Renewable Energy (RE), every other day, seems to be achieving a new technological breakthrough or another incredible milestone. And yet… overall energy consumption continues to be dominated by fossil fuels.
Even in the U.S., where many of the global clean energy giants are based, RE only made up 11 percent of the national primary energy consumption in 2018.
The single most important issue when it comes to integrating renewables into our energy mix is the lack of energy storage. Our national power grids must constantly and reliably balance supply and demand, a task that is made difficult by the tendency for renewable supply to surge or crash along with the sunlight, wind, and waves.
Sufficient and efficient energy storage would take care of that problem, but it is proving very difficult to produce at competitive prices.
Another key issue with renewables is the space required to produce significant amounts of energy. The largest wind farm in the world, China’s Gansu Guazhou Beidaqiao project, takes up 30 square kilometers of space.
The largest solar plant in the world, the UAE’s Noor Abu Dhabi, takes up 8 square kilometers. A majority of these major projects are built in the desert, but that is not a realistic solution if renewables are going to become our go-to energy source.
Finally, as ironic as it sounds, renewable energy has an environmental problem. Solar plants, wind farms, and hydroelectric dams have all been accused of negatively impacting the ecosystems into which they are placed.
While these key bottlenecks have slowed the renewable energy’s advance, they are slowly but surely being dealt with in a variety of ways like around the world, flywheels, redox flow batteries, thermal storage, compressed air storage, and hydroelectric storage are all making the flow of renewable energy into our power grids more reliable.
We are on our way to a renewable energy based world, the recent coronavirus outbreak has clearly demonstrated the ill effects of fossil fuel based economy and a need to create a new economic model of doing business lets grab this opportunity before it is too late…
Reference- Oilprice, Forbes, The Guardian