Renewable Energy Sources Pros and Cons

The Real Pros and Cons of Renewable Energy Sources

Any debate on the sources of renewable energy automatically leads us to a discussion about its pros and cons. Presented below are some important points regarding the same.
With fuel prices constantly rising and global oil reserves on the verge of declining, renewable energy sources are very good options for the future. This concept is being increasingly promoted and publicized all over the world.

Types of Renewable Energy

The various known forms are listed below:
  • Solar energy
  • Hydro energy
  • Tidal energy
  • Wind energy
  • Geothermal energy
  • Biomass
  • Fuel cells
  • Nuclear energy
Solar energy is obtained from the Sun's rays, which can be utilized for numerous domestic as well as industrial applications. Hydro power is generated by using the potential energy of stored water to produce electricity. Tidal energy is a process, in which the kinetic energy of sea waves is used to generate power. In case of wind energy, wind or flowing air is used to rotate the blades of a windmill for generation of power. Geothermal energy makes use of the Earth's natural heat (in the form of underground steam and hot water springs), to power turbines and generate electricity. Biomass is a concept, wherein the plant and animal waste, agricultural residue, decomposed material, etc., are chemically combined for the generation of power. Fuel cells mainly rely on the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity (and water as a byproduct). Nuclear energy is obtained by artificial nuclear fission of radioactive ions.

Listed below are the pros and cons of renewable energy sources.

  • Fossil fuels are exhaustible sources of energy, whereas renewable energy sources are inexhaustible, and can be easily replenished.
  • Most of the latter ones do not involve the combustion or burning of fossil fuels or other substances, which would result in the release of toxic chemicals or other harmful atmospheric byproducts. Therefore, they are clean sources of energy, and offer numerous environmental benefits.
  • They are plentiful and are available all over the world. Also, being non-perishable, one doesn't have to worry about their reserves getting declined or exhausted in the future.
  • Most of these sources have low maintenance costs associated with them. Also, the ones like solar energy can be tapped very easily and conveniently, for domestic use by individual home owners.
  • Reliability and consistency is a significant drawback with respect to renewable energy. Atmospheric conditions and geographical locations make a huge impact on the efficacy of these sources.
  • Their initial investment or setup cost is significantly high. This acts as a deterrent in people for switching over to these options.
  • Every form of renewable energy has its own set of problems, drawbacks, or limitations with respect to environment and ecology.
  • People are not yet fully convinced about the sustainability, and the value-for-money aspect of these sources. Therefore, global acceptance of these energy options on a mass scale will take many years.