Renewable Energy Worldwide: Crude future uncertain in face of renewable resources
The year ahead – Crude future uncertain in face of renewable – on the outskirts of Dubai the Mohammed bin Rashid solar park is producing Renewable Energy Worldwide, clean energy at record low prices. Korea’s energy ministry announced its new energy roadmap for the next 12 years in line with the worldwide trend of turning to renewable energy.
On what an oil exporter in the Middle East and the North Africa region, PG&E is trying to store energy from the Sun for times of peak consumption which is a crucial part of the renewable energy future. It is actually a set of sodium sulfur batteries linked together to make one massive battery with the intention of solving the primary challenge presented by renewable energy. In fact the technology is evolving so fast that the lithium-ion Tesla battery is already kind of outdated at just a few years old anything new would probably look very different probably much smaller depending on the needs of the customers in the area but the idea of storing power for release on demand is the holy grail in the world of energy so think of this battery as a glimpse of the future.
Some entrepreneurs and scientists say that if we wanted to we could run whole countries on sunlight and wind. Actually, it doesn’t take much if you wanted to power the entire United States with solar panels you only need about a hundred miles by 100 miles, storing power from when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing so that we can use that power later. We do this all the time with batteries at home but replacing fossil fuels will require ingenious ways to store power. Some methods have been around for a while the US has stored power in reservoirs. Since the 1930s we pump water uphill when power is abundant and release it downhill to spin turbines when power is scarce. In the same way, we can pump empty caves full of compressed air so it can be released to spend turbines later. We can even store power by beaming concentrated sunlight onto towers of molten salt which can stay hot enough to turn water into useful steam for as long as a week.
Elon Musk, the co-founder of Tesla is still pinning his hopes on batteries which are easy to charge and transport. Putting these technologies to use nationally will be a huge undertaking though, right now, the US stores less than 3% of its total power needs at any one time and we only meet 10% of our energy demand with renewable. To hit 100%would require an enormous investment, not only in solar panels and turbines but in storage too. You can’t put a reservoir just anywhere and fields of batteries or salt power storage for solar plants are still more expensive than coal.
Critics worried that proclaiming the Renewable Renaissance is right around the corner can actually make it harder to move toward that future. It discounts another energy tech like nuclear power and ignores all of the research and development we still have to do to give renewable a bigger slice of the market. The good news we are moving toward that future, the US government is issuing more permits for hydropower reservoirs. Public and private sectors are both building better batteries. A small power company in San Rafael named as Marine Clean Energy or MCE is making large strides in promoting sustainable energy over fossil fuels and its latest project is located in a most unexpected place of 60 acres, the Chevron Oil Refinery in Richmond. In 2014, Chevron offered the land as part of its modernization plan and after a year of construction MCE last week quietly threw the switch on the 10.5MW plant and began generating enough power to supply more than 3400 homes. Richmond’s Mayor says alternative power companies like MCE are changing how energy is generated by steering consumers dollars toward green energy providers and without a huge sacrifice. The 23 million dollars solar plant was made possible by customers who agreed to pay an extra $4 dollars a month. As customers take control of where their money is spent projects like this are changing the landscape of power in California. In the city’s power still comes from cheap and plentiful coal but changes are underway.
Magnolia has some of the world’s largest untapped reserves of coal which is its biggest export but that isn’t stopping the exploration of vast energy resources found above the ground. 220 kilometres north of the capital Ulaanbaatar, the country’s first commercial solar plant is now supplying the central electricity grid funded by Japan. Part of a bilateral emissions reduction program it is seen as a big boost to Magnolia’s renewable energy sector. Even in the northern part of Magnolia this
The 10MW solar plant is working well and there is no reason to deny the opportunity of harnessing the solar power from here to the southern border of Magnolia. Magnolia is one of the least populated countries in the world but mining a livestock herding is its biggest industries. The government is keen to cap the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by promoting renewable energy emission per capita or carbon intensity comparing today’s Asian regions quite high, that is why government mostly focuses on reducing the GHG emissions especially from the energy sector under Paris Agreement. The target is to supply 20% of the country’s energy needs with renewable by 2020 but beyond climate goals, renewables are also seen as good business. Magnolia’s first commercial wind farm is now five years old, behind it is working in a second 50MW farm in the Gobi Desert with Japan’s Softbank. With renewable not yet supplying 10% of the country’s energy the export goal may appear distant one but as long as the sun shines and the wind blows, Magnolia seems ready to go the distance.
Lower Austria’s main natural resource, Hydro-electric power stations, supply homes and businesses. 20 meters down water repels 9 giant turbines in this power station, one of the region’s biggest at this power plant, and an annual consumption to about 400,000 households is generated. Hydraulic energy meets 60% of lower Austria’s electricity needs, winds 30%, thanks to 3 billion Euros investment over 15 years. It secures jobs and promotes exports. Transitions welcomed by inhabitants, visible population 4,500, many houses have photovoltaic panels. In 2012, the cost of 23 panels was 12,000 Euros and in just another two years made the return in investment.