Green Energy Solutions – What’s in the Future for Renewable Energy?
Renewables Have the Potential to Replace Existing Sources
In 2019, renewable energy sectors are booming, however, the recession saw drops in electricity demand, according to Peter Behr (Climatewire.com), and the motivation to develop renewable sources may suffer.
President Obama’s support of traditional energy resources such as nuclear and offshore drilling further underscored the near-term direction on energy which this administration will pursue.
Balancing Emerging Technologies with Existing Ones
This policy direction faces some serious decision-making times, and will need to deal with such issues as: how can renewable sources of electrical energy be structured to become the top energy source? How should Congress balance emerging technologies with existing ones? And should the administration expend financial resources into adapting traditional technologies, like clean coal, or should the focus be on wind, solar and other renewable sources of energy?
The renewable energy sector is a new business model and needs to have large and predictable markets to invest in the economies of scale in manufacturing that will drive down costs. For renewable energy technologies, where initial costs are generally higher than prevailing market prices, strong and consistent government policy support is a key requirement for creating initial demand. Here green energy solutions can offer healthier options for all.
Using Existing Technologies Effectively
Many renewable energy sources are already positioned as top energy sources using existing technologies. Wind energy over the last several years has represented a significant share of new electric generation and solar power will soon begin to contribute, as well.
Both wind and solar represent ‘manufactured energy’ since they rely on the availability of a natural resource, coupled with the increasingly sophisticated collection and conversion equipment, to transform the energy produced into concentrated energy sources, which can be transmitted to users efficiently and effectively.
The scale of production is important to both wind and solar to bring costs down. The solar industry is transitioning from a sector of component assembly operations to large-scale manufacturing of solar panels (photo-voltaic modules) and other components. New market entrants are bringing capital, technology and manufacturing experience from established and successful industries, such as semiconductor and display, which will dramatically increase scale, automation, and throughput of photovoltaic module production in the coming years.
Needed: A Renewable Electricity Standard
The administration needs to implement a strong renewable electricity standard, according to allow the market to select the most advantageous mix of resources to minimize costs. On the point of minimizing costs, most states have been able to achieve renewable energy targets at little to no additional cost to ratepayers, at the same time creating significant new job opportunities.
Colorado is one state that has attracted significant renewable energy manufacturing in addition to downstream development jobs. In a recent report, the RES Alliance for Jobs claimed that a national energy policy will support an additional 274,000 renewable energy jobs across the U.S. when measured against a no-national policy option.
At a time when millions of Americans are unemployed, the U.S. administration needs to enact legislation to make renewables a larger part of the energy mix.