• The problems of ‘short termism’
• The need for support infrastructure
• The need for public acceptance
Even when novel energy technologies have passed through the research phase successfully, it is sometimes hard for them to get support for full-scale implementation. The existing financial and institutional arrangements and priorities often do not favour new technologies. This chapter looks at some of the financial problems that have faced renewables, using tidal power as an example. The difficulty of promoting energy conservation is also examined, using the experience of the UK’s Energy Saving Trust as an example. Finally, the question is introduced of how public acceptance for novel energy technologies can be gained— since this is the ultimate hurdle in the implementation process.
The momentum behind the development of sustainable energy technology seems fairly well established. For example, the economic benefits of energy conservation are clear and it seems likely that renewable energy technology will increasingly come to the fore as the environmental costs of existing energy technology become more apparent. The global renewable resource potential is large and the economics of the conversion technologies are beginning to look reasonable: for example, wind power is now seen as competitive with conventional sources in some contexts and costs are continually falling.
On the assumption that a commitment is made to a sustainable energy future, Figure 10.1 presents one view of how the global energy use