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Transcript of Renewable Energy
Global consumption and capacity
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Building large hydroelectric power plants can lead to major environmental damage flooding the homes of animals and displacing people.
Carbon dioxide and methane emissions.
High initial investment.
In time of drought, hydroelectric power plants are not able to produce electricity due to low water levels.
Flooding disrupt the ecosystems (i.e. local fish cannot swim upstream, fish killed by the turbine).
Very reliable and stable source of energy.
It is not intermittent energy source like solar and wind.
High efficiency (only small amount of energy gets wasted in the process of generating electricity).
Low operational and maintenance costs.
Not suited to meet base load energy demand unless some form of energy storage is utilized (e.g. batteries).
Wind is inconsistent, unsteady and unpredictable.
High investment for manufacturing and installation of wind turbines (both commercial and residential).
Wind turbines can be a threat to migratory species (e.g. birds, bats).
Noise pollution from the turbines.
Renewable and sustainable.
Enormous potential is enormous (20 times more than the entire human population needs).
Low operational costs.
Prices have decreased over 80% since 1980 and are expected to keep decreasing.
Can be placed inland or offshore.
Reduces the use of fossil fuels.
Converts waste into fuel.
Reduces climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Not affected by weather or environment conditions.
Can produce a steady and dependable flow of energy 24/7.
Large space required to build a biomass plant.
Requires a lot of water for breaking down organic wastes.
Some biomass resources are not available all year round.
The geography of a country limits the types of biomass used to create energy.
If biomass is overused, then deforestation and other environmental problems can develop.
High cost of installation / start-up capital.
To access vast majority of the energy, the earth’s crust has to be drilled for extreme distances.
Drilling into heated rock is very difficult.
Prime sites are often far from population centers.
Losses due to long distance transmission of electricity.
Prime sites are very location-specific.
Not subject to the same fluctuations as solar or wind.
Enormous amount of thermal energy deep within the earth.
Considered the “greenest” of all renewable energy types.
Lifetime costs of geothermal operations (both in residences and generation plants) are smaller than other types of energy.
Energy under our feet
Initial cost of solar cells is very high.
Only able to generate electricity during daylight hours.
Weather can affect the efficiency of solar cells.
Pollution produced as a result of solar panels manufacturing.
Large areas are required for installation of solar cells.
Renewable / abundant / clean energy.
Multiple applications: electricity and water heating.
Ability to harness electricity in remote locations that are not linked to a national grid.
High ROI: Although initial investment may be high, once installed, it provides a free source of electricity.
Financial Support from some government/states.
Technology is improving.
The development of several massive wind farms is taking place. The United States aims at least 20 percent of its electricity by wind power by 2030.
Sharp, a solar panel manufacturer in Japan, introduced transparent solar power windows.
Upward trend in developing countries in 2012, with investments in the South topping $112 billion vs $132 billion in developed countries.
Main issue holding back investment last year was instability in the policy regime for renewable energy.
China was the dominant country in 2012 for investment in renewable energy. But there were also sharp increases in investment for several other emerging economies, including South Africa, Morocco, Mexico, Chile and Kenya.
Barriers to Renewable Energy
"Renewable energy is energy
that is not substantially depleted by continued use,
does not entail significant pollutant emissions
or other environmental problems,
and does not involve the perpetuation
of substantial health hazards or social injustices”
- Godfrey Boyle -
ㄘHow it works
Global Geothermal Electricity Capacity (2011)
– Select Countries
Top Countries with Installed Renewable Electricity by Technology (2011)
Sources: EIA, Bloomberg New Energy Finance
where do you find Geothermal energy?
Geothermal in Iceland
Biomass in Brazil
Current energy markets, institutions and policies have been developed to support the production and use of fossil fuels.
Main obstacles to commercialization are political, not technical.
National grids are tailored towards the operation of centralized power plants and thus favor their performance.
Lack of consumer awareness and information dissemination.
Higher capital cost (initial investment).
Taxes and subsidies.
Inadequate financing options for renewable energy.
Poor public perception of renewable energy aesthetics.