Recent announcements in the UK and across the rest of Europe seem to be ushering in a new era of “subsidy-free” renewables, which can be deployed without government support. Yet “subsidy-free” is a nebulous phrase that means different things to different people. In fact, many of the “subsidy-free” schemes announced over the past 12 months would not meet the purest interpretations of the term. While the arrival of subsidy-free renewables means zero-carbon electricity at reduced costs for consumers, it is not without challenges. Overcoming the higher cost of financing subsidy-free schemes is one hurdle; managing variable renewables on the grid is another. Meanwhile, governments must weigh the appeal of hoping the market delivers zero-carbon electricity without policy support, against the risks of failing to meet other priorities. For the UK, this includes legally binding climate change targets.
Carbon Brief 27th March 2018 read more »