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Market Diffusion of Renewable Energy Innovation in China and Switzerland (DIFFREN.CH)

abstract Market diffusion of renewable energy innovation can be an important contribution to Sustainable Development in both China and Switzerland. Over 90 % of Chinese and more than 80 % of Swiss primary energy demand is supplied by non-renewable resources. Both countries have realized the need for change. Switzerland has ratified the Kyoto protocol and is currently discussing national CO2 legislation. More specifically with regard to renewables, Swiss parliament is currently considering the introduction of official targets and financial support for renewable energy. Switzerland once used to be the world leader in installed photovoltaic capacity per capita in the early 1990s, but now lags Germany and Japan, where strong public policy support has led to dynamic market growth for renewable energy. China passed a new renewable energy law last year that has been implemented as of January 1, 2006. The law provides a feed-in tariff (similar to the successful German model) and also supports rural uses of renewable energy. The new Chinese legislation takes a comprehensive approach to promoting renewables, including a long-term development plan, R&D, geographic resource surveys, technology standards, and building codes for integrating solar hot water into new construction. The official target for the electricity sector is to supply 10% of capacity from renewables by 2010 and 20 % by 2020. The 10% target translates into installation of about 60 GW of "new" renewables total by 2010, which is about three to four times the total power generation capacity installed in Switzerland.

Given these ambitious targets, and against the background of the mixed success that countries around the world have had in facilitating market introduction of renewable energy, there appears to be a strong case for social science research that helps to increase our understanding of the drivers and barriers for diffusion of innovation in the energy sector, and the lessons that can be learned for decision makers in industry and public administration. The differences and similarities between China and Switzerland, as well as the recent dynamic development in this sector in both countries and the strong economic linkages between them, provide a unique opportunity for joint research.
   
keywords Renewable Energy; Diffusion of Innovation; China; Switzerland; Energy Policy; Solar Energy; Biomass; Wind Energy; International Collaboration
   
homepage http://www.iwoe.unisg.ch/china
partner Tsinghua University, Beijing: Institute of Energy, Environment, and Economy, Prof. Zhang Xiliang
type fundamental research project
status completed
start of project 2006
end of project 2007
principal Swiss National Science Foundation
additional informations
topics Renewable Energy; Diffusion of Innovation; China; Switzerland; Energy Policy; Solar Energy; Biomass; Wind Energy; International Collaboration
methods Workshop
contact Rolf Wüstenhagen