Special Issue "Recent Research Progress for Energy Policy"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Economics and Policy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Joshua M. Pearce
Website
Guest Editor
Michigan Technological University, 601 M&M Building, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1295, USA
Interests: open hardware; distributed recycling; recycled composites; additive manufacturing; renewable resources; circular economy
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As the centralized fossil fuel era of energy production rapidly gives way to an era of distributed renewable energy, well-thought out energy policy is needed to guide the transition in the residential, commercial, industrial and transportation sectors. The continued use of fossil fuels to provide energy and the concomitant environmental pollution and climate destabilization have opened the door to potential increased negative impacts on humanity and the economy, as well as retaliation for those suffering losses aggravated by climate change. This has resulted in wide energy policy swings, future energy price uncertainties, potential large-scale greenhouse gas liabilities, and energy insecurity. These energy-related problems are challenging for governments, as well as companies that want a stable system in which to operate their businesses. However, the rapid growth of energy demand in the developing world indicates these challenges will persist. Careful analysis is needed to guide policy that encourage the growth of distributed generation, the transition from internal combustion to electric vehicles, energy conservation, energy justice, renewable energy growth and improve energy technology transfer. At the same time, the impact of energy research and development as well as proprietary and open source approaches to energy-related intellectual property must be scrutinized. The coupling between climate change policy and energy policy must be resolved to bolster agreements like the Paris Accord. Thus, to further spread the analysis needed to make sound energy policy at the local, regional national and international levels, this Special Issue, entitled “Energy Policy”, is open for submissions in the international journal Energies, which is an SCI and SCIE journal (2017 IF = 2.676, 5 year IF=3.045) open access journal. This Special Issue mainly covers original research and studies related to the above-mentioned topics, including, but not limited to energy policy in the three largest energy markets: China, the U.S.A. and Russia. Papers selected for this Special Issue are subject to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results and policy recommendations.

I am writing to invite you to submit your original work in energy policy to this Special Issue. I am looking forward to receiving your outstanding research.

Prof. Dr. Joshua M. Pearce
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. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 1800 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

  • Carbon emissions liability
  • Chinese energy policy
  • Climate change liability
  • Distributed generation policy
  • Electric cars
  • Energy conservation
  • Energy and development
  • Energy justice
  • Energy policy
  • Energy technology innovation policy
  • India energy policy
  • Intellectual property and energy
  • Energy R & D
  • Energy technology transfer
  • The Paris Accord
  • Renewable energy
  • Russian energy policy
  • U.S. energy policy

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Pathway Analysis of a Zero-Emission Transition in the Nordic-Baltic Region
Energies 2019, 12(17), 3337; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12173337 - 29 Aug 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
A zero-emission pathway for the Nordic and Baltic region in Europe is described based on the comprehensive policy and scenario analyses, accompanied by energy system modelling. The analyses show that a least-cost strategy would massively employ renewable energy, particularly in the power sector. [...] Read more.
A zero-emission pathway for the Nordic and Baltic region in Europe is described based on the comprehensive policy and scenario analyses, accompanied by energy system modelling. The analyses show that a least-cost strategy would massively employ renewable energy, particularly in the power sector. Through strong coupling across energy sectors and countries, electricity would play a central role in the decarbonization of the main energy sectors. In particular power-to-heat conversion, where heat storage appears important in addition to existing hydropower. Technical and regulatory barriers in front of increased sector coupling and flexibility were identified, and policy measures are proposed to overcome these. In addition to a high carbon price, dynamic tariffs and taxation of electricity would be important to allow market signals for flexibility to reach end-users. A stronger power transmission connection from the Nordics to the mainland-Europe and the United Kingdom would be beneficial for the emission reductions and renewable energy use. The transition pathway analysis points out socio-technical issues such as social acceptance of large-scale new infrastructures (e.g., wind, cables). The energy system optimizations indicate that most of the investments needed for the zero-emission pathway until 2050 would take place already by 2030. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research Progress for Energy Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Target Setting Outlook for New Residential Building Energy Efficiency Promotion in China: A Frontline Perspective Using Delphi
Energies 2019, 12(9), 1629; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12091629 - 29 Apr 2019
Abstract
Promoting energy efficiency (EE) requirements for new residential buildings has been proven to be an effective way to slow down the rapid increase of energy consumption. Its successful implementation relies significantly on the attitudes and participation of various stakeholders within the industry, yet [...] Read more.
Promoting energy efficiency (EE) requirements for new residential buildings has been proven to be an effective way to slow down the rapid increase of energy consumption. Its successful implementation relies significantly on the attitudes and participation of various stakeholders within the industry, yet they are normally taken for granted. This paper explores and reports both the consensus among and the diversity of the attitudes of frontline stakeholders toward future EE requirements in the new residential building sector via a nationwide Delphi questionnaire distributed to 29 institutes and 25 experts. Results indicate that promotion of approximately 30% EE every five years until 2030 is suggested and that 20% EE promotion every five years is the most likely to be achieved. In addition, China should progressively adopt the energy intensity index into the current building EE evaluation system. This paper also gives a detailed description of opinions from frontline stakeholders. The findings are expected to help researchers and policymakers better understand the true attitudes of stakeholders, thereby enabling the formation of a proper outlook for new residential building EE promotion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research Progress for Energy Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of the Nitrous Oxide Emission Reduction Potential of an Aerobic Bioreactor Packed with Carbon Fibres for Swine Wastewater Treatment
Energies 2019, 12(6), 1013; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12061013 - 15 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse gas that is emitted from wastewater treatment plants. To reduce emissions of N2O from swine wastewater treatment plants, we constructed an experimental aerobic bioreactor packed with carbon fibres (ca. 1 m3 [...] Read more.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse gas that is emitted from wastewater treatment plants. To reduce emissions of N2O from swine wastewater treatment plants, we constructed an experimental aerobic bioreactor packed with carbon fibres (ca. 1 m3 bioreactor) as an alternative to conventional activated sludge treatment. The N2O emission factor for the aerobic bioreactor packed with carbon fibres (CF) was 0.002 g N2O-N/g TN-load and the value for the typical activated sludge (AS) reactor was 0.013 g N2O-N/g TN-load. The CF treatment method achieved more than 80% reduction of N2O emissions, compared with the AS treatment method. The experimental introduction of a CF carrier into an actual wastewater treatment plant also resulted in a large reduction in N2O generation. Specifically, the N2O emission factors decreased from 0.040 to 0.005 g N2O-N/g TN-load following application of the carrier. This shows that it is possible to reduce N2O generation by more than 80% by using a CF carrier during the operation of an actual wastewater treatment plant. Some bacteria from the phylum Chloroflexi, which are capable of reducing N2O emissions, were detected at a higher frequency in the biofilm on the CF carrier than in the biofilm formed on the AS reactor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research Progress for Energy Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Energy System Transitions in the Eastern Coastal Metropolitan Regions of China—The Role of Regional Policy Plans
Energies 2019, 12(3), 389; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12030389 - 26 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
With an expected accelerated urbanization process until 2050, China is facing big challenges of mitigating CO2 emissions, especially in the eastern coastal metropolitan regions. Since cities are the hubs for innovation regarding new technologies and infrastructures, investments and governance, they are playing [...] Read more.
With an expected accelerated urbanization process until 2050, China is facing big challenges of mitigating CO2 emissions, especially in the eastern coastal metropolitan regions. Since cities are the hubs for innovation regarding new technologies and infrastructures, investments and governance, they are playing an important role in decision-making and implementation processes on the way to a decarbonized economy and society. The national and provincial administrations in China have already started to address the issue of energy system transition toward a low-carbon pathway, but long-term integrated transition plans are not yet available on a regional level. In our paper, we therefore consider the main challenges of the energy system transition, such as efficiency improvement, coal reduction, decarbonization of transport, and multisector electrification with regional integration, focusing on two eastern coastal metropolitan regions of China. A systematic review of current near-term policies reveals how far these challenges have already been addressed on different administrative levels and which gaps may exist from an external perspective. Based on the current decision- and policy-making processes among national, regional, provincial and municipal levels, policy implications are identified with regard to an effective energy system transition in eastern China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research Progress for Energy Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Multi-Dimensional Indexes for the Sustainability Evaluation of an Active Distribution Network
Energies 2019, 12(3), 369; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12030369 - 24 Jan 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
An active distribution network (ADN) differs from a traditional distribution network in many aspects, one of which is the integration of a large amount of distributed generation (DG), especially intermittent photovoltaics (PVs). The integration of intermittent PVs has both pros and cons for [...] Read more.
An active distribution network (ADN) differs from a traditional distribution network in many aspects, one of which is the integration of a large amount of distributed generation (DG), especially intermittent photovoltaics (PVs). The integration of intermittent PVs has both pros and cons for the distribution system. As the platform on which new techniques work and the main body of a greener future energy system, the development of an ADN has to be sustainable, need-oriented, and environmentally friendly, and the traditional technical–economic evaluation method cannot meet the requirements and provide advice in the decision-making process. Based on the concept of sustainable development, we used an ADN with the integration of a large number of distributed PVs (DGPVs) as an example and established a multi-dimensional index system to evaluate the sustainable development level (SDI) of the ADN. The analysis was based on a platform we built with consideration of the investment feasibility of the DGPVs’ investors, state and industrial policies, and their interactions with the distribution system. We first compared the development of DGPVs and the SDI of the ADN as the carrier of DGPVs under different state policies, and second, we compared the SDIs of three city ADNs with different solar resources and demand levels, but under the same state policy. The analysis results showed that different integration levels of DGPVs can be set for a city/area ADN with different solar resources and demand to achieve a comparable SDI, and a comprehensive incentive mechanism could be adopted for the development of DGPVs. In this way, the benefits of different parties can be considered at the same time and finally, the coordination of the sustainable development of multi-parties can be achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research Progress for Energy Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Problem Orientated Analysis on China’s Shale Gas Policy
Energies 2018, 11(11), 2962; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11112962 - 31 Oct 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
China has accelerated the pace of shale gas development from 2010. A series of policies were issued by the Chinese government to motivate and regulate shale gas exploration and exploitation. In order to investigate the effectiveness of these policies and provide reference to [...] Read more.
China has accelerated the pace of shale gas development from 2010. A series of policies were issued by the Chinese government to motivate and regulate shale gas exploration and exploitation. In order to investigate the effectiveness of these policies and provide reference to the policymakers, the most relevant policies from 2010 to 2016 were collected and analyzed. Our study summarized that, in total, eight government agencies issued 25 related policies, which cover all the main problems that impede China’s shale gas industry. With the aid of these policies, the approved research and development (R&D) funds exceed 350 million Chinese yuan (CNY) ($55 million), and over 80 domestic companies participated in exploration rights bidding and nine foreign companies initiated thirteen international cooperation projects. In 2016, China’s shale gas production reached 7.88 × 109 m3, ranking third in the world. However, these policies still have some shortcomings, such as low environmental concerns, weak financial stimulus, and inefficient implementation. Therefore, we suggest that future policy should put particular emphasis on (1) formulating special environmental regulations and determining development scale based on water resource; (2) providing detailed implementation plans and maintaining stable subsidy; (3) enhancing communication and supervision; and (4) establishing a public big data platform. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research Progress for Energy Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Policy, Air Quality, and Local Attitudes toward Renewable Energy on the Adoption of Woody Biomass Heating Systems
Energies 2018, 11(11), 2873; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11112873 - 23 Oct 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Heat produced from woody biomass accounts for a significant portion of renewable energy in the United States. Economic and federal policy factors driving institutional adoption of woody biomass heating systems have been identified and examined in previous studies, as have the effects of [...] Read more.
Heat produced from woody biomass accounts for a significant portion of renewable energy in the United States. Economic and federal policy factors driving institutional adoption of woody biomass heating systems have been identified and examined in previous studies, as have the effects of state policies in support of biomass heating. However, plans for a number of mid- to large-scale biomass facilities have been abandoned after being proposed in communities with many of the factors and policies considered favorable to the adoption of such systems. In many of these cases, opponents cited potential negative impacts on local air quality, despite being generally in favor of renewable energy. This study employed a zero inflated negative binomial (ZINB) statistical model to determine if state policies, air quality, and local attitudes toward renewable energy have a significant effect on the adoption and retention of distributed-scale biomass combustion systems used for institutional heating. State policy appears to have a negligible effect, while the influences of historic and current air pollution and local emissions appear insignificant. However, local attitudes in favor of renewable energy are associated with the adoption and retention of distributed-scale woody biomass heating systems. This is an indication of the importance of local support in determining the fate of future biomass energy projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research Progress for Energy Policy)
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Open AccessFeature PaperEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Economic Advantages of Dry-Etched Black Silicon in Passivated Emitter Rear Cell (PERC) Photovoltaic Manufacturing
Energies 2018, 11(9), 2337; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11092337 - 05 Sep 2018
Cited by 13
Abstract
Industrial Czochralski silicon (Cz-Si) photovoltaic (PV) efficiencies have routinely reached >20% with the passivated emitter rear cell (PERC) design. Nanostructuring silicon (black-Si) by dry-etching decreases surface reflectance, allows diamond saw wafering, enhances metal gettering, and may prevent power conversion efficiency degradation under light [...] Read more.
Industrial Czochralski silicon (Cz-Si) photovoltaic (PV) efficiencies have routinely reached >20% with the passivated emitter rear cell (PERC) design. Nanostructuring silicon (black-Si) by dry-etching decreases surface reflectance, allows diamond saw wafering, enhances metal gettering, and may prevent power conversion efficiency degradation under light exposure. Black-Si allows a potential for >20% PERC cells using cheaper multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) materials, although dry-etching is widely considered too expensive for industrial application. This study analyzes this economic potential by comparing costs of standard texturized Cz-Si and black mc-Si PERC cells. Manufacturing sequences are divided into steps, and costs per unit power are individually calculated for all different steps. Baseline costs for each step are calculated and a sensitivity analysis run for a theoretical 1 GW/year manufacturing plant, combining data from literature and industry. The results show an increase in the overall cell processing costs between 15.8% and 25.1% due to the combination of black-Si etching and passivation by double-sided atomic layer deposition. Despite this increase, the cost per unit power of the overall PERC cell drops by 10.8%. This is a significant cost saving and thus energy policies are reviewed to overcome challenges to accelerating deployment of black mc-Si PERC across the PV industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research Progress for Energy Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Study on the Incentives Mechanism for the Development of Distributed Photovoltaic Systems from a Long-Term Perspective
Energies 2018, 11(5), 1291; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11051291 - 18 May 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Sharing the benefits of distribution systems from the integration of distributed photovoltaic systems (DGPVs) with investors is vital to the coordinated development of DGPVs and active distribution systems (ADN). The investment and development of DGPVs, incentive policies, and the development of distribution system [...] Read more.
Sharing the benefits of distribution systems from the integration of distributed photovoltaic systems (DGPVs) with investors is vital to the coordinated development of DGPVs and active distribution systems (ADN). The investment and development of DGPVs, incentive policies, and the development of distribution system interact, and the interactions vary with the changes in the on-grid capacity of DGPVs. In this paper, an event-driven co-simulation platform is built to simulate the abovementioned interaction among DGPVs, ADN, and incentive policy under a long-term time frame. The platform includes an investment model of DGPV investors and an ADN model with consideration of the growth of the ADN. On this platform, we study how multiple factors, including incentive system, global horizontal radiance (GHR), and cost, affect the investment and integration of DGPVs in the future 10 years. Simulation and analysis showed that investors’ decisions are more sensitive to variation in GHR and cost, followed by variation in tariff system, subsidy, and self-use ratio. Distribution subsidies have certain impact on the development of DGPV and could partially replace the national and provincial capacity and generation subsidies. When the on-grid capacity reaches a certain level, the distribution subsidy reaches a dynamic equilibrium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research Progress for Energy Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact Analysis of Customized Feedback Interventions on Residential Electricity Load Consumption Behavior for Demand Response
Energies 2018, 11(4), 770; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11040770 - 28 Mar 2018
Cited by 22
Abstract
Considering the limitations of traditional energy-saving policies, a kind of energy conservation method called the Information Feedback to Residential Electricity Load Customers, which could impact the demand response capacity, has increasingly received more attention. However, most of the current feedback programs provide the [...] Read more.
Considering the limitations of traditional energy-saving policies, a kind of energy conservation method called the Information Feedback to Residential Electricity Load Customers, which could impact the demand response capacity, has increasingly received more attention. However, most of the current feedback programs provide the same feedback information to all customers regardless of their diverse characteristics, which may reduce the energy-saving effects or even backfire. This paper attempts to investigate how different types of customers may change their behaviors under a set of customized feedback. We conducted a field survey study in Qinhuangdao (QHD), China. First, we conducted semi-structured interviews to classify four groups of customers of different energy-saving awareness, energy-saving potential, and behavioral variability. Then, 156 QHD households were surveyed using scenarios to collect feedback of different scenarios. Social science theories were used to guide the discussion on the behavior changes as a result of different feedback strategies and reveal the reasons for customers’ behaviors. Using the Chi-Square test of independence, the variables that have strong correlations with the categories of residents are extracted to provide references for residents’ classification. Finally, the practical implications and needs for future research are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research Progress for Energy Policy)
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Review

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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceReview
Policies to Overcome Barriers for Renewable Energy Distributed Generation: A Case Study of Utility Structure and Regulatory Regimes in Michigan
Energies 2019, 12(4), 674; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12040674 - 20 Feb 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Because of its environmental damage and now often being the most expensive source for electricity production, coal use is declining throughout the United States. Michigan has no active coal mining and seemingly supportive legislation for distributed generation (DG) and renewable energy (RE) technologies. [...] Read more.
Because of its environmental damage and now often being the most expensive source for electricity production, coal use is declining throughout the United States. Michigan has no active coal mining and seemingly supportive legislation for distributed generation (DG) and renewable energy (RE) technologies. However, Michigan still derives approximately half of its power production from large centralized coal plants, despite the availability of much lower cost RE DG technologies. To understand this conundrum, this study reviews how Michigan investor owned utilities utilize their political power to perpetuate utility structures that work toward the financial interests of the utilities rather than the best interests of the state’s electricity consumers, including other firms and residents. Background is provided covering the concept of DG, the cost savings associated with DG, and utility regulatory regimes at the national, regional, state, and local levels. Recent case studies from specific utility strategies are provided in order to illustrate how Michigan utilities manipulate regulatory regimes via policy misinterpretation to deter or hinder the proliferation of DG in favor of maintaining the existing interests in centralized, fossil fuel-based electrical energy production. The results of this study demonstrate how DG proliferation is hindered by Michigan regulated utilities via the exercise of political power within existing legal and regulatory regimes. This highlights the need to think about how utilities may interpret and implement rules when designing energy legislation and policy to maximize the benefits for consumers and society. Policy recommendations and alternate strategies are provided to help enhance the role of energy policy to improve rather than limit the utilization of RE DG. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research Progress for Energy Policy)
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