Countries around the world currently have very impressive plans to supply all of their energy needs with renewable energy options. How do they plan on doing it?
Amazingly, countries are not aiming for total change. Instead, they are implementing incremental goals, and these have sparked a question among renewable energy experts.
Can countries actually reach 100% renewable energy – and what are the barriers to this lofty goal?
Global Director, Kevin Smith of Renewable, suggests that these are lofty ambitions, and powering an entire country with renewable energy can be inspirational, and in a few countries even achievable; however, the environment of such countries must be blessed with abundant renewables that can be used safely and cost-effectively.
Countries such as Iceland could be the perfect example:
“We should also analyze why the need to achieve 100% renewables is the goal. Is this really the best goal for the country? For example, Iceland isn’t renewable powered because they set a specific goal to be so, but because it’s the best option given their local conditions.”
All renewable energy experts agree that every country’s ambition should be to address global warming and implementing the lowest carbon emission system possible. Nations should also implement power supply diversity to take advantage of local resources. However, in Smith’s opinion, 100% supply solutions may not identify the technical, societal and costs risks associated with such an absolute goal.
Dr. Geoffrey Kinsey, of the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, suggests that fossil fuels will be exhaustible, and so we need a transition to a system that is only that runs on sustainable energy. Still, an immediate focus on 100% renewables might cost more criticism than support. A better option may be to focus on a higher penetration of more than 50% of renewable energy, and this can lead to a better more sustainable future.
John Deasey, Sales Manager of renewable energies, believes that petroleum industry is still a leading industry player, and it may not be feasible to replace the industry in its entirety with renewable energy. However there is certainly room for more growth in this natural resource industry.
The industrial scale growth of wind farms clearly indicates that renewables can become a major power source. However it is highly unlikely that they completely overpower fossil sources. He believes that the main barriers to renewable energy sources are costs and commercial scalability, despite the current legal objections.
Renewable energies may very well offer 100% energy sources in the future, however most experts agree, that it’s not within the foreseeable future of 10 to 15 years. Goals are incremental, so reaching total 100% renewable energy sources is possible in a far off future.