The Benefits of Renewable Energy
What are the benefits of using renewable energy? This article will explore the sources, costs, and variable nature of these resources. It will also explore the environmental implications of their use. It will also help to clarify some common misconceptions.
Before we move forward, we should first understand how renewable energy works and what policy changes are needed to make the process as smooth as possible. After all, it is our money. Ultimately, renewable energy is a win-win situation for both consumers and the environment.
While it is important to develop new sources of energy, the fact remains that fossil fuels are not inexhaustible and are therefore not sustainable. These sources, on the other hand, do not produce greenhouse gases, which speed up global warming.
There are many advantages of clean energy, including job creation, strengthening electric networks, and reduced energy bills. These energy sources are contributing to the renewable energy revolution, which has established new records in electricity generating capacity.
Natural evaporation from open water surfaces, for example, could provide power at densities comparable to current technologies. This would provide over 325 gigawatts of power in the United States, equivalent to 70 percent of the country's electrical energy generation in 2015.
Other renewable energy sources include wave, tidal, and solar power. However, these sources are not yet mainstream and have not seen as much success as fossil fuels. In addition, there is a negative environmental impact associated with large hydroelectric dams and biomass.
Large hydroelectric dams, however, are still one of the cleanest energy sources. Aside from being renewable, these resources are also completely free. They are completely sustainable and will never run out.
Currently, the cost of renewable energy sources is relatively low. In fact, solar and wind power systems are more affordable than fossil fuels. However, a variety of factors can affect the cost, including location and taxes.
These cost estimates can range from the millions of dollars to trillions of dollars, so it is difficult to predict exactly what these technologies will cost. To get a better idea of cost estimates, we can look at various cost scenarios and examine the economics of renewable energy.
Currently, fossil fuel power generation costs between $0.15 per kilowatt-hour. Meanwhile, renewable electricity costs less than five cents per kilowatt-hour.
In the United States, the cost of electricity generated by onshore wind and solar photovoltaic systems is below five cents per kilowatt-hour. This means that if you replace fossil fuel electricity with renewable energy, you can save between 5 and 18 percent on your energy bills.
LCOE is a more comprehensive way to evaluate the costs of renewable energy. While some studies have overestimated the costs of solar and wind power, others have estimated costs that are lower than today's auction prices.
For example, the cost of offshore wind is expected to fall to between $53 and $64 per MWh in 2050. But these estimates are only the beginning of a new renewable energy industry. There are many other factors that affect the cost of energy production.
The EU has set goals for achieving a 27% share of renewable energy in the energy mix by 2030. Renewable energy resources are based on the chaotic weather and climate conditions, which makes their spatiotemporal variability of resource availability even more important.
Variability of renewable energy resources affects the development of RE technologies, the energy grid, and supply and price fluctuations. This study investigates the spatiotemporal variability of renewable energy resources in Norway, using hydropower, wind power, and solar power as examples.
Solar and wind energy, for example, produce electricity when the weather is sunny. This variability in the supply of renewable energy is managed by utilities, grid operators, and responsive loads. Electricity grids are designed to balance the supply of electricity and demand and to maintain reserves for power plant failures.
As the renewables supply grows, the electricity grid will need to be redesigned to accommodate this variability. By combining different sources of energy, the grid will be less volatile.
While solar and wind sources have a seasonal variability, these sources have generally not caused reliability concerns. Most conventional sources can generate electricity during periods when the wind and solar are insufficient.
Furthermore, projections for the coming decades indicate that the percentage of renewable energy sources in the energy mix will grow in the coming decades, despite the variable nature of their supply. In this context, solar and wind energy have different policy options.
Nonetheless, both can be used to increase electric supply, as long as they don't cause widespread grid failures.
A significant part of the electricity produced in some states is now coming from renewable energy sources. For example, 36.4% of electricity in Kansas was generated from wind in 2018 and almost 20 percent from solar in California. But how does renewable energy compare to fossil fuels?
The environmental impact of renewables and the health benefits of energy generation are difficult to quantify. Read on for a closer look at renewable energy sources and their environmental impacts. Despite the environmental benefits of renewable energy, they are not without their drawbacks.
The environmental impact of renewable energy is dependent on the type of source. Solar power, for instance, has a small impact compared to large-scale solar farms, which tend to take up large tracts of land.
Large solar farms also produce toxic gases and waste, which are disposed of improperly. Regardless of the source, however, there are some important differences between these two types of energy. Here are some of the most significant environmental impacts associated with renewable energy.
While solar and wind energy generate relatively low levels of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and pollutants, they can still be problematic. For instance, some hydropower projects use enormous amounts of water and disturb the land and aquatic life.
As a result, these technologies are not suitable for all environments. Fortunately, there are some measures to minimize the environmental impact of renewable energy sources. And it's not enough to simply stop there. You need to consider the entire lifecycle impact of a new technology before making a decision.
The literature review conducted on the topic of barriers to renewable energy use reveals that social, technological, regulatory, and economic factors affect the deployment of renewable energy.
These barriers affect renewable energy deployment in many ways, ranging from a lack of awareness about its benefits, to the acquisition of land and seascape, and the inability of governments to set practical targets.
Moreover, barriers can be both local and global, and they can have a significant impact on the level of energy security.
As a result, renewable energy has many legitimate barriers that are holding it back from being commercially developed and implemented. In addition, the technology is largely undeveloped and lacks adequate standards for production.
Besides these, renewable energy is also faced with a storage problem, which poses an enormous challenge to commercialization. Because renewable resources are intermittent, electricity grids cannot operate without balancing demand and supply. This is where large batteries come in handy.
Another barrier to renewable energy use is capital costs. While the technology itself is relatively cheap, there are still considerable upfront expenses that prevent the use of renewable energy.
The cost of installing a solar power system, wind turbine, or wind farm is nearly $2,000 per kilowatt. By contrast, a new natural gas plant can cost upwards of $1,000 per kW. Further, there are also numerous social and environmental barriers that prevent the widespread use of renewable energy.
EU Member states
In an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, EU Member states are legally required to use more renewable energy by 2020. To meet this mandate, they must implement ‘appropriate measures' by that date, such as submitting National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREP) to the European Commission.
These plans outline a country's renewable energy targets, including sectoral goals for electricity, heating, and transport. They must also explain how they plan to overcome administrative barriers to increase their use of renewable energy.
The EU has been a leader in promoting renewable energy sources as a way to reduce its energy dependence and combat global warming. In 2009, it enacted a directive that laid out the framework for individual member states to meet a 20 percent target by 2020.
The directive also set individual renewables targets for each member state, with some hitting their goals earlier than others. In 2016, twenty-seven member states met their targets; France missed it by two-thirds.
Towards the end of 2015, the European Commission published a vision for the future of energy within the EU. It set policy priorities such as decarbonisation and security of supply. In November, the EC published its first State of the Energy Union report.
The EC noted that binding national targets for renewables do not fit well into the EU market and need to be replaced with short-term cross-border markets that capture the operational flexibility of a market.
Small island developing states
Energy consumption in small island developing states differs widely. In 1992, they accounted for less than a million tons of oil equivalent per person, but by 2003, their total energy consumption had increased to eight million tons, an average increase of only two percent annually.
While some of these states had high energy consumption, most fell within the range of the least developed countries. There are several reasons for this variation. First, island developing states' energy consumption is linked to per capita GNP, and a decline in energy consumption is inevitable if the economy of a country is not sustained.
Secondly, small island developing states depend heavily on imported oil. The energy consumption of these countries is about 0.88 million b/d, compared to 66 million b/d in the rest of the world.
However, they are heavily dependent on imported petroleum, which accounts for less than a quarter of the world's total energy demand. Most of the oil consumed by these countries is used for transport and electricity generation.