How reliable are renewable energy sources?

18th Feb 2022 | Mollie Pinnington | 4 minute read

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With the energy crisis and climate crisis we have begun to see over the past couple of years, many people have turned their attention to renewable energy. Many energy suppliers have started opting towards buying green energy as everyone is trying to contribute to lowering the carbon emissions in our atmosphere.

However, while this transition is needed for our environment energy consumers may be worried about how reliable renewable energy is.

Types of renewable energy consist of wind, solar, hydropower, tidal, geothermal, and biomass.  All these sources generate energy without posing no or very little threat to our climate. But which out of these is the most reliable?

Many people have questioned whether renewable energy is reliable at all.  The answer to this is yes as it is the only source of energy that will always be available.  The storage of fossil fuels is already running low and will not last very long.  However renewable energy can always be generated. Due to the dependence on natural resources such as sunlight, wind, and water it may not be the most reliable now.


 How reliable is each energy source?

  • Wind- wind power can be easily generated offshore and can be reliable.  However, this energy cannot be stored efficiently in mass amounts just yet and can only be operated when the wind is blowing at a high speed.
  • Solar- this is an unreliable energy source as power can only be generated when solar panels are directly exposed to sunlight. As this source depends on sunlight too much it is considered unreliable. However, it does provide a lot of energy and has the potential to become more widely used with energy storage options. 
  • Hydroelectric power- this is generated from dams. When water is released from the dam the natural flow of water is used to generate energy. This is a very reliable energy source. This can also be used as an energy storage system. We can use the dams to release water when demands spike.  However, the only issue is that it is expensive and takes a lot of time to build the dams in the first place.
  • Tidal energy- this comes in two forms mechanical and thermal. Mechanical tidal energy uses the tide to generate energy. Thermal tidal energy uses the surface temperature of the water to generate energy. This is a really good way of generating energy. However, it requires a lot of machinery to be built on coastal lines and it doesn’t benefit people that live in landlocked areas.
  • Biomass-Energy is created by burning organic materials to generate energy. This works the same way as burning coal, but we can continuously access organic materials as they quickly grow. Although this is renewable it is not green. Biomass produces greenhouse gases and will not be able to be used forever as it is too damaging to the climate.


Why some reliable energy sources are more reliable than others?

This is measured by firstly how accessible the technology is to produce energy and how easy it is to store. For example, it is easier to produce wind and solar energy, but it does not have the same storage capabilities that hydropower does.  Most energy sources are easy to generate but difficult to store as it requires a lot of battery power. This is what makes them lack in reliability to fossil fuels which can be stored for a long time.

Each energy source has its limitations but with the development of all of them together it is possible to create reliability in the energy we are sourced.  Although renewable energy might not be as reliable as fossil fuels, we do not have a surplus supply of them.  The availability of fossil fuels is getting lower so although they may be reliable now but there going to get less reliable as they begin running out. That is why we need renewable energy technologies to be at the forefront of our energy systems.


How can you help to support cleaner energy?

Although renewable energy might seem like it poses a risk right now it is important that it is at the forefront of the future of energy. Your business can take action to speed up the process of this. The best way for you to do this is to increase the demand for clean energy. When you switch your energy supply to renewable energy then you are making the mix of energy greener as energy suppliers will use green energy for sources for your share of energy instead of fossil fuels.

If you are ready to increase the demand for renewable energy and make sure they are used more why not switch to a green energy tariff. If you are not sure which energy suppliers provide the cheapest clean energy sources, then why not compare energy providers and prices here to find the best deal for you today.

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