8 common misconceptions about renewable energy debunked

There’s a wide gap between understanding renewable energy and being misguided by its common misconceptions.

This gap is often filled with false beliefs, born out of ignorance or misinformation.

Renewable energy, in reality, is a game-changer, a way towards a more sustainable future. But some folks still hold onto misconceptions that cloud their judgment.

In this article, I’m going to debunk 8 common misconceptions about renewable energy. Stick around, and you might just learn something new.

1) Renewable energy is too expensive

One of the biggest misconceptions I often hear is that renewable energy is just too costly.

And it’s easy to see why people think this way.

When renewable energy technologies first emerged, they were indeed more expensive than traditional fossil fuel energy. But that’s no longer the case.

In the last decade, the cost of solar and wind energy has plummeted dramatically. It’s now often cheaper to produce electricity from new wind and solar farms than from existing coal or gas plants.

Don’t let outdated information sway your opinion. Renewable energy has become a financially viable option and it’s only getting better with time.

2) It’s not possible to rely fully on renewable energy

Another common misconception I’ve faced is the belief that we can’t fully rely on renewable energy.

I remember a conversation I had with a friend a few years back. He argued that renewable energy, while good in theory, couldn’t provide the consistent power supply needed for our modern world.

But this isn’t quite accurate.

Advancements in energy storage technologies, especially in battery storage, have made it possible for us to store surplus power generated by renewables. This stored energy can then be utilized when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

Additionally, a diverse mix of renewable sources – like solar, wind, and hydro – can ensure a stable power supply around the clock.

So don’t believe the myth. With the right infrastructure, we can indeed rely fully on renewable energy.

3) Renewable energy can’t support heavy industries

There’s a prevailing belief that renewable energy sources are great for powering homes and small businesses, but they just aren’t cut out for heavy industries.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Take the steel industry as an example. Traditionally, steel production requires a lot of energy and is responsible for up to 9% of global CO2 emissions. However, a Swedish company called HYBRIT has made a breakthrough. They are now producing fossil-free steel by using hydrogen produced with renewable energy instead of coal and coke.

This is a clear demonstration that renewable energy has the potential to power even the most energy-intensive industries. So don’t underestimate the power of renewables!

4) Solar panels require more energy to make than they produce

A common argument against solar energy is that the manufacturing of solar panels consumes more energy than the panels will ever produce.

This is simply not true.

Research shows that the energy payback time – the time it takes for a solar panel to generate the amount of energy used in its production – is typically one to four years, depending on the type of panel and where it’s installed. And considering that solar panels have a lifespan of 25-30 years, they produce far more energy over their lifetime than is used to manufacture them.

Don’t let this misconception deter you from harnessing the power of the sun!

5) Renewable energy isn’t really “green”

It breaks my heart when I hear people arguing that renewable energy isn’t genuinely “green”, citing the waste from manufacturing solar panels or wind turbines.

While it’s true that the production of these technologies involves some level of waste and emissions, it’s crucial to consider the bigger picture.

When compared to the lifecycle emissions of fossil fuels – which include extraction, transport, and burning – renewable energy sources are exponentially cleaner. The minor environmental impact of manufacturing renewables is far outweighed by their long-term benefits.

Remember, every step towards renewable energy is a step towards a cleaner, more sustainable planet for us and future generations.

6) Renewable energy projects harm wildlife

When I was growing up, I was fascinated by birds. I used to spend hours watching them, mesmerized by their ability to fly. So, I truly understand when people express concern about the impact of wind turbines on bird populations.

However, it’s important to put things into perspective.

Studies show that while some birds do collide with wind turbines, the number is significantly less compared to those killed by other human-related activities like collisions with buildings or vehicles. In fact, house cats pose a far greater threat to birds than wind turbines.

Moreover, the renewable energy industry is constantly striving to minimize its impact on wildlife through better site selection and innovative technologies.

So yes, while it’s true that renewable energy projects can have some impact on wildlife, it’s minimal and manageable compared to the extensive damage caused by climate change due to our reliance on fossil fuels.

7) Renewable energy sources can’t meet peak demand

Another misconception I often encounter is the belief that renewable energy sources can’t meet peak demand times, such as during heatwaves or cold snaps.

In reality, a well-diversified renewable energy system can handle peak demand.

For instance, while solar power might not be as effective during cloudy or rainy days, wind energy often picks up during these times. Similarly, hydroelectric power can be stored and used when needed.

And with the advancements in energy storage technologies, we’re now able to store excess power generated during off-peak times for use during peak demand.

So don’t fall for this myth. A well-planned renewable energy system has got us covered, even during peak demand.

8) Transitioning to renewable energy will cost jobs

The most crucial misconception to debunk is the fear that transitioning to renewable energy will result in job losses in traditional energy sectors.

In fact, the opposite is true.

Renewable energy sectors are creating jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy. The solar and wind sectors alone have created over 300,000 jobs in the U.S, surpassing the total number of jobs in coal mining or oil and gas extraction.

So, not only is renewable energy good for the planet, it’s also great for the economy.

Final thought: It’s about the future

The conversation around renewable energy is ultimately a conversation about our future.

It’s about choosing a path that leads to a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable planet. It’s about looking beyond the misconceptions and focusing on the facts.

Consider this: the sun sends more energy to the earth in an hour than we use in a year. Harnessing just a fraction of this could power our world many times over.

And as we’ve debunked, renewables are not only feasible but also increasingly affordable, capable of powering heavy industries, and can create more jobs than traditional energy sectors.

So as we move forward, let’s not be hindered by these misconceptions. Instead, let’s embrace the truth and potential of renewable energy – for ourselves and for future generations.

Picture of Graeme


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