Renewable Energy Loses Steam As Asian Nations Scale Back Subsidies

  • Date: 26/04/20
  • Nikkei Asian Review

TOKYO — Global capacity for renewable energy ended 17 years of growth in 2019, as Asian governments scaled back expensive subsidies designed to make their power grids greener.

The trend could continue in 2020 as the coronavirus outbreak forces factory shutdowns for producers of the necessary equipment, delaying future green power projects and slowing the international shift away from fossil fuels.

Roughly 176 gigawatts of renewable generating capacity was added worldwide last year, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency, 2% less than in 2018. New solar power capacity totaled 97.68 GW, or 2.5% less than in 2018.

Asia was a major contributor to the slowdown, with the continent adding 12% less renewable power capacity than in 2018. China and Japan logged declines of 15% and 40%, respectively.

Global renewable capacity has grown continuously since 2003, as governments introduced feed-in tariffs and other incentives to promote green energy.

But these efforts carry an upfront expense. Japan’s feed-in tariffs have cost the public more than 2 trillion yen ($18.6 billion) so far. The country plans a switch to a feed-in premium system, where renewable energy producers receive a premium on top of market rates. China has reduced government subsidies for renewables.

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