In the current situation, neither wind nor solar energy can replace natural gas, coal or fossil fuels. But they could in the future, especially if they overcome these limitations. To even be considered as a true alternative, renewable energy must be steady, reliable and always available – no matter what the weather conditions are doing.
What’s the Solution?
Some people believe that energy storage is the solution. However, using a rechargeable battery option can only be a solution if we happen to have a great breathrough in battery technology, and so far, we haven’t been able to do anything in this direction.
Wind and Solar Should Produce a Fuel
Actually, the best way to have continual use of renewable energy is to use wind and solar energy sources to create a non-carbon, zero-emission fuel. This is a fuel that has a chemical or nuclear reaction that helps it create energy.
The fuel in question might be a hydrogen. This is a carrier of energy that can be safe when stored in special metal hydrides. But currently this might be a method that is too expensive to use.
Another option might be to use metal as a fuel source. Metals store energy and have electrons that move when something reactions to it. So the reaction coupled with the replenishing of the metal can make it a fuel. But again, this method may not be cost effective.
Still, some type of storage device is needed to make the use of alternative energy function as a full energy source. In other words, if we could divert the solar and wind electricity to a production facility that would store it and make some kind of non-carbon fuel through the use of hydrogen or metal storage and combustion methods (or some other substance), you would have a clean energy turned into a fuel that could power the world forever. The planet would have a permanent clean energy supply with no worries as to when it will stop providing energy.
These are ideas that renewable energy scientists are still mulling around. The secret lies in using these energys to make some type of fuel that will continually power the equipment we need, without our having to worry about the availability of wind or sun to get the energy.