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Financing investments in renewable energy : the impacts of policy design

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  • Wiser, Ryan H.
  • Pickle, Steven J.
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    Abstract

    The costs of electric power projects utilizing renewable energy technologies (RETs) are highly sensitive to financing terms. Consequently, as the electricity industry is restructured and new renewables policies are created, it is important for policymakers to consider the impacts of renewables policy design on RET financing. This paper reviews the power plant financing process for renewable energy projects, estimates the impact of financing terms on levelized energy costs, and provides insights to policymakers on the important nexus between renewables policy design and financing. We review five case studies of renewable energy policies, and find that one of the key reasons that RET policies are not more effective is that project development and financing processes are frequently ignored or misunderstood when designing and implementing renewable energy policies. The case studies specifically show that policies that do not provide long-term stability or that have negative secondary impacts on investment decisions will increase financing costs, sometimes dramatically reducing the effectiveness of the program. Within U.S. electricity restructuring proceedings, new renewable energy policies are being created, and restructuring itself is changing the way RETs are financed. As these new policies are created and implemented, it is essential that policymakers acknowledge the financing difficulties faced by renewables developers and pay special attention to the impacts of renewables policy design on financing. As shown in this paper, a renewables policy that is carefully designed can reduce renewable energy costs dramatically by providing revenue certainty that will, in turn, reduce financing risk premiums.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

    Volume (Year): 2 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 361-386

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:2:y:1998:i:4:p:361-386

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    Cited by:
    1. Shrimali, Gireesh & Nelson, David & Goel, Shobhit & Konda, Charith & Kumar, Raj, 2013. "Renewable deployment in India: Financing costs and implications for policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 28-43.
    2. Giebel, Olaf & Breitschopf, Barbara, 2011. "The impact of policy elements on the financing costs of RE investment: The case of wind power in Germany," Working Papers "Sustainability and Innovation" S11/2011, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
    3. Hooi Hooi Lean & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Will policies to promote renewable electricity generation be effective? Evidence from panel stationarity and unit root tests for 115 countries," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 15-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    4. Friebe, Christian A. & von Flotow, Paschen & Täube, Florian A., 2014. "Exploring technology diffusion in emerging markets – the role of public policy for wind energy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 217-226.
    5. Reijnders, L., 2002. "Imports as a major complication: liberalisation of the green electricity market in the Netherlands," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 723-726, July.
    6. Lüthi, Sonja & Prässler, Thomas, 2011. "Analyzing policy support instruments and regulatory risk factors for wind energy deployment--A developers' perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 4876-4892, September.
    7. Kildegaard, Arne, 2008. "Green certificate markets, the risk of over-investment, and the role of long-term contracts," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 3413-3421, September.
    8. Weisser, Daniel, 2004. "On the economics of electricity consumption in small island developing states: a role for renewable energy technologies?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 127-140, January.
    9. Ohler, Adrienne M., 2014. "Behavior of the firm under rate-of-return regulation with two capital inputs," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 61-69.
    10. Wright, Daniel G. & Dey, Prasanta K. & Brammer, John G., 2013. "A fuzzy levelised energy cost method for renewable energy technology assessment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 315-323.
    11. Lüthi, Sonja & Wüstenhagen, Rolf, 2012. "The price of policy risk — Empirical insights from choice experiments with European photovoltaic project developers," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 1001-1011.

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