At the beginning of the 21st century, policymakers’ primary concern was the imminent scarcity of oil, and a consensus was reached that oil resources have reached their peak, and it is only a matter of time before the world shifts to alternative sources of energy. While some predicted the golden age of natural gas, others voiced the need for an accelerated shift to renewable energy (Bradshaw, Van de Graaf, & Connolly, 2019). Today, the world energy leaders’ efforts and focus are directed to power production using renewable energy sources. Luckily, such resources are becoming inexpensive to promote the transition towards sustainable energy (Amir & Khan, 2021). This study focuses on energy policies and programs for developing nations, focusing mainly on China’s 13th Five Year Plan (13th FYP) (2016-2020) for Electricity, India’s Energy Policy, and South Africa’s Renewable Energy Program (REI4P).
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China’s 13th Five Year Plan for Electricity
China’s 13th FYP is a renewable energy program adopted by the National Energy Administration in 2016,creating targets for the country’s renewable energy distribution by the end of 2020. The program’s objective was to increase China’s generation and distribution of green/non-fossil energy in overall energy use by 15 percent by 2020 and 20 percent by 2030 (Chiu, 2017). The plan also aimed to boost installed renewable power capacity to 680GW by 2020 and wind capacity to 210GW, lead renewable energy innovations, and support China’s renewable energy industry, reducing reliance on foreign companies in the sector (Heggelund, 2021). China is cited as the biggest investor in non-fossil and renewable energy globally, spending about $760 billion between 2010 and 2019, which doubled even the $356 billion US investment in the sector (Lee, Bazilian, Sovacool, Hund, Jowitt, Nguyen, & Kukoda, 2020). Study shows that as of 2022, 36percent and 40 percent of the development in solar and wind energy globally will come from China (Ward, 2017). China’s commitment to expanding production and distribution of renewable energy is driven by the potential to increase consumption due to its industrial development.
China’s 13th Five Year Plan aims to achieve sustainable development by promoting low-carbon and clean development and optimized energy structure. According to the plan, non-fossil fuel consumption should rise by more than 15%, natural gas should increase to 10% total energy, and coal consumption to fall below 58% between 2016 and 2020 (Chai, Liang, Lai, Zhang, & Wang, 2018). The program not only sets to position the country as the world’s largest generator and consumer of renewable/non-fossil energy but also sets the uttermost targets for carbon emissions and energy consumptions, and goals for improving the efficiency of industries and eliminating overcapacity and outdated production facilities, boosting renewable energy production, and developing green infrastructures (Wang, Wu, Kang, Reniers, & Huang, 2018).
India’s Energy Policy
India’s energy policy is currently targeted at ensuring that the country produces 175GW by 2022 and 500GW by 2030 from renewable energy sources. This will fulfill the country’s commitment to producing 50% of its nationwide electricity from non-fossil sources by 2030 (Lal Herbert, Arjunan, & Suryan, 2022). Study shows that India’s total investment in solar PV exceeded electricity generation by all fossil fuel sources combined. Large-scale is one of the reasons for a drastic swift to renewable energy development in India at rapidly reducing prices. India uses an auction of renewable energy products, including solar PV products, to promote electricity from renewable resources (Meyer, Tenenbaum, & Hosier, 2015). By the end of 2019, the country deployed 84 GW of grid-connected electricity from renewable sources, while the production capacity reached 366GW in the same year (Majid, 2020). With such progress, India will most likely rank among the world’s largest renewable energy producers, which promotes sustainable development.
South Africa’s Renewable Energy Program: REI4P
South Africa’s renewable energy program dubbed REI4P (Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Program) includes a plan to connect 17.80GW of renewable energy by 2030. REI4P program’s primary goal is to reduce the emission of greenhouses while minimizing dependence on non-renewable energy resources, including coal and nuclear (Herbst, & Lalk, 2015). The country is witnessing a significant swing to sustainable energy-mix, moving away from fossil fuel. About 90% of South Africa’s electricity demands are currently satisfied by coal, making the country the seventh top per capita of greenhouse gas emitters (Farquharson, 2019). Investment in renewable energy is vital to reducing the adverse socio- economic, and environmental impact of fossil fuel consumptions. Presently, renewable energy accounts for very little primary and commercial energy consumption in South Africa (Schmidt, Matsuo, & Michaelowa, 2017). Apartheid rule in SA left a legacy of irregular access to electricity and an economy stifled by load-shedding and over-reliance on coal, affecting many people’s lives (Herbst & Lalk, 2015). REI4P aim to change this standing and position the country among the world’s uses of renewable energy
Overall, both energy policies in China, India, and South Africa are geared towards developing and consuming renewable energy. This will help in ensuring energy efficiency in both countries and ensure sustainable development. The move towards renewable energy is an issue in the three countries and the world over. The world energy leaders’ efforts and focus are directed to power production using renewable energy sources.
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