Renewable energy is very popular topic these days and here are some advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy.
Like fossil fuels do so does renewable energy have certain advantages and disadvantages. Economy, ecology, and efficiency are only some of the factors through which we should look renewable energy when discussing its advantages and disadvantages.
As the name already suggests renewable energy sources cannot be depleted like this is the case with fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are limited, and therefore one day coal, oil, and natural gas will be depleted but the same scenario won’t happen with renewable energy sources because Sun will continue to shine, wind will continue to blow, etc. It is difficult to say how long will fossil fuels still be able to satisfy large part of global energy demand, some energy experts believe this is likely to last till the end of this century, but in any case once fossil fuels become depleted world will need to have already established alternative in form of renewable energy.
From the ecological point of view renewable energy has extreme advantage over fossil fuels, renewable energy sources are clean energy sources and unlike coal, oil, and natural gas release none or negligible carbon emissions. Fossil fuels on the other hand when burning release harmful carbon emissions that not only pollute our planet but have contributed to the severity of climate change impact.
The cost-competitiveness of renewable energy sources, despite the serious improvement in renewable energy technologies in the last couple of years still remains one of the biggest disadvantages of renewable energy. In order for renewable energy to become cost-competitive with fossil fuels lot more research will be needed to mostly improve efficiency of renewable energy technologies because efficiency and economy still outweigh positive environmental effects in eyes of many people.
Renewable energy also needs to work on energy storage solutions to ensure reliability of delivery because the most important renewable energy sources are intermittent (wind, solar), and are therefore not totally reliable.
The lack of tradition is also one disadvantage of renewable energy. Fossil fuels have long tradition, and many renewable energy sectors have just started developing. Tradition that fossil fuels have on their side has contributed to the development of powerful fossil fuel lobbies that have significant impact on politics, and these lobbies use this influence to get important decisions their way.
Many countries in the world rely on foreign oil import, and by developing their own domestic renewable energy sectors they would help decrease the dependence on importing oil from other countries, and would also diversify their own energy portfolio in the process.
The development of renewable energy sectors can also create many economic benefits for countries, mostly in form of many new green jobs.