What is Potential Renewable Energy?

Geri Terzo

Potential renewable energy is as abundant as the earth's natural resources. By tapping into these sources, including the sun for solar and wind for wind-power generation, the electricity needs around the globe can likely be satisfied. Although the potential for renewable energy remains promising, there are economical, technological, and political challenges that prevent these power sources from being optimized to their fullest capacity.

Solar panels capture the sun's energy and convert it into clean, renewable energy for homes and businesses.
Solar panels capture the sun's energy and convert it into clean, renewable energy for homes and businesses.

Solar as a renewable energy source holds much promise, although solar energy remains a developing form of alternative power. The sun produces sufficient energy to supply the world's power needs; however, harnessing that power is a challenging task that requires sophisticated technology. These technologies can be cost prohibitive, but with each new development solar becomes a more economical proposition. In the US, solar has the potential to relieve the nation from dependence on foreign oil by 2050, according to Scientific American.

A wind farm that's used to make renewable energy.
A wind farm that's used to make renewable energy.

In addition to solar potential renewable energy, wind power generation for electricity continues to take hold around the globe. Even though wind power has proven to generate electricity for hundreds of millions of homes already, there is more growth to attain. Some countries rely more heavily on technologically sophisticated wind turbines for a significant portion of a nation's electricity than others do.

If the world were harnessing the full potential of wind-generated electricity, there would be more than enough to meet global energy demand. It is among the most cost-effective and cleanest forms of potential renewable energy. Challenges include the fact that wind is a variable force that is not active 100% of the time. This makes it difficult for utility companies, which provide the transmission lines for wind-generated power, to consider wind energy as a sole source of electricity.

Other barriers to the proliferation of wind power can be tied to permitting, and are more apparent in some regions than others. In order for wind power's potential to be optimized, there needs to be consistent political support in a region and widespread access to modern transmission lines. In places such as Denmark and England, these obstacles are less of a problem than they are in the US.

The potential for renewable energy is increasingly likely be realized with advances in technology, especially for solar potential renewable energy. Developments in fiber optics, for instance, can propel solar power a new level. Solar panels are considered to be cumbersome, and for some, displaying these panels on a rooftop is an eyesore. Fiber optic technologies may lead to more manageable solar panels that can be hidden from view. These technological developments may be used to replace cumbersome solar panels with something more manageable, and propel the implementation of renewable energy around the globe.

A closeup of a solar panel.
A closeup of a solar panel.

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