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Special Issue "Sustainable Energy Policy and Policy Implications—Good Examples and Critical Reflections"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Jenny Palm

International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, Lund University, P.O. Box 196, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden
Website | E-Mail
Interests: energy efficiency; energy planning; policy processes; households; prosumers; sociotechnical systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Developing sustainable energy policies and to support policy makers with relevant and suitable policy recommendations are an important part of energy research. In addition, many energy articles today end with policy implications and policy advice. The reasons for giving policy advice can differ, ranging from the results from a study giving important input to policy makers, to that many journals require that you end with suggestions and implications, or to that it is a routinized habit within energy research to say something about policy implications.

To give policy advice is, of course, important because it gives valuable information to policy makers based on thorough knowledge coming from research. However, it is also a practice worth both developing and reflecting upon. Policy advice is, often, unreflected, given in a way that it supports the technology studied. If the research is about wind power, policy implications often will concern tax reduction or subsidies to the wind sector, if it concerns PVs, then the same recommendations will be given, but targeting PVs, if it concerns biogas… etc. However, the consequences are seldom discussed, such as, if we prioritize one technology, where should the government cut down? A system perspective has often been lacking.

Another neglected area is to discuss what criteria to evaluate a suggested policy against, is it in relation to impact, outcome, output environmental effectiveness, cost efficiency, administrative burden, transaction costs, sustainability, flexibility, predictability, acceptability, etc.?

There are many research strands that are engaged in contributing to sustainable energy policy and have identified relevant components and transformative capacities. This Special Issue invites researchers from all these fields to send in contributions on this topic, which could concern, for example:

  • reflections on the ‘policy implication’ practice within energy research
  • how to develop sustainable energy policy
  • how to give relevant policy advice without surrender to reductionism
  • energy policy in a system perspective
  • good examples in relation to sustainable energy policy
  • top-down and bottom-up perspectives, as well as those that falls in between
  • energy advise in relation to how it should be evaluated, what criteria the advice relates to
  • case studies that deal with sustainable energy policy at all levels: International, national, regional and local

Both empirical and conceptual contributions are invited. Inter-disciplinary contributions, which include perspectives from several research fields, are encouraged.

Prof. Jenny Palm
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • energy policy
  • policy implication
  • policy advice
  • sustainable policy
  • case study

Published Papers (28 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Coordinating the Dynamic Development of Energy and Industry in Composite Regions: An I-SDOP Analysis of the BTH Region
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2093; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062093
Received: 24 May 2018 / Revised: 12 June 2018 / Accepted: 18 June 2018 / Published: 20 June 2018
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Abstract
In various regions of the world, there is an urgent need to address energy challenges by accelerating the transformation of energy and industrial systems. The problem is quite complex in rapidly developing composite regions, with the necessity to coordinate the dynamic development of
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In various regions of the world, there is an urgent need to address energy challenges by accelerating the transformation of energy and industrial systems. The problem is quite complex in rapidly developing composite regions, with the necessity to coordinate the dynamic development of energy and industry in several heterogeneous subregions. Through a typical case study on the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) region, this study attempts to form a referable methodology for the coordinated development of energy and industry for the sustainable development of rapidly developing composite regions. The concept of an Integrated strategy of Sustainable development objectives, Decision-making systems, Operation systems, and Physical systems (I-SDOP) is proposed to describe the multilayer dynamics of complex energy and industrial systems. A five-step I-SDOP analysis is conducted to determine an integrated strategy for the coordinated development of energy and industry in the BTH region, based on the analysis of its sustainable development objectives, decision-making systems, operation systems, and physical systems. The results indicate the importance of innovation sources and extensive communications to promote market reform and engineering projects that fulfill the strong political wills and strategic plans of China’s central government. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluating Consistency in Environmental Policy Mixes through Policy, Stakeholder, and Contextual Interactions
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1896; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061896
Received: 16 April 2018 / Revised: 22 May 2018 / Accepted: 28 May 2018 / Published: 6 June 2018
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Abstract
This paper introduces a method to analyse and explore consistency within policy mixes in order to support the policymaking cycle and applies it to energy and climate change policies in the United Kingdom (UK) biofuels policy context. The first part of the paper
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This paper introduces a method to analyse and explore consistency within policy mixes in order to support the policymaking cycle and applies it to energy and climate change policies in the United Kingdom (UK) biofuels policy context. The first part of the paper introduces a multi-level method to evaluate consistency within policy mixes implemented over a period of time. The first level explores consistency across policy design features in policy mixes. The second level evaluates how stakeholders, and their interactions with policy instruments and each other, can impact consistency within a given context. These interactions influence the implementation of policies and can lead to unintended outcomes that fail to meet the overarching goals. In the second part of the paper, we apply our method to the UK biofuels policy mix, to explore a sector that cuts across the policy areas of transportation, energy, land-use, air, and climate change. Our analysis demonstrates how, by overlooking complex interactions in the design and implementation of policies in the biofuels sector, policy mixes have conflicted with the development of a potential low-carbon technology. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Dynamic Economic Analysis of Subsidies for New and Renewable Energy in South Korea
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1832; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061832
Received: 18 April 2018 / Revised: 23 May 2018 / Accepted: 28 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
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Abstract
Many countries are increasing the supply of new and renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote energy security. Subsidies for new and renewable energy are considered a useful means to increase supply, although a close assessment is needed of whether the
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Many countries are increasing the supply of new and renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote energy security. Subsidies for new and renewable energy are considered a useful means to increase supply, although a close assessment is needed of whether the subsidies improve the economic feasibility of new and renewable energy. Thus, this study conducted an economic analysis on South Korea’s housing support program for new and renewable energy sources from the perspectives of the government and consumers. The results showed that, in 2014, the use of solar photovoltaics (PV) led to constant improvements in economic feasibility, which benefited both the government and consumers, but fuel cell failed to do so from both perspectives. Solar thermal and geothermal heat showed improved economic feasibility throughout the program for consumers. In particular, solar PV reported high economic feasibility in 2014 and 2015 for consumers, indicating that a significant subsidy amount was provided for solar PV facilities. This also confirmed the possibility of achieving economic feasibility for other energy sources within a limited budget by distributing subsidies across the various sources. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The System Dynamics (SD) Analysis of the Government and Power Producers’ Evolutionary Game Strategies Based on Carbon Trading (CT) Mechanism: A Case of China
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1150; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041150
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 7 April 2018 / Accepted: 9 April 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
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Abstract
Climate warming caused by carbon emissions is one of the most serious problems faced by human beings, and the carbon trading (CT) mechanism is an effective way to promote carbon emission reduction and achieve green and low-carbon development. Scholars have mainly studied the
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Climate warming caused by carbon emissions is one of the most serious problems faced by human beings, and the carbon trading (CT) mechanism is an effective way to promote carbon emission reduction and achieve green and low-carbon development. Scholars have mainly studied the impact of CT on the energy economy system, and few scholars studied the game process and behavior strategies of government and power producers in the implementation of a CT mechanism. This paper will fill this gap. This paper firstly constructs the evolutionary game model of government and power producers based on CT, and then simulates the evolutionary process of game behavior strategies by establishing a system dynamics (SD) model, and finally studies the influence of government controllable key factors on system stability. The combination of evolutionary game and SD in our study not only clearly reveals the complex and dynamic evolution process of game models under bounded rationality, but also provides a qualitative and quantitative simulation platform for analyzing the dynamic game process between government and power producers. The results show that: (1) There is no evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) in the game system between government and power producers under CT, and the system evolution is characterized by periodicity; (2) When the government implements dynamic subsidies or punitive measures, the mixed strategy of the game system has ESS; (3) Reducing the unit subsidy and raising the unit fine can both promote the participation of power producers in CT, but the former increases the probability of government supervision; thus, it is best to increase the fines when the government makes strategic adjustments, followed by reducing subsidies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Integration of Methodologies for the Evaluation of Offer Curves in Energy and Capacity Markets through Energy Efficiency and Demand Response
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020483
Received: 31 December 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 February 2018 / Published: 11 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2248 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objectives of improving the efficiency, and integration, of renewable sources by 2030–2050 are complex in practice and should be linked to an increase of demand-side flexibility. The main challenges to achieving this flexibility are the lack of incentives and an adequate framework.
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The objectives of improving the efficiency, and integration, of renewable sources by 2030–2050 are complex in practice and should be linked to an increase of demand-side flexibility. The main challenges to achieving this flexibility are the lack of incentives and an adequate framework. For instance, customers’ revenue is usually low, the volatility of prices is high and there is not any practical feedback to customers from smart meters. The possibility of increasing customer revenue could reduce the uncertainty with respect to economic concerns, improving investments in efficiency, enabling technology and thus, engaging more customers in these policies. This objective could be achieved by the participation of customers in several markets. Moreover, Demand Response and Energy Efficiency can share ICT technologies but this participation needs to perform an aggregation of demand. The idea of this paper is to present some methodologies for facilitating the definition and evaluation of energy versus cost curves; and subsequently to estimate potential revenues due to Demand Response. This can be accomplished by models that estimate: demand and energy aggregation; economic opportunities and benefits; impacts on customer convenience; customer feedback and price analysis. By doing so, we would have comprehensive information that can help customers and aggregators to define energy packages and their monetary value with the objective of fostering their market participation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Communication Barriers and Lessons Learned in Energy Policy
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020449
Received: 29 December 2017 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
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Abstract
In the past 30 years, energy researchers have concluded their academic publication with sections that deal directly with policy implications and recommendations. Yet too often, these recommendations are written with little understanding of how policymakers balance different needs, prefer to communicate, or use
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In the past 30 years, energy researchers have concluded their academic publication with sections that deal directly with policy implications and recommendations. Yet too often, these recommendations are written with little understanding of how policymakers balance different needs, prefer to communicate, or use scientific information. In this manuscript, we outline key variables—time, training, and interpretation—that are key to understanding how to better communicate research implications to policymakers. We recommend emphasizing the power of language and the use of boundary objects in an attempt to mitigate the issues presented between researchers and policymakers. Full article
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Relationships among Organizational Barriers to Energy Efficiency Improvement: A Case Study in Indonesia’s Steel Industry
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010216
Received: 11 December 2017 / Revised: 6 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 17 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (591 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to analyze and rank the managerial-organizational barriers to energy efficiency improvement from an industry perspective. To that end, this study utilizes the Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) methodology to identify the contextual relationships among the barriers. In a
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The aim of this paper is to analyze and rank the managerial-organizational barriers to energy efficiency improvement from an industry perspective. To that end, this study utilizes the Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) methodology to identify the contextual relationships among the barriers. In a focus group discussion forum, five practitioners from the steel industry were consulted to identify these mutual linkages. The results indicated that five of the eight barriers proposed are in the linkage category. These barriers include that the energy manager or people in charge of energy management lack influence, there are higher priorities to production activity, there is management resistance to change, there is inadequate management capacity, and there are conflicts of interest within the organization. The management should focus more attention on these barriers, because they have both high driving power and dependency. The findings are intended to help managers from manufacturing sectors identify key barriers and thus develop strategic plans to address these issues. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Research on the Renewable Energy Industry Financing Efficiency Assessment and Mode Selection
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010222
Received: 27 December 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 13 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (970 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, environmental issues are attracting widespread attention by various countries around the world. In this context, the renewable energy industry has become a stimulus point for economic development and has great potential for development. Renewable energy industry financing is difficult due
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In recent years, environmental issues are attracting widespread attention by various countries around the world. In this context, the renewable energy industry has become a stimulus point for economic development and has great potential for development. Renewable energy industry financing is difficult due to its characteristics of high risk and long-term investment returns, and relying on existing financing channels make it present a glut of excess capacity. It is key to realize resource optimal allocation, solve overcapacity phenomenon and select the valid financing mode. This paper used Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) data and the data envelopment analysis (DEA) method to analyze the financing efficiency different parts of the global renewable energy industry and different ways of financing. It could be found that although the financing efficiency showed a trend of increasing year by year, the financing efficiency of each industry presented generally weak DEA efficiency, the comprehensive financing efficiency of wind power industry was higher. The article also found that the financing efficiency of project financing and Research and Development (R&D) were relatively high, and the equity market and venture capital and private equity were less efficient. The results of this paper play an important role in the overall financing status cognizance of the renewable energy industry and give suggestions about valid financing mode choice. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Policy Influence on Consumers’ Evolution into Prosumers—Empirical Findings from an Exploratory Survey in Europe
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010186
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 4 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 13 January 2018
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Abstract
The energy sector is in transition to a flexible and sustainable energy system based on renewable energy sources. This complex transition is affecting multiple levels in the sociotechnical system. One driver of the transition is climate change that enforces the policy push from
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The energy sector is in transition to a flexible and sustainable energy system based on renewable energy sources. This complex transition is affecting multiple levels in the sociotechnical system. One driver of the transition is climate change that enforces the policy push from the macro level to change the way energy is produced, delivered, and used. As part of the energy system evolution, the role of the end user in the energy sector is undergoing profound changes, and consumers are increasingly being empowered to participate actively in the production and use of energy. This article investigates how policies might affect consumers’ interests in becoming prosumers of energy. We explore consumers’ attitudes toward using renewable energy technologies (RET) by means of an empirical consumer survey that was conducted in five European countries. The partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) method was utilized to analyze the survey results. Our findings suggest that both economic and non-economic policies affect consumer attitudes toward using renewable energy technologies. We conclude that policies have different effects on consumers and prosumers, who have already made the decision to adopt renewable energy solutions. Based on the findings, we propose a set of policy and managerial implications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Local Energy Advising in Sweden: Historical Development and Lessons for Future Policy-Making
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2275; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122275
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 29 November 2017 / Accepted: 4 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
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Abstract
In Sweden, energy-consulting services, here referred to as local energy advising (LEA), have traditionally contributed to improving household energy efficiency. The aim of this article is to analyze the development of this service from the 1970s, when the consultancy came into being, to
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In Sweden, energy-consulting services, here referred to as local energy advising (LEA), have traditionally contributed to improving household energy efficiency. The aim of this article is to analyze the development of this service from the 1970s, when the consultancy came into being, to the present day, through a review of documents and published literature. The analysis enables the understanding of the evolution of local energy advising as a policy instrument, and provides valuable insights for the future. Local energy advising has often been subsidized by the Swedish government and used as a state policy measure rather than a municipal one. As a policy measure, the function of the service has changed over time. In the early period, the oil crisis was a fact and the local advisers were used to inform households. In the 1980s, however, the task of energy-advising was taken over by the energy companies in the spirit of market liberalization. In the 1990s, Sweden became a member of the European Union, and the emphasis was put on general information campaigns. Recently, the development of decentralized energy systems (including micro-energy systems) has necessitated targeting individuals with information. One important lesson to learn from the historical development of LEA is the imperativeness of providing energy advising at the local rather than the state level for better efficiency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Impact of Renewable Energy on Regional Sustainability—A Comparative Study of Sogn og Fjordane (Norway) and Okinawa (Japan)
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 1969; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9111969
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 21 October 2017 / Accepted: 24 October 2017 / Published: 28 October 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1541 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The drive to expand renewable energies is often in direct conflict with sustainable development goals. Thus, it is important that energy policies account for potential trade-offs. We assess the interlinkages between energy, food, water and land, for two case studies, Okinawa and Sogn
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The drive to expand renewable energies is often in direct conflict with sustainable development goals. Thus, it is important that energy policies account for potential trade-offs. We assess the interlinkages between energy, food, water and land, for two case studies, Okinawa and Sogn og Fjordane. We apply a range of assessment methods and study their usefulness as tools to identify trade-offs and to compare the sustainability performance. We calculate cross-sectoral footprints, self-sufficiency ratios and perform a simplified Energy-Water-Food nexus analysis. We use the latter for assessing scenarios to increase energy and food self-sufficiency in Okinawa, while we use ecosystem service (ESS) accounting for Sogn og Fjordane. For Okinawa, we find that constraints on the energy, food and water sectors urgently call for integrated approaches to energy policy; for Sogn og Fjordane, the further expansion of renewables comes at the expense of cultural and supporting ESS, which could outweigh gains from increased energy exports. We recommend a general upgrade to indicators and visualization methods that look beyond averages and a fostering of infrastructure for data on sustainable development based on harmonized international protocols. We warn against rankings of countries or regions based on benchmarks that are neither theory-driven nor location-specific. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Research on the Sustainable Development of an Economic-Energy-Environment (3E) System Based on System Dynamics (SD): A Case Study of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1727; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101727
Received: 19 August 2017 / Revised: 22 September 2017 / Accepted: 22 September 2017 / Published: 26 September 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3284 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The sustainable development of an economic-energy-environment (3E) system has received increasing attention by the government because it both determines national development and individuals’ health at the macro and micro level. In this paper, we synthetically consider various important factors based on analysis of
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The sustainable development of an economic-energy-environment (3E) system has received increasing attention by the government because it both determines national development and individuals’ health at the macro and micro level. In this paper, we synthetically consider various important factors based on analysis of the existing literature and use system dynamics (SD) to establish models of sustainable development of a 3E system. The model not only clearly shows the complex logical relationship between the factors but also reveals the process of the 3E system. In addition, the paper provides a case study of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in China by using a scenario analysis method. The models proposed in this paper can facilitate an understanding of the sustainable development pattern of a 3E coordination system and help to provide references for policy-making institutions. The results show that the long-term development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region’s 3E system is not sustainable, but it can be changed through the adjustment of the energy structure and an increase in investment in environmental protection, which can improve the environmental quality and ensure continuous growth rather than excessive growth of energy consumption and the gross domestic product (GDP). Full article
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Open AccessArticle Establishing a Framework to Evaluate the Effect of Energy Countermeasures Tackling Climate Change and Air Pollution: The Example of China
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1555; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091555
Received: 8 July 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 11 September 2017
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Abstract
Due to the large-scale utilization of high-carbon fossil energy, considerable amounts of critical air pollutants (CAPs) and greenhouse gas (GHG) have been emitted, which has led to increasingly serious global climate change and local air pollution problems. Given that climate change and air
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Due to the large-scale utilization of high-carbon fossil energy, considerable amounts of critical air pollutants (CAPs) and greenhouse gas (GHG) have been emitted, which has led to increasingly serious global climate change and local air pollution problems. Given that climate change and air pollution have the same source, energy systems, the rational development and use of energy for collaborative governance should be emphasized to solve these problems in parallel. This paper presents a multi-dimensional, multi-perspective and achievable analysis framework to quantitatively evaluate the emission reduction effects of energy countermeasures aimed at tackling climate change and governing air pollution in support of sustainable development. As a typical developing country pursuing sustainable development, China is taken as an example to demonstrate an application of the proposed framework to assess the emission reduction effects of energy countermeasures issued for tackling climate change and governing air pollution on CAPs and GHG. The results indicate that the key energy actions proposed in this paper would result in emission reductions of approximately 6 million tons (Mt) of CAPs and 575 Mt of GHG in 2016. By 2020 and 2030, emission reductions of 12 Mt of CAPs and 1094 Mt of GHG and of 21 Mt of CAPs and 1975 Mt of GHG, respectively, will be achieved. The proposed framework can effectively help China identify the emissions reduction effect of a given energy countermeasure and support the development of policy describing the next steps for tackling climate change and haze pollution. The proposed framework in this paper is also beneficial for countries similar to China in their efforts to simultaneously address climate change and improve air quality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Eco-Efficiency of Government Policy and Exports in the Bioenergy Technology Market
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1549; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091549
Received: 16 June 2017 / Revised: 21 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 5 September 2017
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Abstract
This study investigates how the eco-efficiency of government policy—continuously implementing innovation-friendly policy based on both environmental and economic considerations—affects the export performance of bioenergy technologies, using panel data from 16 countries during 1995–2012. Various heterogeneous panel framework tests are conducted. Our panel unit
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This study investigates how the eco-efficiency of government policy—continuously implementing innovation-friendly policy based on both environmental and economic considerations—affects the export performance of bioenergy technologies, using panel data from 16 countries during 1995–2012. Various heterogeneous panel framework tests are conducted. Our panel unit root and co-integration tests, which allow for cross-sectional dependence in the panel, show that the time series data on the eco-efficiency of public support, exports, and gross domestic product (GDP) are integrated and co-integrated. We set up a panel vector error correction model (VECM) to empirically test the casual relationship among the variables examined. The long-term parameters of the variables were calculated using dynamic ordinary lease squares (DOLS). Panel difference generalized method of moments (GMM) estimations were conducted to test the short-term relationship among the variables. The results of this study therefore show that the eco-efficiency of government policy positively influences export performance in the long run, but not in the short run. The presented findings also indicate that efficiently implemented government policy plays a crucial role in achieving environmentally sound and sustainable development, showing path dependence among the eco-efficiency of government policy, exports, and GDP. We finally suggest policy implications based on the results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Methodology for the Successful Integration of an Energy Management System to an Operational Environmental System
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1304; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9081304
Received: 20 May 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 24 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1664 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Despite the fact that the implementation of ISO 50001 has helped organizations to successfully accomplish energy saving policies, there is still a significant disparity in the number of companies certificated under ISO 50001 compared with other standards such as ISO 14001. Considering the
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Despite the fact that the implementation of ISO 50001 has helped organizations to successfully accomplish energy saving policies, there is still a significant disparity in the number of companies certificated under ISO 50001 compared with other standards such as ISO 14001. Considering the compatibilities between both standards, a potential sector is identified for the integration of ISO 50001 in organizations that operate under ISO 14001 systems. The cost and time associated with the development and implementation of the Energy Management System are identified as being amongst the most important obstacles, restricting the number of companies that are inclined to this energy certification. As an attempt to overcome this limitation, in this work, both standards were analyzed in detail and their coincidences identified and organized to propose a novel methodology that allows companies to naturally integrate an Energy Management System based on ISO 50001 into an ISO 14001 already in operation. The results provide evidence of a strong compatibility among the energy and environmental management systems, allowing enterprises to integrate the former with minimum investment and resources. In order to validate the proposed methodology and to demonstrate the agreement between both programs, these procedures were applied in a manufacturing company of the automotive sector, considered as a high energy consumer according to the classification made by the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy in Mexico. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Study of Urban Energy Performance Assessment and Its Influencing Factors Based on Improved Stochastic Frontier Analysis: A Case Study of Provincial Capitals in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1110; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071110
Received: 23 May 2017 / Revised: 18 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 26 June 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (829 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To improve energy-use sustainability in cities, we proposed a set of urban energy performance assessment indicators and influencing factors based on existing theory and literature. An urban energy performance assessment and influencing factor model was also constructed by the improved stochastic frontier analysis
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To improve energy-use sustainability in cities, we proposed a set of urban energy performance assessment indicators and influencing factors based on existing theory and literature. An urban energy performance assessment and influencing factor model was also constructed by the improved stochastic frontier analysis method, and panel data from provincial capitals in China from 2004 to 2013 were considered as an example to carry out an empirical study. Chosen from both endogenous and exogenous perspectives, the urban energy performance assessment indicators and influencing factors take into consideration the capital, labor, energy, urban economic output, urbanization level, population, area, urban climate, and travel selection. Because it considers both random errors and the inefficiency levels of urban productions, the urban energy performance assessment and influencing factor model could reduce the errors caused by two-stage performance assessment and factor analysis, quantify the effects of assessment indicators and influencing factors on urban energy performance, and reflect the actual performance of different cities. Empirical results show that the urban energy performance of provincial capitals in China has been increasing. Chinese provincial capitals also have great potential for energy saving. It was necessary to include energy input as an assessment indicator when evaluating urban energy performance. Population density and urban energy performance showed a negative correlation, but the urbanization rate, temperature index, and household car ownership were positively related to urban energy performance. The urban energy performance of Chinese provincial capitals gradually decreased from east to west. Based on these results, several policy suggestions on urban energy performance development are proposed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Regional Disparities in Emissions of Rural Household Energy Consumption: A Case Study of Northwest China
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 726; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9050726
Received: 16 March 2017 / Revised: 13 April 2017 / Accepted: 27 April 2017 / Published: 3 May 2017
PDF Full-text (1826 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to present the emissions status of multiple rural areas from the perspective of a field survey and make up for the defects of the traditional emission cognition of single type of area. The basic data in the
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The purpose of this paper is to present the emissions status of multiple rural areas from the perspective of a field survey and make up for the defects of the traditional emission cognition of single type of area. The basic data in the lower reaches of the Weihe River of Northwest China were collected through household questionnaire surveys, and emissions from rural household energy consumption were calculated in the paper. In addition, the grey relational analysis method was used to identify influential factors of emission disparities. The results show that the total emissions of the plain, loess tableland, and Qinling piedmont areas are 1863.20, 1850.43, and 2556.68 kg, respectively. Regional disparities in emissions of rural household energy consumption vary greatly. CO2 emissions are highest in the Qinling piedmont area, followed by the loess tableland area. For other emissions, there is no fixed order of the three areas, which suggests that disparities in emissions are connected with the dominant type of energy consumption. Diversification of energy use might not necessarily produce higher emissions, but the traditional biomass energy pattern does generate more emissions. The regional supply capacity of household energy is the original influence factor of disparities in emissions, and factors that influence these disparities are directly related to differences among farmers, followed by the age structure, educational background, income level, occupation, and so on. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Energy Vulnerability Composite Index in Social Housing, from a Household Energy Poverty Perspective
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 691; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9050691
Received: 24 March 2017 / Revised: 22 April 2017 / Accepted: 24 April 2017 / Published: 27 April 2017
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Abstract
In Europe, the proportion of social housing is high, and such houses tend to be inhabited by below average-income households, which are particularly vulnerable to energy poverty. This article proposes a new methodological approach for defining an index for household energy vulnerability assessment.
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In Europe, the proportion of social housing is high, and such houses tend to be inhabited by below average-income households, which are particularly vulnerable to energy poverty. This article proposes a new methodological approach for defining an index for household energy vulnerability assessment. This method can be used to improve the management of social housing. After establishing a heuristic framework for household energy poverty–which stems from different causes such as income, the characteristics of the residence, energy installations, and the energy-consumption habits of household members–multi-criteria analytical methods, based on the aggregation of indicators which reveal the conditions leading to energy poverty, have been applied, and effective means of intervention are proposed. The method is also applied to a sample of social houses and thus validated as a useful tool in decision-making processes which concern the management of social housing from a household energy-poverty perspective. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Resilience and Livelihoods in Supply Chains (RELISC): An Analytical Framework for the Development and Resilience of the UK Wood Fuel Sector
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 660; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9040660
Received: 24 March 2017 / Revised: 13 April 2017 / Accepted: 18 April 2017 / Published: 21 April 2017
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Abstract
Bioenergy is an important renewable energy source in the UK, but the bioenergy industry and in particular the wood fuel sub sector, is relatively under-developed. Socioeconomic factors have been identified as critical for facilitating deployment levels and sustainable development. However, previous studies have
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Bioenergy is an important renewable energy source in the UK, but the bioenergy industry and in particular the wood fuel sub sector, is relatively under-developed. Socioeconomic factors have been identified as critical for facilitating deployment levels and sustainable development. However, previous studies have mostly assessed these factors using quantitative methods and models, which are limited in assessing pertinent contextual factors such as institutional/regulatory governance, supply chain structure and governance, capital resource availability as well as actor decisions. As a step further, this research engages with these under-explored aspects of the system by developing a new analytical framework: the Resilience and Livelihoods in Supply Chains (RELISC) framework, which was designed by linking Value Chain Analysis, the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach and a supply chain resilience framework. Its application to a UK wood fuel supply chain produced useful insights. For example, the structure of the chain revealed a high level of dependency on a particular end user and contractor. Key institutional governance was critical in sustaining natural resources and providing access to finance. Internal supply chain governance was limited in ensuring the sustainability of resources and lack of actor awareness and interest were also limiting factors. In addition, five capital analyses revealed gaps in skills, networking and physical infrastructure. Finally, the design of the novel RELISC framework enables it to engage with diverse aspects of the system holistically and its application generated practical recommendations and strategies for supply chain resilience and sector growth, which are useful and applicable to other emerging sectors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Energy R&D towards Sustainability: A Panel Analysis of Government Budget for Energy R&D in OECD Countries (1974–2012)
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 617; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9040617
Received: 30 January 2017 / Revised: 8 April 2017 / Accepted: 10 April 2017 / Published: 15 April 2017
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Abstract
Energy transition is one of the greatest challenges for sustainability. However, the overall composition of the world energy supply has not changed much since the late 1970s, with fossil fuels providing 81% of the world’s total primary energy supply. While political leaders increasingly
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Energy transition is one of the greatest challenges for sustainability. However, the overall composition of the world energy supply has not changed much since the late 1970s, with fossil fuels providing 81% of the world’s total primary energy supply. While political leaders increasingly call for proactive policies to innovate the energy sector in the face of climate change, governments around the world commit vastly different levels of budgets to energy R&D. This research examines the potential determinants of cross-national variations in government budget allocations for energy R&D with three perspectives. With the panel data analysis of OECD countries (1974–2012), we check the supply-side, demand-side, and institutional factors inducing government investment in R&D for energy in general as well as for renewable energy. Among the multitude of factors tested in our analysis, gross domestic R&D expenditure, refinery output, and the rightist orientation of the governing party show significantly positive influences on government R&D budgets for energy in general. However, refinery output shows the negative effect on government R&D budget for renewables. This contrasting finding about the impact of refinery output on government investment in energy R&D in general vs. renewable energy R&D suggests that policymakers and scholars need to better appreciate the complex roles of the oil sector in driving public R&D investment in energy. It also calls for more proactive renewable energy policy to make progress towards sustainable energy transition. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Quantitative Analysis on the Energy and Environmental Impact of the Korean National Energy R&D Roadmap a Using Bottom-Up Energy System Model
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 538; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9040538
Received: 26 January 2017 / Revised: 21 March 2017 / Accepted: 29 March 2017 / Published: 31 March 2017
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Abstract
According to the Paris Agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties, 196 member states are obliged to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) for every 5 years. As a member, South Korea has already proposed the reduction target and need to
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According to the Paris Agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties, 196 member states are obliged to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) for every 5 years. As a member, South Korea has already proposed the reduction target and need to submit the achievement as a result of the policies and endeavors in the near future. In this paper, a Korean bottom-up energy system model to support the low-carbon national energy R&D roadmap will be introduced and through the modeling of various scenarios, the mid-to long-term impact on energy consumptions and CO2 emissions will be analyzed as well. The results of the analysis showed that, assuming R&D investments for the 11 types of technologies, savings of 13.7% with regards to final energy consumptions compared to the baseline scenario would be feasible by 2050. Furthermore, in the field of power generation, the generation proportion of new and renewable energy is expected to increase from 3.0% as of 2011 to 19.4% by 2050. This research also suggested that the analysis on the Energy Technology R&D Roadmap based on the model can be used not only for overall impact analysis and R&D portfolio establishment, but also for the development of detailed R&D strategies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Development of the Renewable Energy Power Industry under Feed-In Tariff and Renewable Portfolio Standard: A Case Study of China’s Photovoltaic Power Industry
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 532; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9040532
Received: 7 March 2017 / Revised: 28 March 2017 / Accepted: 29 March 2017 / Published: 31 March 2017
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Abstract
Among the regulatory policies, feed-in tariffs (FIT) and renewable portfolio standards (RPS) are the most popular to promote the development of renewable energy power industry. They can significantly contribute to the expansion of domestic industrial activities in terms of sustainable energy. In this
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Among the regulatory policies, feed-in tariffs (FIT) and renewable portfolio standards (RPS) are the most popular to promote the development of renewable energy power industry. They can significantly contribute to the expansion of domestic industrial activities in terms of sustainable energy. In this paper, we synthetically consider various important factors with the analysis of the existing literature, and use system dynamics (SD) to establish models of long-term development of the renewable energy power industry under FIT and RPS schemes. The model not only clearly shows the complex logical relationship between the factors but also reveals the process of coordination between the two policy tools in the development of the renewable energy power industry. In addition, as an example of development of renewable energy industry, the paper studies the development of China’s photovoltaic power industry under different scenarios. The models proposed in this paper can provide a reference for scholars to study development of the renewable energy power industry in different countries, thereby facilitating an understanding of the renewable energy power’s long-term sustainable development pattern under FIT and RPS schemes, and helping to provide references for policy-making institutions. The results show that in the perfect competitive market, the implementation of RPS can promote long-term and rapid development of China’s photovoltaic power industry given the constraints and actions of the mechanisms of RPS quota proportion, the TGC valid period, and fines, compared with FIT. At the end of the paper, policy implications are offered as references for the government. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Decomposition and Attribution Analysis of Industrial Carbon Intensity Changes in Xinjiang, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9030459
Received: 19 January 2017 / Revised: 11 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 20 March 2017
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Abstract
Xinjiang’s industrial sector accounted for more than 80% of the total energy-related carbon emissions. A further understanding of each industrial sub-sector’s carbon intensity is very necessary to make differentiated policies and measures. This paper applied index decomposition analysis and attribution analysis to examine
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Xinjiang’s industrial sector accounted for more than 80% of the total energy-related carbon emissions. A further understanding of each industrial sub-sector’s carbon intensity is very necessary to make differentiated policies and measures. This paper applied index decomposition analysis and attribution analysis to examine the influencing factors and each sub-sector’s contributions to the changes in influencing factors. The results demonstrated the following: (1) energy intensity effect contributed most to the decreases in industrial carbon intensity, and mining and quarrying, foods and tobacco, and other manufactures were the most representative industrial sub-sectors; (2) energy structure effect showed a positive effect on industrial carbon intensity, but its effect was not significant, and fuel processing, smelting and pressing of metals, metal products, and textile were mainly responsible for the increases in energy structure effect; (3) industrial structure effect showed significant fluctuations, but its accumulative effect promoted the increases in industrial carbon intensity, and fuel processing, mining and quarrying, and textiles were the main sub-sectors, which exerted negative effects on the decreases in industrial structure effect; (4) fuel processing, smelting and pressing of metals, and mining and quarrying significantly influenced these three decomposed factors from 2000 to 2014; (5) since 2009, energy-intensive sub-sectors increased rapidly, and the energy structure was not optimized, while attention was not paid to controlling the energy efficiency, thus all decomposed factors promoted the increases in industrial carbon intensity; and (6) mining and quarrying, textiles, fuel processing, and transport equipment were primarily responsible for the increases in energy structure effect. Fuel processing, chemicals, and smelting and pressing of metals were primarily responsible for the increases in energy intensity effect. Fuel processing, chemicals, smelting and pressing of metals, and other manufactures were primarily responsible for the increases in industrial structure effect. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Social Perspective on the Renewable Energy Autonomy of Geographically Isolated Communities: Evidence from a Mediterranean Island
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 327; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9030327
Received: 23 November 2016 / Revised: 27 January 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 23 February 2017
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Abstract
The use of renewable energy sources can provide a path toward sustainable development and regional energy independence. In particular, renewable-based energy autonomy constitutes a viable option in remote areas. This work presents a survey on the use of renewable energy as part of
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The use of renewable energy sources can provide a path toward sustainable development and regional energy independence. In particular, renewable-based energy autonomy constitutes a viable option in remote areas. This work presents a survey on the use of renewable energy as part of an energy autonomy plan on a Mediterranean island. The study also included personal communications with residents and local community leaders. The results show an overall positive attitude toward renewable energy applications. The majority of the respondents support the implementation of renewable-based, small-scale projects corresponding to local energy autonomy scenarios. They are, furthermore, convinced that a wider use of renewable technologies can reduce the environmental impact of conventional fuels. However, although people are aware of technologies widely used on the island, they are much less so when it comes to less prominent technologies (wave energy, fuel cells, etc.). People tend to be more open to installations of solar, wind and geothermal energy, while generally they dislike nuclear and coal power plants. Lastly, the majority of the respondents believe that local policies on energy issues should change, while they also perceive the lack of political will as one of the most important obstacles to the implementation of renewable technologies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Impacts of Natural Disasters on Swedish Electric Power Policy: A Case Study
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020230
Received: 23 December 2016 / Revised: 2 February 2017 / Accepted: 4 February 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
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Abstract
The future of climate and sustainable energy are interrelated. Speaking of one without mentioning the other is quite difficult. The increasing number of natural disasters pose a great threat to the electric power supply security in any part of the world. Sweden has
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The future of climate and sustainable energy are interrelated. Speaking of one without mentioning the other is quite difficult. The increasing number of natural disasters pose a great threat to the electric power supply security in any part of the world. Sweden has been one of the countries that have suffered from unacceptably long blackouts. The tremendous outcomes of the power interruptions have made the field of the economic worth of electric power reliability a popular area of interest among researchers. Nature has been the number one enemy against the supply security of the electricity. This paper introduces a recent and thorough electric power reliability analysis of Sweden and focuses on the country’s struggle against climate change-related natural disasters via updating the country’s electric power policy to improve its service quality. The paper highlights the Gudrun storm of 2005 as a case study to demonstrate the severe impacts of extreme weather events on the energy systems. The economic damage of the storm on the electric power service calculated to be around 3 billion euros. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Comparative Analysis between the Government Micro-Grid Plan and Computer Simulation Results Based on Real Data: The Practical Case for a South Korean Island
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020197
Received: 8 December 2016 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 31 January 2017
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Abstract
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which are produced through the combustion of fossil fuels, cause climate change. Unfortunately, South Korea is highly dependent on fossil fuels because of its industrial nature. However, many islands in South Korea have the potential to generate a considerable
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Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which are produced through the combustion of fossil fuels, cause climate change. Unfortunately, South Korea is highly dependent on fossil fuels because of its industrial nature. However, many islands in South Korea have the potential to generate a considerable amount of renewable energy, which should be studied. KEPCO (Korea Electricity Power Corporation), which runs micro-grid facilities in Gasado Island in Jindo, South Korea, built micro-grid facilities in Mozambique in 2015. The micro-grid construction of Gasado Island is considered one of the most successful micro-grid projects of KEPCO, so KEPCO is hoping to expand energy development overseas and become a top-tier global power company. This study aims to find a more technologically and economically optimal hybrid energy system for Gasado Island that KEPCO should have built. We also compared this optimal solution to the Korean government plan. The Korean government plan is the same as the KEPCO plan because KEPCO is classified as a market-oriented public corporation under the Act on the Management of Public Institutions. In the final section of this paper, both the implications and limitations are discussed in detail. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Overview of Current Microgrid Policies, Incentives and Barriers in the European Union, United States and China
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1146; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071146
Received: 29 April 2017 / Revised: 20 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
Continuously increasing demand of microgrids with high penetration of distributed energy generators, mainly renewable energy sources, is modifying the traditional structure of the electric distribution grid. Major power consumer countries are looking for alternative energy sources to avoid the impact of higher fossil
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Continuously increasing demand of microgrids with high penetration of distributed energy generators, mainly renewable energy sources, is modifying the traditional structure of the electric distribution grid. Major power consumer countries are looking for alternative energy sources to avoid the impact of higher fossil fuel consumption. Thus, different policies have been promulgated to promote renewable energy technologies (RETs) and distributed energy resource (DER) deployment and are encouraging technological innovation. These policies aim to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and achieve energy security and independence to meet an ever-increasing electricity demand. Many studies have been performed on the successful integration of RET and DER operation and control, protection and stability issues, all simultaneously and satisfactorily implemented during feasible microgrid operation. However, apart from the technical challenges, few microgrid studies exist on effective policies and incentives for microgrid promotion and deployment. This survey investigates the policy, regulatory and financial (economical and commercial) barriers, which hinder the deployment of microgrids in the European Union (EU), United States (USA) and China. In this paper, a clear view on microgrid policy instruments and challenges are investigated to aid future developments. Full article
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Open AccessReview Analysis of Existing Problems and Improvement Schemes for Substituting Electricity for Scattered Coal in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 744; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9050744
Received: 6 March 2017 / Revised: 20 April 2017 / Accepted: 28 April 2017 / Published: 4 May 2017
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Abstract
In recent years, a coal-induced haze erupted over a large area in China. Implementing a strategy of substituting electricity for scattered coal (hereafter referred to as SEFSC) for the control of scattered coal is thus urgently needed. In particular, there lies great practical
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In recent years, a coal-induced haze erupted over a large area in China. Implementing a strategy of substituting electricity for scattered coal (hereafter referred to as SEFSC) for the control of scattered coal is thus urgently needed. In particular, there lies great practical significance in analyzing the existing problems and improving the path of SEFSC in order to ensure rapid and effective advancement in this area. In light of this, the current paper first analyzes the distribution of China’s scattered coal and the relevant policy implementation, and discusses the potential for China to implement SEFSC. Secondly, PEST (policy, economy, society and technology) analysis is used to analyze the existing problems in China’s SEFSC strategy. From this, it becomes clear that the effect of scattered coal handling is still poor due to poor policy implementation, a weak economy, a low level of social acceptance and technical bottlenecks. Finally, based on the present situation and existing problems, this paper puts forward recommendations for improving China’s SEFSC strategy. Full article
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