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Political

In the short term, the prospects for renewables will continue to be linked to perceptions of the need to acknowledge and react to the danger of global warming. The EU has made another attempt at a carbon tax, but progress is slow. The turmoil of privatisation, deregulation and restructuring of the electricity industry continues unabated, with markets increasingly unstable and unpredictable. In the US, California has agreed a restructuring framework and in Europe the EU has agreed loose guidelines for its Internal Energy Market. The full impact on wind of such market changes remains to be seen. Massive power outages in the US and Malaysia have raised awareness of the need for cast iron laws on security of supply to underpin the new market-economy approach. If similar laws are applied to permissible levels of pollution, the benefits of free markets for renewables look ever more promising.

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