Currently, 80% of global energy needs or 66% of power supply are fossil fuel-based. Global energy systems currently represent some 60% of total current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In a business as usual scenario, the world’s energy needs will increase by almost 60% in 2030. Renewable energy provided an estimated 19% of global final energy consumption in 2012 and can be significantly up-scaled through adapted energy policies. Governments need to address the many market barriers and create the right enabling environment for the widespread deployment of renewable energies. In many countries, the growth in renewables over the past years was catalyzed by the adoption and implementation of a range of renewable energy policies, including use of feed-in tariffs amongst other policy tools.
In the renewables sector, large scale private investment, especially in developing countries, is typically hampered by policy and institutional barriers. The scale of financing calls for private investment, which itself relies on stable frameworks and financial guarantees. Feed-in Tariffs have been mostly used in developed countries, with rising interest on the part of developing countries.
A well-designed and transparent Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme is a valuable tool to accelerate the deployment of renewables in developing countries, by encouraging investment by independent power producers. FITs, if chosen, need to be structured so as to complement existing energy policy portfolios. Timely and appropriate support to those developing countries would enable them to choose whether, how and when to effectively use FITs.
The UNEP FIT project aims at supporting developing countries to make informed policy decisions about the “whether”, “how” and “when” of FITs in their endeavor to accelerate the deployment of renewables whilst ensuring their sustainability.
In 2012, UNEP published a report entitled, Feed-in Tariffs as a Policy Instrument for Promoting Renewable Energies and Green Economies in developing countries. The UNEP report is intended to serve as a guide for policy makers in developing countries to make informed policy decisions of FITs and to support nationally appropriate policy measures to scale up renewable energy.
UNEP supported the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to develop draft feed- in tariff policy and legal instrument.
The UNEP FIT project contributed to raising the level of awareness on renewable energy and to building a strong political will to promote renewable energy. This is symbolically very strong, as Trinidad and Tobago is the largest oil and gas exporter in the Caribbean.