Technological Factors of Renewable Energy Development Essay
The main issue that this paper has with renewable energy resources at the present is that they have yet to be classified as a reliable form of main energy generation for a country or region. There are three reasons behind this:
Renewable energy resources from a commercial energy standpoint are as of yet an unproven method of reliable energy production
The means by which renewable energy is produced requires a high initial start-up cot
Finally, in terms of overall reliability only geothermal plants or hydroelectric dams are the only proven reliable sources of renewable energy both of which cannot be used in all countries around the world due to the overall lack of the necessary geothermal or hydroelectric sources to actually create them (Ben Assa, Ben Jebli & Ben Youssef 2014).
What this means is that some places simply lack access to areas where magma is close enough to the surface that it can be reliably tapped for energy. The same problem applies to land locked countries or regions that simply do not have access to ocean waves as a means of producing energy (Kosenius & Ollikainen 2013).
It is based on these limitations that this paper will examine the technological factors behind renewable energy development, their necessity and the current limitations that plague them at the present.
It is the assumption of this paper that renewable energy is a needed energy resource, however, due to its current technological limitations it is still not a viable method of energy production.
Necessity of Renewable Energy
As population centres continue to grow, both in technological sophistication and population density, so to do the energy demands they place on a centres energy infrastructure (Kirsten 2014).
Based on current estimates of the electrical use per household in regions such as the U.S., UK and the Middle East, it has been shown that on average a home/apartment in these regions spends roughly $1,500 per year on electricity consumption with an average daily use of 17 to 31 Kwhs (Kilowatt-hours) per day or 8250 kWh per annum (Liu, Perng & Ho 2013).
This results in the production of 8 tons of carbon pollution per household created each year due to the fact that 80% of in the worlds energy needs are met through the use of fossil fuel burning power plants. This represents literally billions of tones of carbon pollution released into the atmosphere on a yearly basis.
Technological Factors behind Renewable Energy
Commercially speaking, when comparing fossil fuel burning power plants to either solar powered arrays or wind turbines most energy producers would choose to construct a fossil fuel burning plant rather than a renewable energy production site.
The reasoning behind this is simple, fossil fuel power plants simply require less space and produce more power compared to solar or wind generated energy sources.
In order to prove this point the example of Egypt and its attempt at utilizing renewable energy resources should prove to be an adequate example (Boie, Fernandes, Fras & Klobasa 2014).
In its attempt to expand into the renewable energy industry in order to supply energy starved populace with more electricity, Egypt introduced both solar and wind energy into its electricity producing infrastructure (Boie, Fernandes, Fras & Klobasa 2014).
The result was the wind turbine installations in the Red Sea producing only 230 MW while the solar energy array only produced 30 MW.
When taking into consideration the fact that Egypt requires 36GW within the next 10 years in order to keep up with demand indicates that renewable energy resources currently do not have the needed capacity to keep up with an ever increasing demand for electricity (Boie, Fernandes, Fras & Klobasa 2014).
This shows that from a production standpoint, renewable energy simply cannot keep up with the current demand for electricity.
Technological Limitations of Renewable Energy Production
Other issues related to renewable energy production come in the form of its high start-up costs and the sheer amount of space needed in order to properly put it in place.
First and foremost, it should be noted that many of todays developed regions such as Western Europe and the U.S. have actually been advocating for the use of renewable energy resources and have been going down this path (Arigliano, Caricato, Grieco & Guerriero 2014).
Unfortunately, many of todays developing countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines simply cannot afford to implement the same standards in energy production since , hydroelectric dams, wind farms and even geothermal power plants simply cost far more initially with little in the way of an immediate return on investment as compared to a standard fossil fuel power plant which does not require that much space and returns on the investment are almost immediate (Smil 2014).
Another factor that should be taken into consideration is the fact that most of todays methods of renewable energy product require vast amounts of space (Shafiei & Salim 2014).
While this would be feasible in countries with a lot of landmass such as the U.S., Russia and several countries in the Middle East, this is not feasible in countries with limited amounts of space such as Singapore and Thailand (Zhang, Andrews-Speed, Zhao & He 2013).