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Renewables 2012 Global Status Report | REN21

Renewables 2012 Global Status Report | REN21

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At least 109 countries had some type of renewable power
policy by early 2012, up from the 96 countries reported
in the GSR 2011. More than half of these countries are
developing countries or emerging economies. Of all the
renewable electricity policies employed by national and

state/provincial governments, feed-in-tariffs (FIT) and
renewable portfolio standards (RPS) are the most com-

(See Table 3, pages 70–72.)
Also called premium payments, advanced renewable
tariffs, and minimum price standards, the FIT is the most
widely used policy type in the electricity sector, having
been adopted by at least 65 countries and 27 states/
provinces as of early 2012. (See Reference Table R12.)
Four countries and two states/provinces enacted new
FITs in 2011 and early 2012. The Netherlands initiated
a new feed-in premium system of grant allocations
targeting renewable electricity, combined heat and

04POlICy laNdSCaPE








Total (EU-27)


















United Kingdom



Slovak Republic


Czech Republic






Baseline for 2005
(as reference)
Existing in 2010
Target for 2020

















See Endnote 17
for this section.

FIGuRE 21. Eu RENEwablE ShaRES OF FINal ENERGy, 2005 aNd 2010, wITh TaRGETS FOR 2020



power (CHP), and biogas projects; Syria enacted a new
FIT to complement the 2010 renewable energy law; and
both the Palestinian Territories and Rwanda adopted
FITs in early 2012.19

At the state/provincial level, Nova
Scotia (Canada) introduced a Community Feed-in Tariff
(in addition to an existing quota policy) to support
small-scale, locally owned renewable energy projects;
and the U.S. state of Rhode Island implemented a limited
FIT (in addition to a quota policy) to support distributed
generation projects.20
Other governments were in the process of implement-
ing new FITs or considering their enactment. In early
2011, Uganda implemented a FIT with technology-
differentiated tariffs to be applied over a 20-year period
but adjusted annually with regard to annual capacity
caps increasing out to 2014.21

Soon after the Fukushima
nuclear accident, Japan enacted legislation to instigate a
FIT for solar PV and wind, and created a special parlia-
mentary committee to determine how to best achieve
implementation in 2012.22

(See Sidebar 6, page 69.)
Most FIT policy activities in 2011 and early 2012 involved
revisions to existing FITs, in response to strong growth
and declining costs, among other factors. Countries that
extended existing FITs include, in Asia: China doubled its
surcharge for solar and other renewables, implemented
a FIT for non-tendered solar PV projects, and announced
FITs for large solar PV plants; Indonesia required the
state-owned utility to purchase geothermal electricity

at a fixed price, and increased tariffs for biomass power;

Malaysia allowed households owning renewable systems
under the Small Renewable Energy Programme (SREP) to
convert support into a new FIT for solar PV, mini hydro,
and biomass and biogas; and Pakistan adopted a novel
two-tier system of FITs for wind projects of 5–250 MW
whereby domestically owned companies are paid a higher
tariff than foreign developers.23
In Europe, Italy agreed on a hydro FIT for electricity
produced in Serbia and imported; Bulgaria enacted
higher tariffs for roof-mounted solar PV and lower
ones for ground-mounted; Portugal enacted a new
micro-generation law for systems below 20 kW up to an
annual cap of 50 MW; and Romania enacted a new FIT
for projects smaller than 1 MW.24

At the state/provincial
level, the Australian Capital Territory re-opened the
micro-category for solar systems below 30 kW; and the
U.S. state of Hawaii approved the third phase of its FIT
for small wind and solar power projects.25
Other increases in tariff payments in 2011 and early
2012 included: Germany for offshore wind, geothermal,
and biomass; the U.K. for micro-power generation; Serbia
for all qualifying renewables; and Turkey for wind, hydro,

geothermal, solar PV, CSP, and biomass and landfill gas,

with bonus payments for local manufacture.26

However, some countries and states revised FIT pay-
ments (particularly for solar PV) downwards. France
reduced FIT support for solar PV through the implemen-
tation of a capacity cap, with the largest cuts for systems
of more than 100 kW in capacity (now subject to a ten-
dering system).27

Additional cuts in France saw the exist-
ing FIT rate for small-scale solar PV systems lowered,
while a moratorium was placed on the approval of new
solar PV projects.28

Germany reduced its solar PV tariffs
several times in 2011 and early 2012, and introduced
monthly tariff reduction.29

Italy set capacity caps for new
solar PV systems larger than 1 MW, with automatic tariff
adjustments based on the rate of installation, effective
from 2013.30

In early 2012, Greece reduced tariffs by
12.5% for systems up to 100 kW and those on non-
interconnected islands.31

The Slovak Republic eliminated

financial support for wind and rooftop solar PV projects
(<100 kW).32

Switzerland cut solar PV tariffs and plans

further regular cuts.33

Portugal indefinitely suspended
the issuing of new licenses for projects benefiting from

its FIT, and Spain halted all new FIT applications in early
2012 as it sought to reform its national energy system.34
FIT payments vary widely among technologies and
countries but are generally trending downwards.35
(See Sidebar 7, page 74.)
In some European countries, FIT revisions—particularly
those introducing retroactive changes—resulted in consid-
erable controversy and sometimes even in legal dispute.36
There are many variations in FIT design (see Sidebar
6 in GSR 2011); support levels also vary widely. The
more mature technologies of wind, geothermal, and
hydropower tend to have most of the tariffs concentrated
towards the lower end of the range. (See Figure 22, page
74.) Solar PV systems of less than 30 kW in capacity have
historically had the highest tariffs due to their relatively
higher capital costs, but the gap is narrowing as manu-
facturing costs and market prices decline.
Outside of Europe, China announced significant reduc-
tions in solar FITs with the aim of promoting sustained
and steady development of the domestic industry; Israel
reduced solar and wind tariffs, although it increased the
eligible project size and raised caps on total installations;
and Uruguay curtailed its support for biomass power.37

In North America, Oregon (one of five U.S. states with a

FIT) reduced its “solar payment option” tariffs for on-site
generation; Nova Scotia (Canada) reduced tariffs for
large wind (>50 kW) by about 4%; and in early 2012,

Ontario (Canada) reduced significantly its wind and solar

PV tariffs.38

In addition, South Africa replaced its FIT
system with a competitive bidding programme.39
The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) or “quota”i

another common policy existing at the national level in
18 countries and in at least 58 jurisdictions at the state,


i - A quota/RPS is an obligation (mandated and not voluntary) placed by a government on a utility company, group of companies, or consumers
to provide or use a predetermined minimum share from renewables of either installed capacity, electricity generated, or electricity sold. A pen-
alty may or may not exist for non-compliance. Quota/RPS policies are also known as “renewable electricity standards,” “renewable obligations,”

and “mandated market shares,” depending on the jurisdiction. Quota/RPS policies can be linked with certificate schemes to add flexibility by

enabling mandated entities (utilities) to meet their obligations through trading.


04POlICy laNdSCaPE

provincial, or regional level, including in the United
States, Canada, and India. (See Reference Table R13.)
Only Israel enacted a new quota law in 2011, setting
requirements for the addition of 110 MW of on-site gen-
eration from decentralised renewable systems, as well
as up to 800 MW of centralised wind turbines, 460 MW
of large solar systems, and 210 MW of biogas and waste
generation plants, all to be grid-connected by 2014.40


the United States, 29 states plus the District of Columbia,
Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands have RPS
policies, and eight other states and two U.S. territories
have non-binding goals.41

While no states enacted new
RPS laws in 2011, at least three revised existing policies:
California changed its “20% by 2010” renewable electric-
ity mandate to 20% by 2013, 25% by 2016, and 33% by
2020; New Jersey lowered the solar carve-out under its
existing RPS; and Illinois added a distributed genera-
tion requirement.42

In addition, Indiana established a
voluntary RPS for 4% renewable electricity by 2013 and
10% by 2025.43
Quota policies are often combined with mandates for
utilities to meet their obligations through the trading of

certificates. In 2011, India launched a new Renewable
Energy Certificate (REC) scheme that is linked to its

existing quota policies, and Romania revised the rates for
its existing RECs programme.44
Across the policy landscape, many other types of poli-
cies are being used to promote renewable electricity,

including public competitive bidding for fixed quantities

of renewable electric capacity. In Latin America, Brazil
had a new round of competitive bidding for 20-year
contracts for wind and biomass power projects and 30
years for hydroelectric; Peru held auctions for 412 MW
of hydro, agricultural residues, wind, and solar power
projects in 2010, and for a further 210 MW in 2011;
and Uruguay held a successful tender resulting in three
wind power projects totalling 192 MW in capacity.45


Africa, Egypt moved ahead with a bidding process for the
construction of a single wind farm to provide 1,000 MW
of new capacity by 2016; and South Africa replaced its
REFIT programme with a new procurement programme
for independent power producers (IPPs).46

The 2011
Renewable Energy Bid tender issued by South Africa’s
Department of Energy was for 3,725 MW of renewable
electricity, representing the largest order of renewables
in the world.47

It includes bids for 200 MW of CSP with
the aim to reach 1,000 MW installed in the near future.48

In Europe, France and Italy modified existing FIT laws

to include tenders for large-scale installations.49

And the

Indian state of Gujarat will offer projects on a direct allot-

ment basis with a fixed tariff over 25 years as opposed

to the reverse bidding process that has been followed
by the states of Rajasthan and Karnataka as well as the
National Solar Mission.50

Net meteringii

laws now exist at the national level in at
least 14 countries, in eight Canadian provinces, and in
43 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto

New net metering policies were enacted during
2011 in the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Spain.52
Several other types of government support were enacted
or revised during 2011. In North America, for example,
the U.S. state of California restored funding to help

finance solar installations at local schools and authorised

continued collection of funds for the Self-Generation
Incentive Program (SGIP) through the end of 2014;
Vermont established two funds to support in-state PACE
(Property Assessed Clean Energy) programmes; and
Ontario (Canada) amended legislation to exempt most
renewable energy installations from property tax.53
Australia announced a fund to support clean energy
projects, including renewables, as part of a carbon
reduction plan.54

Ukraine introduced tax exemptions for
renewable energy companies, but has also restricted

qualification for the green tariff to customers who

locally source at least 30% (increasing to 50% in 2014)
of materials, works, and services contributing to their
renewable energy project.55

And the Indian state of
Rajasthan developed a portfolio of policy measures to
expand solar project deployment, including exemption
from electricity duty, a levy on electricity sales to support
solar parks larger than 1,000 MW and related transmis-
sion infrastructure, and guaranteed access to the grid

and to sufficient water.56
Countries that reduced their fiscal support policies in

2011 and early 2012 included China, which removed
subsidies for domestic wind turbine manufacturers
now that they can better compete internationally; India,
which in April 2012 suspended accelerated depreciation

for wind farms, first enacted in 1993/94; and the United

States, where federal grants (introduced as part of the

financial stimulus package in early 2009) expired in late


The Netherlands’ subsidy for co-firing of biomass
in coal-fired power plants ended, but it may be replaced
by mandatory co-firing legislation.58

After numerous
cuts to tariff payments in 2011, in January 2012, Spain

announced a complete moratorium on financial support

for all new renewable energy projects.59
In addition to promotion policies, governments offered a
range of measures to support research, development, and
deployment. Programmes announced in 2011 include:
Scotland budgeted USD 54 million (GBP 35 million) to
support production of full-scale prototypes of next-
generation offshore wind turbines; the EU dedicated a

specific budget line for wind energy R&D; and the United

States pledged grants and loans of at least USD 196 mil-
lion for solar, offshore wind, and small- to medium-scale
hydropower projects.60

ii - Net metering, also called “net billing,” enables self-generated power used on-site to offset electricity purchases. Any excess power is sold to
the grid for a pre-determined price.



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