Obstacles for the Spread of Renewable Energy Sources

Renewable energy sources like solar wind or geothermal all have lots of benefits. They’re eco-friendly (free of toxic emissions to the atmosphere) and constantly refilled by the nature itself. We can not run out of them. They’re also cheap (after initial investment was recurred), and some of them even free. Good example is solar power that has zero cost of capturing sun rays. At this point important question arises: why we actually still use fossil fuels? Why wind, solar and others are called alternative energy sources, and not the primary ones?

The problem that we touch here is a complex one, and we have to see the big picture of global situation to really understand it. I’ll just tell you that more than 70% of obstacles to spread of renewable energy are of political not technical nature. Below you can read about some of the actual reasons.

Governmental grants in great numbers are placed into fossil fuels industry. Of course it doesn’t happen by itself –  oil consortiums are actively lobbying year after year to make it happen. Thanks to that oil and coal energy prices are lower than they “really” are. We still pay the full price (in taxes) but it just seems to be lower. Alternative energy sources on the other hand do not receive so much subsidies, and are struggling with tons of unsupporting regulations.

Traditional energy consortiums can control the market very easy, thanks to low level of customers awareness. The average Joe will not actively seek for other opportunities that those he’s told about in TV.

Most of customers in any given industry will just buy “what’s on the menu”, and not ask for anything else. It’s just the same with energy industry.

Another thing is that we’re lacking  adequate technical and manufacturing stuff needed for large scale production of these technologies. The reason is that it’s in early stadium of commercialisation. Customers can’t get information and training they need easy, so some of them just stay with current supplier.

One more problem is a sort of technical lock-in we got into. All electricity devices we use nowadays are designed for centralised power plants and it’s difficult to overcome the all electricity system.

Understanding these obstacles above we fully recognize how huge transformation we need to make in our whole social system and in governments policies. Most of all we need to allow unconstrained development of this solutions and stopped favouring fossil fuels industry.

Renewable Energy – overview

Renewable energy is a electricity that we receive from natural processes phenomena like geothermal heat, wind, ocean waves or sunlight. That natural phenomena are constantly repeated, and will be constantly repeated forever. Using this sources, we know they’re replenished immediately. If we don’t make use of them  they will just go to waste.

free energy generatorToday the process of replacing traditional energy sources (fossil fuels) with renewable sources is actually just starting. It will be realize on four different areas simultaneously. There will be transformations in:  generating electric energy, fuels used for transport, heating of buildings (and getting hot water) and rural (off-grid) energy services. Let’s examine them a bit closer.

Energy Generating. Nowadays we receive 18 % of all electricity worldwide from renewables. Receivers of many sorts (for example water turbines, windmills, solar panels – free energy generator) are spread across the world. Some of economies managed already to switch into using renewable sources as main ones, or even the only ones. LikeIceland – they’re receiving one hundred percent of electric power from renewables.Brazil also is doing well getting 85 % andNew Zealand 65 %.

Space heating. In some economies using solar rays to heat water makes an important contribution to energy usage policy. We can see that inChinawhere they supply about 50 to 60 million households with this system. There are estimations saying that the rest of the world there is about 70 million building that use that system for water heating. Other houses are heated with biomass, and direct geothermal heating. InSwedenusage of biomass energy has already surpassed that of oil.

Transport fuels. In that area we find renewable source in a form of biofuels. They are in use worldwide (although not in all countries) and let is to partly replace gasoline use. These are the ways transformation into renewable energy sources goes today.

The History of Solar Energy

From how long do you think we use sun energy? Most of think it’s just from few years.. yet this technology would be highly developed already, if we worked on it some longer right? As it brings us free electricity, and uses potential of the sun that in our understanding is close to unlimited, it would squeeze fossil fuels out completely in short time, right? Unfortunately no. Researches on solar energy usage have been taking place from a long time. Exactly from the beginning of ninetieth century already. We noticed fist successes in powering a house with solar energy as early as in 1883 – and still we mostly use fossil fuels today.

As early as during ancient times Greeks and Romans used to build their homes at  a particular angle, that they calculated in details. Thanks to that they could use minimum quantity of wood to heat the house. That was extremely important as proper wood was a rare commodity that times. Even famous philosopher Socrates once told that each house should be south facing. Thanks to that it’ll be receiving a maximum amount of sunrays during the winter. AfterRoman Empirefallen, the idea of using solar energy disappeared for as along as about two thousand years.

And then the renewal time came.  During Industrial Revolution people started massively using fossil fuels to produce electricity. Auguste Mouchout was the first to invent solar battery. He understood the limitations of oil and coal so long ago, when it seems that some people can’t see them even today. These times we were finding new resources of oil and coal on a regular basis. That was the reason no one could actually imagine we’ll ever run out of them. in 1861 first solar battery working fully on solar energy was build. We can say that was the firs free energy generator in the history. Bad luck that was the time when coal prices were dropping down rapidly, and the device was expensive. So it didn’t become popular and was forgotten for obvious reasons.

From then until oil crisis in 1973 all debate about solar energy was limited strictly to scientific circles. Although in 1921 Albert Einstein received Nobel Prize for his researches on principle of photoelectric effects on electrical generation, it didn’t bring any practical breakout. Even when in 1953 Bell Laboratories created a silicon based solar cell that was able to create some electricity it was still much to expensive to become popular.

Yet after 1973 solar panels were developed rapidly. That was mainly thanks to huge sums governments put into researches that led to more efficiency and lower costs of these technologies. Now it’s available for many people even in the form of  solar-panels-home-systems.