The Four Hurdles for Renewable Energy

(Informed) People all too familiar with the challenges of incorporating renewable energy into the existing industrial framework. But we believe that the largest of these hurdles can be overcome with sound planning for the future.

What are the major obstacles that lie between our fossil-fuel guzzling present and a future dominated by renewable and sustainable forms of energy? Inadequate ways of storing solar energy, building photovoltaic cells, burying carbon dioxide and converting sugars into fuel are a few of the answers given by some..

Under existing procedures it could easily take 10-15 years to build a major energy facility.  To transition through the revolution it will required to build thousands of such facilities.  Other countries could build such facilities in much less time, with far less bureaucratic obstacles and less concern for impact on the environment. This would result in further requirements for costly imports, rather than us becoming an exporter of products for which we have abundant natural resources.

#1 – Moving Renewables to High-Consumption Regions

renewable hurdles wind power

Unfortunately, the areas that create a large amount of power are not necessarily those where people want to live. The Midwest and Plains states, for instance, are excellent for energy production, but the populations in these areas are relatively sparse.

Why does this matter? Strict regulations make transmitting power cross-country a complicated process. Morris believes that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is moving in the right direction to improve these regulations.

#2 – The Unreliable Nature of Wind and Solar Power

It goes without saying that it’s not always windy and it’s not always sunny. In order to combat the challenge of making up for energy not generated by these sources, says Morris, we need to also rely on the storage of natural gas and electricity. This would make the problem exponentially easier to overcome.

#3 – Lack of Affordability

renewable hurdles solar panels

Unfortunately, wind and solar power are not yet priced competitively with other power sources. However, like all new technology, this will change over time. Morris states that wind power has already begun dropping significantly since it first hit the market. Solar power is becoming more affordable as well, especially with the increasing popularity of PACE Programs and state and federal tax rebates.

#4 – Green Red Tape

While a significant portion of the population may be eager to see renewable energy sources in their own communities, too many regulations have caused project delays, slowing down progress as a whole. Morris believes this will be cleared up once green projects are commonplace and the system is able to work through its growing pains.

Time seems to be the determining factor in pushing through the majority of renewable energy hurdles. Let’s just hope it’s sooner rather than later.

Source: Smart Planet
Photo Credit: Sacred Earth Trust & Solar Panels 365

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