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New voice for renewables

Renewable energy will not increase its share of energy supply until governments take a more aggressive proactive policy approach, says the International Energy Agency (IEA). The momentum for renewables has never been greater -- driven by environmental concerns, primarily over climate change -- but the base is still relatively small, says the IEA's Renewable Energy Working Party in a new report. "The Evolving Renewable Energy Market" adds little that is new to the renewable energy debate, but it identifies problems slowing the uptake of renewables and suggests some solutions, including: reduction of technology costs, innovative financing, information and training, more R&D and international co-operation. It is also significant that the IEA, an organ of the electricity establishment, is strongly advocating more public support for renewables. The report highlights the crucial relationship needed between government and the industry. Government strategies and support are essential in overcoming some of the non-technical barriers to the penetration of renewable energy in the existing power supply structure. Price will continue to be an important factor, but renewables will be hampered as long as there is no move to internalise more externalities related to traditional power generating technologies, particularly those relating to the environment, the report says.

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