Editorial Feature

The Challenges Renewable Energy Sources Face

Renewable energy is defined as energy that is collected from natural resources. Recently there has been growing interest in renewable energy and it has become one of the main sources of energy generation.

Most green energy sources depend on natural, uncontrolled recourses such as the sun, wind, or ocean waves.

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Availability of Power

One of the biggest concerns in the field of renewable energy is power generation depending on natural resources that are uncontrollable by humans. For example, solar powered electricity is generated only when sunshine is available and turns off at night; wind energy also depends on the availability of wind, so if the wind speed is very low, the turbine will not turn, and this result in zero power flow to the grid. On the other hand, too much wind can damage the generator and therefore a delicate balance needs to be maintained in order to keep a consistent generation of energy. The uncertainty in energy production in renewable energy technologies is making integration more complex.

Power Quality Issues

Consistently high power quality is needed to ensure stability and high efficiency of the network. The quality of the power supply allows the system to work well with high reliability and lower costs. On the other hand, poor power quality can have major adverse effects on the power grid as well as industrial processes. It can lead to high costs and equipment failure. Power quality problems include frequency disorder, voltage/current harmonics, low power factor, voltage variation and transmission lines transits.

Resource Location

Most renewable energy plants that share their energy with the grid require large areas of space. In most cases, renewable energy sources are dictated by location which can be off-putting to users. Firstly, some renewable energy sources are simply not available in different regions. Secondly, the distance between the renewable energy source and the grid is a major aspect in term of cost and efficiency. In addition to this, renewable energy sources depend on weather, climate and geographical location, therefore meaning that one type of energy generation is not appropriate for the region.

Information Barrier

While this area is improving, there is a lack of information and awareness about the benefits and need of renewable energy. Investment and capital allowances have been made available for the implementation of renewable energies. There is a clear need for government agencies to assist and advice applicants and potential recipients how to go about applying for renewable energy incentives.

Cost Issue

The high initial cost of installation is one of the major hurdles in the development of renewable energy. Although the development of a coal plant requires about $6 per megawatt, it is known that wind and solar power plants also required high investment. In addition to this, storage systems of the generated energy is expensive and represents a real challenge in terms of megawatt production.


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  4. Stram, B. N. (2016) ‘Key challenges to expanding renewable energy’, Energy Policy. Elsevier, 96, pp. 728–734. doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2016.05.034.
  5. https://savetheearth.org/
  6. Sen, S. and Ganguly, S. (2017) ‘Opportunities, barriers and issues with renewable energy development – A discussion’, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. Elsevier, 69(June 2015), pp. 1170–1181. doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2016.09.137.

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