Technological advancements and their impact on renewable energy sector

In addition to environmental issues, development of renewable energy also responds to a need for diversification of energy sources. Although renewable energy is theoretically unlimited, their potential varies with climatic, geographical location and storage possibilities. The advantages and disadvantages of the different renewable energies are surmounted below

Solar power

Solar is a relatively expensive energy source and, therefore, still undeveloped, although starting to take off with the increasing prices of fossil fuels. Although it cannot alone replace fossil fuels, it has the advantage of achieving significant energy savings, but also a clean energy that does not produce toxic waste and that releases no greenhouse gases. Furthermore, the technologies of domestic solar energy are on the rise and are particularly effective and proven. Solar energy still has some drawbacks because investing in this clean energy is still very expensive. Thus, it is often necessary to obtain state subsidies, associations or banks to be able to embark on a development project of solar energy.

– Solar thermal energy

Advantages: Solar thermal energy produces a high yield and return on investment after she allows to have hot water for free. It also produces 50% of the useful heat energy in a home.

Disadvantages: Not only is it a very expensive energy, but the return on investment is quite long (about 10 years) and the lifetime of the panels is limited (20 to 25).

– Photovoltaic solar energy

Advantages: It is ideal for remote sites or sites that are not connected to a large grid.

Disadvantages: Not only the yield is quite low but the amount of energy produced by the photovoltaic panels depends on the climate and geographical location.

Biomass

Advantages: it is an energy that emits little greenhouse gas that can be stored. Particularly concerning wood energy, there is a wide availability of the resource and the price of firewood is not keeping oil prices.

Disadvantages: It can only have a limited supply because the intensive use of biomass would cause negative impacts on the environment such as deforestation phenomena (when intensive exploitation of wood energy), soil erosions, soil and water pollution (in case of intensive biofuel production).

Wind energy

Advantages: It’s a totally clean and renewable energy and its exploitation does not generate waste materials or rejection. In addition, small plants allow electricity to isolated sites, and sites where the turbines are located are still usable.

Disadvantages: Performance depends entirely on the wind and the wind does not always blow when you need it. Furthermore, wind turbines are unsightly for the landscape and they require some maintenance (cleaning the blades, lubrication …) not to lose their qualities because they are moving mechanical systems.

Geothermal energy

Advantages: It’s an energy that produces no waste and resource is inexhaustible as the received quality geothermal energy is less than the heat from the center of the Earth.

Cons: Overuse of a deposit results in a temperature drop of the basement, so that the quality of the deposit gradually decrease until it runs out completely. In addition, there may be a competition between the water that is pumped to the heat and the water is pumped to itself.

Hydropower

Advantages: It is energy available as streams are dry. In addition, it provides high power and can be stored in reservoirs. It also has great potential as only 20% of sites are being exploited in the world.

Disadvantages: Its use has ecological impacts in the sense that the dams threaten extinction of terrestrial and aquatic species, but they also deal damage to biodiversity. Moreover, the biggest dams sometimes require the displacement of people and there is always the risk of dam failure that can cause considerable human and material damage.

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