A common misconception in the discourse about renewable energy is that it is reserved for wealthy nations or the developed world. Critics of green energy claim the rest of the world cannot afford to invest in alternative energy sources. However, the notion that "low cost" and "low carbon" technologies are mutually exclusive is simply not true. Solar photovoltaic (PV) generation costs are decreasing, and in most countries the cost of PV power is already lower than new coal and gas. In need of new energy sources, developing nations have also increased their spending on wind, hydropower and solar infrastructure. Europe and North America got where they are by using dirty but inexpensive energy sources — oil and coal — to fuel cheap production and manufacturing. They are now in an advantageous position because their economies have the headroom required to manage the transition to renewables. Germany, in particular, used its feed-in tariff policy to stimulate a green business sector that ...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now