This paper by Eric Martinot provides a survey of the existing markets for renewable energy, the past and existing policies that have facilitated those markets, and the implications of electric power sector restructuring for renewable energy. The paper concludes by considering future prospects, from both economic and policy perspectives.
Global renewable energy markets have grown tremendously in the past decade. This growth has been driven first and foremost by supportive national and local policies, many of which have effectively overcome the barriers that continue to put renewable energy at a competitive disadvantage to fossil fuels. Aggressive technology improvements and cost reductions, better market information, growing awareness of global climate change, local environmental concerns, and rural development needs in the poorest countries have also been important drivers of this growth.