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Content archived on 2024-05-14

The Implementation of new energy technologies : non-technical barriers and policy responses


This project aims to provide a better understanding of the nontechnical barriers to the implementation of Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) and to analyse the ways in which different policy instruments might help to overcome these barriers. Non-technical barriers reflect constraints on investment resulting from institutional, cultural, political, legal, planning and financial and other factors. The two main objectives are:- To develop the conceptual framework for non-technical barriers to the implementation of RETs, expanding the analysis to take into account the wider impacts such as employment, environmental and economic development effects. A practical framework will be produced, which will provide a means of identifying the non-technical barriers to specific RET proposals; - To propose measures to overcome these barriers, based on the conceptual framework.
The research focuses in particular on the implementation of wind technologies, biomass technologies and photovoltaics in 3 countries: Ireland, Sweden and the UK. However, the aim is to produce a general, practical framework which could be applied to the full range of RETs.
Technical Approach
The work programme combines a variety of research actions (survey, interviews and expert review workshops) in an approach designed to establish a framework which reflects the situation on the ground. It will develop the 'classical' model of innovation and take-up of new technologies in order to recognise that the actors concerned with RETs cannot be modelled as simple profit-maximising firms in a free market. Non-technical barriers to RETs arise as a result of a mismatch between policy interests (for example the promotion of RETs for environmental reasons, diversification of supply or employment creation) and commercial interests (profit maximisation, return on investment, etc.). The development of the conceptual framework requires a thorough analysis of these 2 'interest groups', their objectives and the context in which they operate. In some countries policy interests and commercial interests can be related to objectives of the public and private sectors respectively. However, in many countries particularly those with state-owned utilities, there is no such clear-cut distribution of roles and interests.
The framework will then be used to identify the policy measures which are appropriate for bridging the gap between the two different types of interest.

Expected Achievements and Exploitation
This project is expected to develop a conceptual framework describing the wider decision context in which RET investment decisions are made. This framework will expand the current analysis of the non-technical barriers to the uptake of RETs. In particular, the framework will take into account the wider impacts of RETs including employment, social, environmental and regional development effects. It will also expand the current understanding of qualitative issues involved in the uptake of or barriers to RETs. This framework could be used by decision makers from different backgrounds to assess the viability of RET projects in a given context.

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ECOTEC Research and Consulting Ltd
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Priesley House 28-34 Albert Street
B4 7UD Birmingham
United Kingdom

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