In recent years, renewable energy sources have gained popularity as a cleaner and more sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Like any emerging technology or concept, renewable energy has been subject to various myths and misconceptions. We sat down with Jack Anderson, Renewable Energy Lead at EHS Support to separate fact from fiction and set the record straight.
- Myth #1 – Renewables are unreliable: While it’s true that renewable energy sources such as solar and wind can depend on weather conditions, there have been advancements in energy storage technologies, grid management, and the combination of multiple renewable sources, which allows them to provide reliable power. Fact: One size does not fit all. It’s important to do the research and understand which renewable sources are the best for each scenario.
- Myth #2 – Renewables are expensive: Initially, this may have been the case, however thanks to advancements in technology and economies of scale, the cost of renewable energy sources has significantly decreased over the years. Fact: Renewables are found to be competitive with or even cheaper than fossil fuels.
- Myth #3 – Renewables do not meet the energy demand: Another common misconception is that renewable energy sources are not able to generate enough power to meet energy demands. Fact: The potential of renewable energy is vast and often underestimated. With proper planning, integration, and investment combined with a more flexible electric system, renewables can supply a significant portion of energy needs.
- Myth #4 – Renewables harm the environment: Opponents of renewable energy have argued that renewable energy infrastructure harms the environment. Fact: All technologies have some environmental impact. Renewable energy sources have been found to have much lower lifecycle emissions and environmental impacts compared to fossil fuels. Also, many renewable energy materials and systems are designed with recycling and end-of-life plans in place.
- Myth #5 – Renewables require too much land: Those opposing renewables have argued that the deployment of renewable energy systems, especially solar and wind farms, requires vast amounts of land, impacting natural habitats. Fact: When it comes to the land footprint of renewables, it can be minimized by integrating them into existing infrastructure. It is also important to do research and understand the conditions associated with the proposed region. EHS Support prioritizes the use of low-value property, brownfield sites, and rooftops for the installation of renewable energy systems as a preferred alternative to sacrificing fertile agricultural land.
Every technology has its advantages and disadvantages, and alternative technologies carry the burden of proving overwhelming advantages over current technologies and ideas on several different fronts. Renewable energy is no different. The advantages of renewable energy have been demonstrated clearly and have earned significant momentum over the past decade. Renewable energy shows nearly limitless upside in terms of technical improvements, economics and finance, resource availability, and human health.
To determine if renewable energy is right for your organization, it’s essential to base discussions and decisions about renewable energy on accurate information and up-to-date research.