Are renewable energy targets useful? Analysts dispute new study questioning their value

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Dive Brief:

A new study from the University of Queensland says that setting renewable energy targets can undermine sustainability efforts by causing decision-makers to lose sight of trade-offs when evaluating policy actions and to overlook the fundamental reasons for the targets.
The research, which was published in Nature Climate Change, concludes that more nuanced approaches than renewable energy targets are more effective, particularly those that focus on qualitative objectives.     
Paul Komor, with the University of Colorado Boulder’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, disagreed with the study’s principal findings, saying targets have led to large increases in renewable energy implementation. 

Dive Insight:
A new study from University of Queensland researchers says that renewable energy targets too often are developed without sufficient consideration of their entire impact, leading to unintended consequences that undermine the intentions behind the targets.
“Setting a target – a quantitative threshold to be attained, such as 80% wind energy — rather than an objective — a qualitative direction in which to go, such as working to maximize wind energy — can blind us to trade-offs when evaluating different policy actions,” said Scott Spillias, a Ph.D. candidate in the university’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, in a press release. “They can also …

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