Dispelling Renewable Energy Myths | The Solar Times

Myth: The sun doesn’t shine at night and the wind doesn’t always blow so renewable energy is not reliable enough to replace fossil fuel generating plants.

Fact: While it is true that “the sun doesn’t shine at night and the wind doesn’t always blow” that does not mean that renewable energy is unreliable. Instead, many reports and studies have shown that the world can be powered with 100% clean, renewable energy sources that exist today even with a growing population.

Renewable energy is complementary, which means that when the sun isn’t shining, often the wind is blowing and vice versa. The combination of wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric power can supply our energy needs in an interconnected grid system.

Myth: Coal, natural gas, and nuclear plans are always 100% reliable so we should stick with these sources for energy.

Fact: Individual coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants also operate intermittently and without storage when they are offline for maintenance, weather issues, transmission failures, natural disasters, etc. In fact, giant power plants are shut 10-12% of the time, often with no warning.

When any of these traditional energy sources go offline, other power plants that are operating continue to power the grid. In the same way, as renewable energy sources get scaled up and get interconnected, they too can provide energy reliably and consistently.

Myth: It will be too expensive to switch to renewable energy.

Fact: The total cost of a 100% switch to renewable energy would be $100 trillion over 20-30 years, without including transmission. Fossil fuel energy will also cost us $100 trillion. The $100 trillion spent on fossil fuel energy does not include health costs (i.e. asthma), environmental costs (i.e. air pollution, climate change), or security costs (i.e. wars over resources, climate-caused instability). So, in the end, renewable energy is cheaper.

The cost of transmission is on average an additional $0.01 per kWh. This means that the cost of transporting energy being generated in one area to another area where it will be used is approximately 1 cent per kWh of energy used.

Myth: The world’s energy demand is growing so renewable energy won’t be sufficient.

Fact: Currently, 7 billion people use 12.5 terawatts (tW) of energy. The projected demand for 2030 is 16.9 tW. However, because so much energy is wasted and lost through inefficiencies, the amount needed for 2030 if wind, water, and solar are employed is estimated to be 11.5 tW. These figures do not even take into account energy efficiency, or demand reduction.

Additionally, the amount of energy that the sun provides in one hour is said to be enough to provide the world’s energy demands for one year. Renewable energy is just that: renewable. It will not run out, and we have plenty of it.

The technology exists; whether there is political will to make clean energy a reality is the question that remains.

For more information or to read reports that describe this clean future, visit:

via Dispelling Renewable Energy Myths | The Solar Times.


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