Three major sources of renewable energy – solar, wind, and nuclear – have made large inroads in the energy world in recent years. All three forms of renewable energy are considered popular and viable options for generating electricity, mostly because of the abundance of sunshine, wind, and nuclear power plants that exist. The sun provides us with an unlimited supply of energy – we just need to capture and store it. The wind helps us power our devices, and nuclear energy provides us with clean, safe, and reliable power.
Nuclear energy is, in particular, beneficial because it enables us to generate electricity at almost any place and time. It does not require a huge amount of land, fresh water, or huge installation costs like the other two. If we compare it to fossil fuels, which are the primary source of energy for now, then nuclear power is the clear winner.
Solar power and wind power have also become popular in recent years due to the development and proliferation of solar PV panels and wind turbines. These renewable energy sources allow for almost anywhere electricity generation, especially in regions that get a lot of sunshine and wind. As prices for solar and wind energy continue to come down, we will see an increasing number of people and companies opting for these forms of energy instead of traditional fossil fuels.
The Big Winners: Solar, Wind, And Nuclear Energy
It is important to recognize the winners in any competitive industry. In the renewable energy space, we have seen big success for solar, wind, and nuclear energy. Since the beginning of this year alone, the prices of solar and wind energy have dropped, and new data shows that solar energy is now more affordable than ever. There are a lot of reasons why these forms of energy have triumphed, but we will mention some of the most important here.
Affordable And Scalable
The cost of generating electricity from solar and wind energy has decreased significantly in recent years. The cost of solar power has decreased by around 80%, while the cost of wind power has decreased by around 50%. This is largely due to the fact that solar power and wind power are now mature technologies, and thus relatively easy and affordable to implement. For instance, residential solar power is now a reality, and anyone can purchase a rooftop solar system that will generate electricity for their home.
The cost of building a nuclear power plant is incredibly high. It takes a lot of time and money to get the design phase right, as well as to get the necessary licensing from the government. Once a plant is up and running, it needs to be periodically checked and maintained to ensure it continues producing electricity at an optimal level. These costs add up, and it is often said that a nuclear power plant is financially unfeasible to build except for large energy companies or governments. While this might be true in terms of the capital required, it does not mean that it is not affordable in terms of the cost of electricity generated. Even then, the cost of electricity from a nuclear power plant is still considerably cheaper than that of electricity generated from fossil fuels.
Durability And Reliability
One of the major criticisms that can be leveled at traditional fossil fuels is that they are not very durable or reliable. Of course, this is largely due to the fact that a lot of heavy machinery is required to extract them, and they are susceptible to damage and disruption from extreme temperatures and stress. For instance, oil platforms that are situated in the oceans are at risk of being damaged or even sunk by large waves or storm surges. These forms of damage cause huge loses in terms of both money and time, which inevitably leads to higher costs.
If we compare this to the durability and reliability of solar and wind energy, it is clear that fossil fuels do not even come close. The components of a solar or wind turbine are, for the most part, either made of metal or plastic, and they are designed to withstand extreme pressure and temperatures. They can thus perform reliably for a long time without needing regular servicing or replacement.
No More Fears Of Energy Shortages
Many people fear that renewable energy will lead to energy shortages. After all, we have plenty of sunshine and wind, but where will we put all this energy? One of the concerns about energy shortages is the fact that we do not yet have a reliable way to store surplus energy. This is why many people opt to use batteries, which are not that efficient, or pumped-hydroelectric plants, which are relatively expensive and inefficient.
Nuclear energy provides a safe, reliable, and almost inexhaustible source of energy. However, for this reason, people often fear that the world will run out of nuclear fuel, sooner or later. This would certainly be a problem in terms of availability of energy, but it would not be a problem in terms of cost. If we compare this to the other two sources of renewable energy, then it is clear that nuclear energy does not have any significant competition when it comes to affordability and scalability. There is no reason to fear that our supplies of renewable energy will run out anytime soon.
These three sources of renewable energy – solar, wind, and nuclear – have made a massive difference in the energy world in terms of both availability and cost. The future of renewable energy does not lie in hydrogen production or battery storage, but rather in harvesting and storing the energy from the sun and the wind. Even then, it is still considerably cheaper to generate electricity from renewable energy sources than it is to generate electricity from fossil fuels. The question is no longer whether or not we will use renewable energy sources, but rather how much.