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Chapter 4: Policy matters Chapter 4: Policy matters

Germany is the developed nation offering the most favorable renewable energy policies, but what lessons does it offer countries where policies aren't keeping up with the pace of change?

Key messgaes

  • For 60 percent of respondents, Germany’s policies are the most favorable among advanced economies for investment in renewables. This places Germany ahead of other countries by a wide margin, with the UK — which
    comes in second — cited by only 23 percent.
  • The US is the country with the least favorable policies among advanced economies for promoting investment in renewable energy, according to 43 percent of respondents. This should come as no surprise, given the current administration’s recent actions, such as withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
  • According to 41 percent of respondents, subsidies are the most important measure for driving investment in renewables. Both tax incentives (32 percent) and direct investment (27 percent) were also highlighted.


Germany is the clear winner among advanced economies when it comes to promoting investment in renewable energy, according to 60 percent of respondents. Germany has supported renewable technologies through its Energiewende policy framework for more than 7 years.

France, while fourth on the survey's favorable policy list, was cited by only 3 percent of respondents.

Regulatory watersheds -- such as authorization hurdles and the length of the development periods -- may be a factor, according to KPMG in France's Charles Abbey.

"French authorities have provided consistent support to the development of renewables but certain regulatory hurdles have slowed down the development of renewable compared to Germany and the UK. But now, with climate change matters high on the agenda of the new government, there are encouraging and renewed commitments” - KPMG in France's Charles Abbey.

Policy obstacles

The US has the least favorable policies among advanced economies for promoting investment in renewable energy, according to 43 percent of respondents. Japan is highlighted as unfavorable by 30 percent, while 13 percent point to Australia and 8 percent say France.

“The US has blocked progress of companies expanding in renewable energy by blocking the development of different programs. Projects that were operational were stopped and the tax benefits provided by the government were reduced. This has stalled the growth of renewable energy,” says the chief corporate development officer of a US-based renewable developer.

Japan -- which introduced a feed-in-tariff (FIT) system to encourage renewable generation in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster -- is also one of the countries highlighted as having the least favorable policies for promoting investment. The principal of a Hong Kong-based fund says: “Japan is slowly targeting renewables, but it has not completely taken the steps to make capital available for the development of these renewable energies. There is a need to invest in the development of new fields and investors need to be given incentives to push up the development and production of renewables.”

Another country considered to have unstable energy policies is Australia: “The current lack of long-term policy certainty is the biggest blocker,” says Ted Surette, a partner with KPMG Australia. “There have been multiple changes in policy over the past 10 to 15 years. The industry, the federal government and most market participants in Australia are all of the view that we need a nationwide energy policy that brings together federal and state requirements. This is the number one issue facing the country right now.”

Which of these advanced economies has the least favourable policies for promoting investment in renewable energy? table

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