|Coal Communications Kit - Renewable Energy|
Renewable energy certainly has a place in the energy demands of the future, but faces many challenges while scaling up to meet these demands. As solar power continues its growth, it will force its way into baseload energy demand, however, it will be less able to meet peak demands due to a lack of dispatchability (Power Mag, 2015) and grid energy storage. Dave Ramm, Chairman and CEO of BrightSource Energy, agreed. “Without storage, this technology isn’t worth much” (Power Mag, 2015).
Hydroelectric power has experienced reduced growth as many nations have already developed areas that could be used as reservoirs to support hydroelectric generation (Asia-Pacific Economics Blog, 2015). Due to this, only 1 out of the last 30 major power plant projects with a capacity of at least 2,000 MW has started construction within the last couple of years (Asia-Pacific Economics Blog, 2015).
Wind power has struggled to meet the world’s energy demands, as well. With the exception of Denmark, no countries or electrical systems have produced more than 10 percent of their total energy demand from wind energy, and most are below 2 percent (World of Wind Energy, 2015). David Keith, a Harvard applied physicist notes, “If we were to cover the entire Earth with wind farms, the system could potentially generate enormous amounts of power, well in excess of 100 terawatts, but at that point my guess, based on our climate modeling, is that the effect of that on global winds, and therefore on climate, would be severe—perhaps bigger than the impact of doubling CO2” (Engineering, 2013).
In contrast, the existing and future coal transportation infrastructure, billions of tons in demonstrated recoverable reserves, and the versatility of coal, has proven it well equipped to meet the demands of the future.