThE POWER OF RENEWAbLES be needed to finance projects in the early stages of commercialization. Whereas consumer products can follow the traditional road map to commercialization, the homogeneity of electricity will make it difficult to market renewable energy to premium-paying early adopters. Electricity is the same whether it is generated from low-carbon renewable sources or coal-fired power plants. Renewable energy certificates (RECs) have been the preferred tool to overcome this limitation. RECs represent the “unbundled” attributes of electricity generated from renew - able resources, and these attributes are then sold or traded independently of the electricity (Holt and Bird, 2005). RECs are now widely used to comply with a state’s RPS, as part of a green power marketing strategy for retail consumers, and as a source of additional revenue to support renewable energy projects (Holt and Wiser, 2007). Arguably, tax equity has been the most powerful recent driver in renewables development in the United States, through production and investment tax credits, which help project developers access financing. In addition, the renewable energy sector can benefit from the direct infusion of public funds for newly commercial - ized projects (Murphy and Edwards, 2003). Government support can be used to establish or expand existing public finance mechanisms (PFMs) (UNEP, 2008), which, although they vary in structure and focus, all attempt to mobilize commer- cial financing and build commercially sustainable markets for renewable energy projects. Table 5-11 lists some of the most common PFMs currently used in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors and summarizes the barriers and market segments they address. Most have been used in a variety of countries and some have track records that justify replication and scaling up. NEAR-TERM PRIORITIES TO SUPPORT DEPLOYMENT Beyond addressing environmental challenges, a sustainable market for renew- able energy offers opportunities for economic development and job growth. In addition to a solid market infrastructure, widespread deployment of renewables will require (1) deploying adequate grid technology to optimize the operating characteristics and variable output of renewable sources, and (2) developing and adopting international standards to reduce market risks. Grid Integration An effective electrical distribution system must supply uninterrupted power to demand centers that vary in scale and location. This system must balance a portfolio of energy resources that have unique performance characteristics. As renewable energy assumes a larger share of the generation portfolio, the task of balancing resources will become increasingly complex. However, at present, non-hydro renewables account for less than 2 percent of electricity generation in China and the United States, and experience in the United States and Europe sug- gests that grid operators have been able to accommodate upwards of 20 percent of

OCR for page 113
4 RENEWAbLE ENERGy POLICIES, MARKETS, AND DEPLOyMENT generation coming from non-hydro renewables without requiring storage (NAS/ NAE/NRC, 2010a). When evaluating the cost of integrating new technologies into the transmis- sion and distribution infrastructure, the cost of expanding the current grid must be taken into account. In the case of the United States, if the transmission portion of the grid were simply expanded, the estimated cost would be $188 billion (2010 dollars). If the grid were modernized in a separate initiative, this would cost an estimated $112 billion. However, if expansion and modernization were done con - currently, the cost would still be $188 billion for expansion but would be only $54 billion for modernization (a savings of $58 billion). If, in addition, the distribution system were expanded and modernized concurrently, the estimated cost savings would be $209 billion (2010 dollars) (NAS/NAE/NRC, 2009a). The deployment of renewable energy will create a need for more ancillary services, new storage technologies, and access to other dispatchable resources (e.g., natural gas) to maintain overall system reliability. These services, technolo - gies, and resources are all components of a modernized grid (also discussed in Chapter 6). In general, a modern electrical grid has the following characteristics (NETL, 2007): • It gives customers and utilities demand-management capability. The grid provides information to customers that enables them to participate in demand-response programs. • It delivers high-quality power. The system provides power that meets indus- try standards. Hydropower and natural gas-fired generation, resources that ramp up fairly quickly, can compensate for the variability of wind and solar. It would be difficult to do this with nuclear or coal-fired generation. • It has the capability of integrating distributed generation. The overall system integrates different types of distributed-generation and storage devices to complement large generating plants. A number of insights have emerged from the increasing integration of wind power into existing power systems (VTT, 2008). These include: • Larger balancing areas allow utilities to aggregate wind plants, decreasing the variability of output. On a short time scale, this translates into a smaller reserve requirement. • Optimizing existing transmission capacity, which sometimes requires upgrading or extending existing transmission, brings benefits to large-scale wind farms and provides improved system balancing services. • Integrating wind generation information (see Figure 5-7) with both real- time and updated forecasts (hourly and day ahead) will help reduce errors associated with forecasting and scheduling. Well-functioning hour-ahead and day-ahead markets can cost-effectively provide the balancing energy required of variable-output wind power plants.

OCR for page 113
TABLE 5-11 Common PFMs Used in the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Sector 4 Mechanism Description Barriers Financial Markets Sectors Credit line for Credit line provided to CFIs lack funds and have Underdeveloped financial Large-scale renewable senior debt commercial fianncial high interest rates markets with lack of liquidity, energy (RE) and energy institutions (CFIs) for and high costs for borrowing efficiency (EE); wholesale on-lending to projects in loans for energy access the form of senior debt markets Credit line for Credit line to CFIs for Debt-Equity gap, whereby Lack of liquidity in both equity Medium- and small-scale subordinated debt on-lending to projects project sponsors lack and debt markets with subordinated sufficient equity to secure repayment obligations senior debt Debt Guarantee Shares project credit High credit risks, Existence of guarantee Large-scale RE and EE (i.e., loan) risks with particularly perceived risks institutions and experience with and energy access markets CFIs credit enhancing Project loan Debt providing by CFIs unable to address the Strong political environment to Large- and medium-scale facility development finance sector enforce contracts and enable EE and RE institutions (DFIs) laws for special purpose entity directly to projects Private equity fund Equity investments in Lack of risk capital; Highly developed capital Large-scale grid- companies or projects restrictive debt-to-equity markets to allow equity connected RE; energy ratio investors to exist from investee companies Equity Venture capital Equity investments in Lack of risk capital for new Developed capital markets to Any new technology fund technology companies technology development allow eventual exits

OCR for page 113
Mechanism Description Barriers Financial Markets Sectors Carbon finance Monetization of future Lack of project Availability of underlying Large-scale RE and EE; cash flows from the development capital; lack financing for projects. Adequate program of activities advanced sale of carbon of cash flow for additional institutional capacity to host such as in energy access credits to finance project security; uncertain delivery clean development mechanism/ markets of carbon credits joint implementation (CDM/JI) projects and to enforce contracts Carbon transaction Contracting for the Lack of regulatory Availability of underlying Any GHG emissions Carbon in post-2012 purchase of carbon framework and short-term financing. Adequate institutional reduction project credits credits to be delivered compliance driver buyers capacity to host clean after 2012 development mechanism/joint implementation project and enforce contracts Project Grants “loaned” without Poorly capitalized Can be needed in any financing Any sector development grants interest or repayment developers; costly and time market context until projects are consuming development financially viable process Loan softening Grants to help CFIs Lack of FI interest in Competitive local lending Medium- and small-scale programs begin lending their own lending to new sectors; markets EE and RE capital to end-users limited knowledge of initially on concessional market demand terms Innovative Grants Inducement prizes “Ex-ante prizes” to High and risky technology Sufficient financing availability Any technology sector stimulate technology development costs and spill- to deploy winning technologies development. Unproven over effects in climate sector Source: UNEP, 2008. 4

OCR for page 113
Actual 44 Forecast Actual Forecast FIGURE 5-7 Requirements and expectations for a quality5-7.eps wind forecast. Source: Edelson, 2009. Reprinted with permission. landscape bitmap with 2 vector key boxes

OCR for page 113
45 RENEWAbLE ENERGy POLICIES, MARKETS, AND DEPLOyMENT Finally, new transmission will be required to link remote areas rich in resources. Although this is recognized as an impediment to developing some renewable energy sources, progress is under way in parts of the United States (such as the Tehachapi region in southern California) to build transmission that will serve primarily renew - ables. China has favored high-voltage (750 kV and above) transmission for its new lines and has begun building transmission that would be primarily served by large renewable power bases in the west and northwest regions, e.g., Gansu province’s construction of high-voltage lines for PV and wind. More efficient lines, cost sharing for interconnections, and advances in system flexibility, including storage, should help to mitigate concerns over new transmission costs. The financing of new transmission facilities will also require large amounts of public and private capital. Which entity bears the responsibility for financing transmission facilities varies from region to region in the United States and is governed by tariffs filed at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In some regions of the U.S., generation developers bear the full (or a large por- tion) of the financing responsibility for transmission network upgrades. In other regions generation developers are required to provide the upfront financing for network facilities and are refunded such costs after reaching commercial opera - tion. In some cases, the load serving utilities have the discretion to upfront finance the cost of network facilities on behalf of the generation developers. Regardless of “who pays” upfront for the required transmission facilities, ultimately these network upgrade costs are capitalized into the utilities’ rate bases and are reflected in transmission rates. The EPAct of 2005 included the ability for FERC to grant certain incentives to promote the development and construction of new transmission infrastruc- ture. These incentives, which can raise the rate of return on such investment to regulated utilities, and among other things, provide cost recovery to utilities if a transmission project must be abandoned for reasons outside of the control of the utility, have played an important role in the development and financing of high- profile transmission projects geared toward the interconnection of renewable resources, such as Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmis - sion Project (a $2.1 billion investment to access 4500 MW of wind, solar, and other resources). The allocation of financing responsibility can become even more complex in the case of long-distance transmission lines that cross state boundaries and control area boundaries. Thus, the “who benefits” from such facilities, in addition to the “who pays” concerns discussed previously, continue to cloud the outlook for such inter-state/inter-region transmission facilities. In 2010, FERC launched a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to address regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation issues and seek solutions to these issues.

OCR for page 113
46 ThE POWER OF RENEWAbLES Industrial Research and International Standards For both countries, the deployment of renewable energy technologies depends, at least partly, on the implementation of industry standards for manufacturing, installation, and operation. Investors may be reluctant to invest in renewable energy projects because of uncertainties about the performance of renewable energy sources. Deployment could, therefore, be easier if technical standards for product performance, manufacturing quality control, and standard grid intercon - nection have been developed and adopted (IEA, 2010e). Because of the absence of standards for transmission infrastructure, the electricity market remains frag - mented. This has created significant barriers to the deployment of renewable electricity technologies. In the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was assigned to “coordinate development of a framework that includes protocols and model standards for information management to achieve interoperability of smart grid devices and systems.” NIST has devised a two-pronged approach: (1) working groups to study various aspects of standards in grid integration, including transmission and distribution, building the grid, business, and policy; and (2) a cybersecurity coordination task group to examine issues related to data privacy. FINDINGS China’s top-down, government-mandated approach to energy policy has led to aggressive development of the renewable energy industry. Although China will continue to use coal as its primary energy source for the foreseeable future, it is evident that its renewable energy policies have stimulated the creation of a strong manufacturing sector for renewable energy, and more recently, a domestic market for deployment. Both the national and some provincial governments in China and some state governments in the United States have established goals and mandates for the share of electrical generation from renewables. However, the targets and imple- mentation mechanisms differ. Chinese policy is characterized by “outcome-based goals” set at the national level, e.g., specific national targets for share of renew - ables in generation portfolio, or share of domestically manufactured equipment in renewable power systems. This approach, augmented by subsidies, has been suc - cessful in driving substantial new Chinese manufacturing capacity in recent years. U.S. renewable policy is characterized by a greater focus on advancing specific technologies at the national level with market outcomes encouraged at the state level. This approach has been successful in driving technology development but has been less successful in supporting the buildout of manufacturing capacity. The most prominent national policy approach for renewable energy develop - ment in both China and the United States has been price support. In the United

OCR for page 113
47 RENEWAbLE ENERGy POLICIES, MARKETS, AND DEPLOyMENT States, the level of renewable energy investment has fallen when subsidies have been suspended, demonstrating the importance of price stability in an emerging renewable energy market, both for technology development and manufacturing capacity. U.S. subsidies, primarily tax breaks for producers and consumers, have been effective in driving specific technology development. China has been more effective at capturing a higher market share of renewable energy-associated manufacturing, particularly in the solar PV market and increasingly in the wind energy sector, at least partly because of general incentives for manufacturers (e.g., low-cost loans) and government-set pricing for renewable power generation. Development of renewables has suffered in the United States and China because the costs of externalities, particularly the impact of GHG emissions, are not reflected in current energy prices. Both countries set subsidy values specific to particular resources (wind, solar, etc.). Subsidy values generally are driven more by specific policy goals and objectives and remain difficult to justify by real costs of production from competing supply resources. Both countries might benefit from reorienting their policies and incentives to electricity markets (as opposed to individual technologies) and the utilities operating in these markets. Examples include: promoting time-of-use rates to better match retail prices with generation costs, encouraging advanced metering to enable more demand response, and facilitating or streamlining transmission operation and expansion. Government energy policies can have a critical impact on clean energy devel- opment, and legacy energy policy, regulations, and subsidies are key drivers in determining the success of clean energy initiatives and the achievement of green energy goals. The historical legacy of U.S. energy subsidies—and the legacy in most developed and developing economies (a pattern that continues)—often places clean energy at an economic disadvantage in the marketplace. The design of outcome-based incentives will be critical for overcoming the barriers to renewable energy and promoting more rapid, sustainable clean energy development—in both the United States and China. To maximize the effective- ness of financial incentives, they should be designed to work with other policies to address market barriers. In addition, each jurisdiction should design financial incentives to complement national and regional incentives and mandates. Finally, incentives should be provided with enough time to support planning, capital formation, and construction. In recent years, the United States and China have taken steps to include a larger share of renewable energy sources in their overall electricity generation portfolios. However, both countries face a number of challenges that warrant the attention of policy makers: the difficulty of introducing new technologies in a competitive market; finding adequate financing for long-term development; con - ducting market-enabling research that is understandable to various stakeholders; and developing government initiatives to share the risk of innovations in produc- tion and market transformation.

OCR for page 113
48 ThE POWER OF RENEWAbLES Other challenges include constraints on large-scale manufacturing and instal- lation capacity, the lack of a trained workforce, the difficulty of integrating variable-output resources into the existing electricity infrastructure and market, stiff competition in price and performance with conventional power sources, and issues related to business risk and cost. China faces one very significant additional hurdle. It must create a robust supply channel for bringing renewable energy technologies to market. The current focus in China, and to a lesser extent in the United States, appears to be on the installation of large blocks of power production plants. Widening the focus to include distributed generation, on both the community and customer levels, would have positive impacts on the electricity distribution system in both countries. With technological improvements and the rising costs of fossil fuels and nuclear power, renewables may soon be able to match the cost performance of traditional power generation sources, either in the wholesale power market or on the customer side of the meter. Consistent and supportive policies would help the developing industry in both countries, but over the long-term renewable power developers will need to focus on becoming cost-competitive with fossil fuels. Innovative financing mechanisms for renewable projects could help them overcome the challenge of being capital-intensive (compared to conventional fossil-fuel generation). Project developers could begin placing value on the risk reduction attributes of renew - able energy sources, notably the uncertainties of fossil-fuel prices and the threat of emissions regulation, when evaluating investments in new power generation. Both countries would benefit from implementing renewable-energy-based power pricing mechanisms so that costs and benefits of new technologies are shared by all market participants. They could explore market mechanisms, such as Renew - able Energy Credits, that would enable consumers to participate in the renewable power market and develop market mechanisms to enable all market participants to share in the costs and benefits of grid interconnections. Operating experience will become a valuable tool—utility and grid oper- ators in both countries have much to gain from sharing their experiences in integrating and managing larger shares of renewable power generation. Costs can come down as market participants gain experience with a new technology. Feedback to other market participants such as the technology manufacturers, installers, and regulators can be critical for reducing costs. Both countries could benefit from programs to capture performance data from renewable energy technologies operating in the field and the distribution of the data throughout the supply chain. China’s renewable power market could experience a more rapid evolution by establishing more formal and informal mechanisms to capture this organizational learning. Additionally, as the global industry grows, the United States and China can exhibit leadership by cooperating on establishing or sup - porting technical standards for the various generation technologies.

OCR for page 113
4 RENEWAbLE ENERGy POLICIES, MARKETS, AND DEPLOyMENT RECOMMENDATIONS • The United States should consider conducting a multiagency strategic assessment of U.S. renewable energy manufacturing capabilities, in alignment with U.S. innovation activities, to determine where additional capacities should be promoted. Financial support should be considered to expand the manufac - turing base for existing and near-term deployment needs through the research and demonstration of process improvements and efficiencies and the establish- ment of mechanisms to share the risk of private-sector investment in building new manufacturing capacity. In addition, targeted public/private risk-sharing programs should be considered to move technologies from concept through to manufacturing. • Cognizant organizations in China and the United States, including govern- ment agencies, international standards organizations, and professional societies should collaborate on developing technical standards and certification mecha - nisms for renewable energy technologies for: (1) product performance and manu- facturing quality control and (2) standard grid interconnection for both distributed, customer-sited resources and whole, central station resources. • China should establish national facilities with capabilities to test perform - ance and safety characteristics of complete renewable power systems and their subcomponents. Examples include testing PV systems to Underwriters Labora - tories (UL) standards or evaluating the Power Curve from a small wind turbine. • The United States and China should increase cooperation among research- The research- ers and grid operators to improve wind forecasting. Improved meteorological data and forecasting will provide more and better data on expected power output from existing wind power plants and assist with their integration into the grid .

OCR for page 113