The Green Revolution

The Tipping Point for Clean Energy

Energy Generation

For decades now several options have existed to generate clean energy — solar, wind, geothermal and others. However, these technologies have all been handicapped by being far more expensive than traditional approaches. Despite decades of investment and research, costs per kilowatt hour (KWH) have remained stubbornly high. Despite generous global subsidies, the high unit cost of generating electricity through these technologies has constrained their deployment — particularly globally, where emerging markets governments cannot afford the generous subsidy programs of the Western World.

Energy Storage

Another historical challenge for clean energy adoption has been the requirement for grid storage. Clean energy — unlike coal or oil production — is very uneven. The sun shines for a few hours a day and it is more windy on some days than others. Because of this, there are times where the grid generates more energy than required and times it generates less. To bridge this gap, electric grids have to be redesigned to facilitate clean energy, with significant investment in grid storage required.

Regulations

The final piece that will drive a clean energy revolution over the next decades is regulation and subsidies by governments. Governments have three immensely powerful tools at their disposal to stimulate shifts to clean energy — procurement, taxes and subsidies.

  • All EVs in France are subject to a tax exemption from CO2-related taxes. France has subsidies of up to €7,000 for households buying EVs below €45,000 and a scrappage scheme of up to €5,000 for households and €2,500 for individuals.
  • Spain has reduced tax by 75pc for EVs in big cities like Madrid and Barcelona, and a scheme which subsidises the purchase of EVs by €4,000–5,000 depending on if a vehicle seven years or older is scrapped.
  • In Italy, EVs are tax exempt for five years from registration and get a 75pc reduction in tax after that. Italy also has a bonus-malus scheme, where vehicles are subsidised up to €6,000 per car emitting less than 70g of CO2/km, but penalised by €2,500 per car if they emit above 250g of CO2/km

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