Barriers to Renewable Energy and Probable Solutions

Renewable energy technologies have an enormous potential and that potential can be realized at a reasonable cost. Market research shows that many customers will purchase renewable power even if it costs somewhat more than conventional power. However, both economic theory and experience point to significant market barriers and market failures that will limit the development of renewables unless special policy measures are enacted to encourage that development. These hurdles can be grouped into four categories. The Cost has been an obvious barrier. Renewable technologies essentially capitalize fuel costs. The cost of the equipment that uses "free fuel" is more expensive than the cost of equipment that uses hydrocarbon fuel. Thus you pay more upfront, and less to operate. Financing is today's problem, not cost. The savings on time and cost that clean energy entrepreneurs and design teams are reporting is astounding and may be the key to reducing the barriers to entry for low carbon solutions. A barrier facing community-based renewable energy is capital – upfront cash to buy a solar array or wind turbine. And the biggest cause is securities law and regulations, intended to prevent fraud like perpetrated by Bernie Madoff and others that makes pooling capital very difficult for groups of interested local power investors. The federal or state rules often come with high compliance costs or significant limitations that hinder most efforts to raise community capital.

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