Cam we really get 100% of our electricity from renewable energy source? Can we totally ditch oil based energy?
In 2017, researcher Benjamin Heard and colleagues published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews about their thoughts on full reliance on renewable energy. They believe that 100% renewable electrical systems is impossible to happen, doubtful that renewables-based systems can survive extreme weather conditions with low sun and low wind as well as skeptical about keeping the grid stable with so much variable generation.
Points about battery or energy storage and the space to put up all the wind turbines and solar panels required to provide all our energy needs were also raised.
Ultimately, according to them, their evaluation was mostly based on objective criteria and none of the 24 studies they deliberated upon had provided convincing evidence that it is feasible to replace totally fossil carbon energy sources.
The research paper by Heard and colleagues made great points, but scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and collaborators have arguments to counter.
Hitting back to the points previously raised, they had to study hundreds of research papers to answer each of the issues that Heard and colleagues mentioned. The Finland-based researchers are confident that there are no roadblocks to a 100% renewable future.
“While several of the issues raised by the Heard paper are important, you have to realize that there are technical solutions to all the points they raised using today’s technology,” said the lead author Dr. Tom Brown of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in the response.
Adding to the response, Professor Christian Breyer of Lappeenranta University of Technology said, “Furthermore, these solutions are absolutely affordable, especially given the sinking costs of wind and solar power.”
A case cited by Brown in the study revealed that there is an answer to even the most complicated problem for renewables: low wind and solar period during the winter. The team provided studies of technical solutions like rotating grid stabilizer and electronics-based solutions that will be scalable in the future.
The advocates of renewable energy went through different examples of best practice by grid operators to gather comprehensive answers to the skeptics. From Denmark to Tasmania, they asked industry solutions currently being explored and implemented.
Professor Brian Vad Mathiesen of Aalborg University, who is part of the team, shared that there are some persistent myths that 100 percent renewable systems are not possible.
This is supported by Breyer who said in the response, “Our contribution deals with these myths one-by-one, using all the latest research. Now let’s get back to the business of modelling low-cost scenarios to eliminate fossil fuels from our energy system, so we can tackle the climate and health challenges they pose.”
So the short answer to the question, “Is it really possible to get all of our energy from renewable sources?” is yes.