Introduction: researchers analysed that the meagre share of

Introduction:

The paper written by Reddy and Painuly strived to enrich
knowledge pertaining to the diffusion of renewable energy technologies by
identifying the stakeholders and their perspective on the barriers which hinder
the diffusion of renewable energy technologies in India, primarily focusing on
Mumbai.

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The researchers identify an essential characteristic of
sustainable energy to be the ability to provide the desired services without
exhausting the resource in itself, thus also making it a sustainable energy.
The need to shift to renewable energy technologies to meet energy demands and
reduce the unfavourable effects on the environment by the usage of the current
methods has been highlighted.

India, given its size and diverse landscape, is home to
several renewable resources, thereby making it a perfect adopter of renewable
energy technologies. Despite the advantages of renewable energy technologies
and the extensive availability of raw material, the rate of adoption of
renewable energy technologies has been staggeringly low. The researchers
analysed that the meagre share of renewable energy technologies in the energy
field was accounted to the changes surrounding the development of the
technology rather than the actual performance.

To identify the various barriers that restricted the adoption
of renewable energy technologies, the opinions of various stakeholders present
in the entire cycle were brought forth with the help of surveys. The main stake
holders identified were the residents of Mumbai, Industrial firms and
Commercial establishments. Renewable energy technologies in question were
restricted to Solar Energy, namely solar water heaters and Wind Energy.

The barriers that hinder the adoption of renewable energy
technologies were identified and grouped into six categories –

1.     
Awareness
and Information

2.     
Financial
and Economic

3.     
Technical

4.     
Market

5.     
Institutional
and Regulatory

6.     
Behavioural

The survey which targeted the stakeholders required them to
rank the barriers based on their severity following which the scores were
normalised. Upon analysis it was observed that the stakeholders identified the
barriers with different intensity of importance.

HOUSEHOLDS:

80 residential households were contacted of which 66 chose to
respond with the head of the house answering the questionnaire. Financial issues were raised as the
primary barrier which was then followed by the lack of market and deficiency of awareness
of information in second and third place respectively. Apart from the cost
of installation, members were dissatisfied with the service offered by the
Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA), which accounted for 75% of
installations. The availability of skilled labour force and technology
limitations were also repetitively mentioned as barriers.

INDUSTRIES:

In the Industrial sector, ten firms were randomly selected
from categories including iron and steel, chemicals, textiles, engineering,
paper, pharmaceuticals, glass, metallurgy, etc. The firms identified carried
out activities involving large amount of water and heating. The main barrier
drawn out by the firms was technical issues.
The high maintenance cost and the lifespan of the solar water heaters were
questioned. Lack of expertise on the institutional
end was also a highly noticed barrier. As for the economics, the firms debate on the acquisition of solar water
heaters for such a high initial cost. Firms also affirmed their extensive
knowledge on the field that they have received through the suppliers of solar
water heaters, newspapers, exhibitions and trade fairs.

COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENTS:

Commercial establishments responded with sixty percent having
already installed solar water heaters. The majority owned the property thereby
making it easy to install solar water heaters. Despite already having installed
solar water heaters, majority pointed market
imperfection as the most important barrier, owing to lack of information made
visible. Financial barriers were
identified as the second important barrier followed by technical discomfort. Most owners expressed their dissatisfaction
with the performance of solar water heaters. The reduction in time taken to
heat water during the winter posed itself as a key issue. Lack of
professionalism and delayed response time from the agency in charge of
installing the solar water heaters were also noted to be issues.

WIND ENERGY
DEVELOPERS:

Ten wind
energy developers responded to the questionnaire which was sent out to twenty
five wind energy developers in total. Several barriers were highlighted with
the primary barrier being issues related to information. Problems pertaining land acquisition formalities, required clearances, incentive plans,
retrieval of incentives from government agencies have been indicated. Obscurity
in access to finance composed the
financial barrier. Wind energy developers accentuated the role of the
government and the lack of sensitivity thereof to the concerns raised by the
developers in inclusion to the tax schemes and changing depreciation norms.

POLICY
EXPERTS:

The final
category of stakeholders comprised of equipment manufacturers, policy makers,
energy analysts, government functionaries and planners. A significant amount of
members stated that government policies acted as the main barrier for the
diffusion of renewable energy technologies. The high cost of wing energy
generation in comparison to the relatively lower costs of the existing power
generation avenues was questioned. Ambiguity in relation to the benefits,
selling of surplus power and low incentive potential act as important economic barriers. Institutional barriers primarily due to the unprofessional
approach towards the existing set up account to hinder the diffusion of renewable
energy technologies. Efforts to set up demonstration projects to present information and awareness was highly
encouraged.

On analysing
the responses of the stakeholders, the economic
viability or cost of the project was commonly posed as the main barrier. Technical and institutional barriers were also found to be on the higher scale.

GAPS:

The renewable
energy technologies were perceived to be uncomfortable due to the high
investment, lack of knowledge of the risks involved and the time taken to
retrieve the initial costs. The current tax policies within India work against renewable
energy technologies. The provision of subsidies as incentives instead of
monetary assistance instigates consumers to question the ever changing
government policies. The lack of regulation of access and cost of transaction
regarding natural renewable resources in comparison to the natural depletable
resources poses difficulties in the diffusion of renewable energy technologies.

Based on the
Eco-Innovation scoreboard, Germany leads in the acceptance of renewable energy
technologies followed by Luxembourg and Finland. The implementation of the
Renewables Energies Act in 1991 in Germany and the German Resource Efficiency
Programme in 2012 have played an important role in the transition to a more
sustainable energy production system.  

The research
conducted by Jacobsson and Lauber in 2006, extensively explains the diffusion
of renewable energy technologies in Germany over a period of time pertaining to
the policy of energy system transformation and politics. The summary of the
research in interest is as follows:

Since
Germany was one of the industrial states without oil resources and no large oil
corporation of its own (Karlsch and Stokes, 2003), it relied on high amounts of
domestic coal and then shifted to nuclear energy. The energy crises that
occurred in the 1970s led Chancellor Helmut Schmidt to intensify the use of
nuclear energy. This was met with anti-nuclear and environmental movements in
the 1970s and 1980s respectively. The movements further gave rise to the first
large green party in Europe. The public favoured the encouragement to use
renewable energy over the existing trend of nuclear energy. The high demands of
the public pressurized the government to support the development of renewable
energy technology.

Renewable
energy technology being a new market, was welcomed by people of different
stakes who were keen of further exploring and developing the new technology.
Even the minimal support from the government such as marginal change in the
R&D policy was highly favoured. This led to the formation of a new market
and witnessed the entry of new firms. The value of the initial stage of
diffusion of renewable energy technology did not lie in the rate of diffusion
or the alteration of existing structures but in ideation of new opportunities
and possibilities of the untapped source for energy generation.

During the
late 1980s, the acid rain in Chernobyl and climate change resulted in demands
to change from the public by the parliamentary groups of political parties who
were aberrantly united on this issue. These parties learned to pressurize the
government and in certain cases, bypass it as there was a “green majority” in
the German parliament (Andersen, 1997). The demands of the parliamentary groups
led to the actual formation of the new market. Large demonstration programmes
and the 1990 Feed-in Law which provided high incentives to the investors who
invested in renewable energy technology, paved way to disrupt the old structure
of the energy industry. These changes in the institutional framework enabled
the rapid diffusion predominantly of the wind power systems. Despite the views
of most conservatives on renewable energy technology being a complimentary
energy source, the credibility of renewable energy systems played to the
advantage of the parliamentary groups in the political arena.

When the
then established Ministry of Economic Affairs decided to roll back the Feed-in
law, it was opposed by the coalition which benefited from the wind energy. This
advocacy coalition was “powerful enough to maintain regulatory continuity – one
of the key criteria of success in this area”(Haas et al., 2004), thereby were
able to shape the regulatory framework.