Friday, February 06, 2015

Renewable Energy

There are some key reasons why we should deeply think about Renewable Energy (RE);
- Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission lead to climate change that is the mother of all externalities
- Carbon dioxide would be worth 1.5 percent of world income, if all emissions were priced at price of US$ 15/tC02; consumption from fossil fuels system accounts the majority of global GHG
- Demand for energy and associated services, to meet social and economic development and improve human welfare and health, is increasing
- Many countries are committed to develop RE in the future, regardless how well its commitment has been realised.

Worldwide RE's role in energy mix application is shown in table below (IPCC, 2011).

We may debate that RE is expensive thing, at least compared to non-RE or conventional energy. It may be true if we have a look below graph (IPCC, 2011). However, the range of RE cost varies since it still depends on each project. In other words, RE technology heavily rely on utilising technology to conform with its environment. Some countries can't apply the cheaper technology since it has no RE sources. In fact, there are some RE that are cheaper than conventional ones.

Nevertheless, this some reasons may enlighten us, why RE can't actually be stopped by oil price movement (Bloomberg, 2015).

1) The Sun Doesn't Compete With Oil
Oil is for cars; renewables are for electricity. The two don’t really compete. Oil is just too expensive to power the grid, even with prices well below $50 a barrel. Instead, solar competes with coal, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear power. Solar, the newest to the mix, makes up less than 1 percent of the electricity market today but will be the world’s biggest single source by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency

2. Electricity Prices Are Still Going Up
The real threat to renewables isn’t cheap oil; it’s cheap electricity. Cheap oil don’t make cheap electricity as well, since fuel isn’t the only component of the electricity bill. Consumers also pay to get the electricity from power plant to home

3. Solar Prices Are Still Going Down
As time passes, the efficiency of solar power increases and prices fall. This is soon or later going to happen. When many countries enforces more RE in their energy mix policy, there will be new economic of scale for RE technologies.
But, there are some issues for further implementing RE:
- Under most conditions, increasing the share of RE in the energy mix will require policies to stimulate changes in the energy system.
- Many RE resources include natural unpredictability and variability over time scale, which can constrain the ease of integration and result in additional system costs.
- There might be a few technical limits to the integration of RE technologies across the very broad range of present energy supply systems

To conclude,
- RE sources have a large potential to displace emissions of GHG from the combustion of fossil fuels and thereby to mitigate climate change.
- Many RE technologies are becoming market competitive although some innovative RE technologies are not yet mature.
- Some policies have been shown to be effective and efficient in rapidly increasing RE deployment. However, there is no one-size-fits-all policy.
- Some policies need to take into account the different stages of RE deployment.

- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2011, Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation, Cambridge University Press