In the United States, most of the electricity is obtained from renewable energy sources.
Despite the fact that renewable energy has proven to be positive for sustainable development, many myths still prevail in people’s minds. To help improve their understanding, here are the 5 most important benefits of renewable energy:
Because it does not emit greenhouse gases during its production, renewable energy is an indispensable ally in mitigating society’s impact on the environment. This helps mitigate the effects of climate change.
Renewable energy sources are inexhaustible and adapt to natural cycles, unlike conventional energy sources (coal, gas, oil or nuclear energy). This makes them the key to creating a sustainable energy system that enables local development without jeopardizing the future of future generations.
Unlike fossil fuel energy generation, whose costs vary constantly and depend on the economic situation, the cost of renewable energy production is predictable and plannable. Moreover, renewable energies can be found anywhere on the planet, which means a differential advantage for local economies, ensuring energy independence by not having to resort to fossil fuel imports.
Main energy sources in the United States
A project that seemed to be taken out of a science fiction novel, which had an investment of 1 billion dollars and several promises to revolutionize the generation of energy by means of the sun. One of the first solar thermal power plants, and which sought to become an example for the whole world.
This is the case of ‘Crescent Dunes’, a solar plant that today is dead since it never achieved its goal, ironically, because it was overtaken by the success of solar energy, and even by some bad management.
The ‘Crescent Dunes’ project consisted of the installation of 10,347 mirrors (heliostats) forming a spiral more than three kilometers wide around a tower in the middle of the desert. The aim of each mirror was to collect sunlight to concentrate thermal energy in the tower, which is almost 200 meters high, in order to heat molten salt that circulates from the tower to a storage tank, where it is used to produce steam and generate electricity.
Renewable energy trends
The cost overrun (which already exceeds one trillion pesetas) comes at a time when three factors coincide to make it a more visible problem. On the one hand, the cost of energy produced by conventional systems fell considerably in 2009. On the other, there is growing criticism of the possible cases of financial speculation that have been generated with the premiums. Thirdly, the government is determined to put an end to the electricity tariff deficit, which amounted to 4.2 billion euros in 2009.
Solar energy, which is under investigation to determine whether some installations fraudulently produce at night (without sun), received 2,688 million in premiums in 2009, 89% more than in 2008. Wind power received 1,608 million, 21% more.
– They ended up with a deficit of 4,615 million (some 4,200 million with other adjustments, such as CO2 emissions). This hole is more than the 3,500 million that the Government itself set, by law, as a ceiling. The difference can only be covered in one way: by raising the electricity bill.
Electric energy in the United States
The Senate dealt a blow to the regulation of renewable energies and turned it upside down. CiU and the PSOE approved, using the law on Listed Real Estate Investment Companies (Sociedades Anónimas Cotizadas de Inversión al Mercado Inmobiliario, Socimi), an amendment revising the remuneration of renewables, which will no longer depend on the limits of pre-registration in the registry.
The approved amendment means that the construction of renewables may be paralyzed in some aspects, since when 85 percent of the power target for a technology has been reached, as is the case of wind power, for example, the final hourly price of the production market will have to be charged.
The other side of the coin is the companies, which are asking for no intervention in a free market. The defender of this idea was Pedro Rivero, president of the electricity employers’ association Unesa. In his opinion, “short-term solutions should not be applied when there are elements that may suffer in the long term if they are not adequate measures”.