Advantages and Disadvantages

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Sunset

Solar panels can offset the energy used to make them in around four years.

Advantages

One major advantage of renewable energy is that it is sustainable and will never run out. They provide clean energy because they are non-pollutant and non-contributor to greenhouse effects and global warming.

Renewable energy facilities generally require less maintenance than traditional generators. Their fuel being derived from natural and available resources reduces the costs of operation.

Renewable energy produces little or no waste products such as carbon dioxide or other chemical pollutants, so have a minimal impact on the environment. Unlike coal, renewable energy pays off its carbon footprint and does so relatively quickly. Depending on where they are made, solar panels offset their carbon footprint in about four years.

Renewable energy projects can also bring economic benefits to many regional areas, as most projects are located away from large urban centres and suburbs of the capital cities. These economic benefits may be from the increased use of local services.

Lightning

Harnessing the weather to create energy isn’t always predictable or consistent.

Disadvantages

It is easy to recognise the environmental advantages of utilising the alternative and renewable forms of energy but we must also be aware of the disadvantages.

It can be difficult to generate the quantities of electricity that are as large as those produced by traditional fossil fuel generators. This may mean that we need to reduce the amount of energy we use or simply build more energy facilities. It also indicates that the best solution to our energy problems may be to have a balance of many different power sources.

Renewable energy often relies on the weather for its source of power and this can impact the reliability of a consistent energy supply. Hydro generators need rain to fill dams to supply flowing water. Wind turbines need wind to turn the blades, and solar collectors require clear skies and sunshine to collect heat and make electricity. When these resources are unavailable so is the capacity to make energy from them. This can be unpredictable and inconsistent.