What outcomes are actually intended from the renewable energy policies

There are many reasons (and therefore many potential objectives) for accelerating renewable energy development. They include sustainability objectives, energy policy reform, renewable energy production, new generating capacity, indigenous fuel manufacture, greenhouse gases (GHGs) mitigation, distributed generation, increment size, energy cost and least-cost planning (internalization), energy security, new industry/manufacturing development, development of intellectual property in new technologies, job creation, rural development and nuclear phase-out.

From this basket of potential benefits, the next step is to prioritize them for the country in question. For example, the government of a small island developing state may determine that additional electrical generating capacity is its highest priority, while also being concerned about increasing dependence on fuel suppliers and volatile world prices. So the government chooses renewables to lessen external dependence and improve energy security. Furthermore, with its small economy, it is very price conscious and not so concerned about favouring one technology over another. This government wants to avoid mega-projects that create big debts and it also wants low prices for electricity. It is especially pleased if prices fall below those of its current diesel generation. The use of renewables in reducing its GHG emissions and increasing the state's sustainability levels is desirable, but the state has no legal obligations and consequently these are a low priority.

So, in this case, the country's renewable energy policy priorities, in order and beginning with the most important, will be: new generating capacity, reliability, energy security, small increment size, low-cost generation and finally sustainabil-ity objectives.

Alternatively a large European country with international GHG emissions reduction obligations might prioritize this way: energy security first, followed by GHG mitigation, job creation, nuclear phase-out and finally the development of intellectual property in new technologies. In either case, the important thing is to recognize and integrate these priorities into policy.

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