The Benefits and Disadvantages of Renewable Energy Resources
While the environmental benefits of renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power significantly outweigh the disadvantages, it’s helpful, nonetheless, to consider both in making an informed decision between ‘green’ and ‘non-green’ alternatives. Solar and wind power each have their own benefits and disadvantages, so they can be compared independently.
Solar Power: Benefits & Disadvantages
Solar power is possibly the most commonly used of all available renewable energy resources. Converting the power of the sun to usable residential power is easily accomplished in most parts of the world.
Benefits of solar power:
Disadvantages of solar power:
Wind Power: Benefits & Disadvantages
Harnessing the power of the wind has become one of the most popular renewable energy solutions. In some of the windier areas of Europe, it accounts for more than 10% of energy production. Wind power is steadily growing to be one of the most viable renewable energy resources. Wind turbines are used on large-scale wind farms to generate electricity for entire communities. However they can also be deployed in smaller installations suitable for a single residence.
Benefits of wind power:
Disadvantages of wind power:
The Influence of Trends on Renewable Energy Solutions
While it may appear that both renewable energy solutions have quite a few disadvantages, it’s important to consider a few global trends. The cost of renewable energy resources is steadily decreasing as technology improves the performance per dollar ratio and greater demand lowers production costs. At the same time, the cost of fossil fuels will continue to rise as a growing population increases global energy demand. The exorbitant rise in CO2 emissions has lead to record-setting temperatures caused by global warming. The environmental benefits from using sustainable, clean power are overwhelming.
Incentives for using Renewable Energy Resources
While the initial setup costs for wind, solar, and other forms of green energy are still higher than their non-green alternatives, they are steadily decreasing. In the US, state governments issue a variety of rebates for citizens using renewable energy. In Arizona, for example, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) passed a requirement for utilities to obtain a significant portion of their electricity from renewable energy resources. In order to meet these requirements, many utility companies in Arizona (as well as those in other states), give their customers cash rebates for installing photovoltaic solar electric and other renewable energy systems. Similar legislation is being passed in other states requiring that utilities obtain higher and higher portions of their energy from sustainable resources. Elsewhere, many utility companies offer to “buy” excess power from customers using hybrid renewable/fossil fuel energy.