Renewable energy is a solution to climate change because it reduces the greenhouse gases emitted. However, it is evident that a wide range of challenges and issues derail the exploitation of the alternative energy. Consequently, renewable energy resources are not exploited to their full capacity. It is important to identify the issues and come up with solutions to enhance the utilization of the resources in complementing and where possible substitute the fossil energy sources. Therefore, the discussion seeks to provide solutions to various issues faced in the process of generating the energy and setting up of wind and solar resources.
The Problem of Variability in Alternative Energy and the Integration of Alternative Sources to the Main Grid
The variability of the output from the wind and solar energy arise from the changes in the weather patterns and the time of day. Variation, in this case, refers to the challenges involved in the integration of the output from the alternative sources into the grid (Boyle and Godfrey 55). The issue arises from the fact that the grid is expected to supply the energy consistently to the consumers for stable economic productivity. In addition, the variations can be a threat to the main grid because the massive deviation can de-capacitate the systems.
Some strategies can be used to reduce the implication of the challenge. The first solution would be based on the improved planning and coordination, such that the demand for energy is matched with the production capacity. For instance, since the solar energy output is at maximum during the day, solar-powered plants should optimize their production capacity at that time. The matching of the demand and supply would enhance the reliability of the alternative energy sources.
The second solution is the application of the storage technology (Pengwei and Ning 115). The essence, in this case, is to assist in matching the output to the demand during the high production intervals and release the stored energy during the low or no output intervals. The technologies that are likely to be used in this setup include the molten-salt storage and the underground natural batteries. The storage facilities are connected to the production plant to store the excess energy. The stored energy would then be released at the appropriate intervals to fulfill the demand during the no/low output intervals.
The third solution is the interconnected transmission networks. The solution entails to the aggregation of power output from plants located in a broader region (Jones 81). For instance, a country with a vast land mass where different regions have diverse sunlight intensity patterns can have solar plants in the various regions to have a complemented output level. The same approach can be adopted with the wind plants being located in different regions. As a result, a variation in output from either of the plants does not entirely affect the power supply into the grid.
Challenge of the Weather Change, Inability to Predict the Amount of Cloud Cover by The Grid Operator
A grid operator is concerned about the weather patterns because it affects the output capability of the wind and solar power plants. Regarding the solar energy, the difficulties experienced when predicting the cloud cover is a significant concern because it leads to variation in sun right and lays reaching the surface of the solar panels. Amid the difficulties in predicting the cloud cover, it is important to mitigate the variation of the solar plant output by installing solar panned with the capability of converting both the heat and light from the sun into energy. At the time of cloud cover, the heat from the sun remains in the air and hence could still be converted into electric energy (Soares 198). The second strategy will be achieved by interconnecting energy output from the solar plants from different regions or locations that are far apart. Therefore, at the intervals when some of the solar plants are affected by the clouds, the other plants would be producing a high amount of energy to achieve the needs of the main grid.
Furthermore, a grid operator, where possible, can recommend or assist in the installation of hybrid plants. In this case, the solar panels and wind turbine are placed in the same location and their output combined before being connected to the grid or being used for internal purposes within the system. In a most likely incidence, especially at the cloudy intervals, the speed and strength of wind could be high and hence yield high output from the wind turbines (Soares 198). At the time, the wind strength would be weak, but optimal sun radiations would reach the solar panels. Therefore, the hybrid system would assist in reducing the impact of variation of output from the solar panels on a cloudy day.
The Difficulty of Capturing Wind Energy Due to Nature of the Terrain
Wind energy is best exploited in terrain that the speed and strength of the wind can drive the turbines consistently and effectively for the output level to be reliable. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that before setting a wind power plant, the wind patterns should be comprehensively explored. First of all, it should be clear about the leeward and windward side of the terrain. The leeward side is the terrain facing the wind, while the windward side is the area facing the wind. Therefore, to optimize the amount of wind utilized, a wind plant should be set on the windward side of the terrain (Lange 2; Nawri 291). The second solution to the problem is setting up of the energy plants in a terrain characterized by a few number obstacles, including trees, building, or mountains/hills. In fact, this consideration is important because it will ensure that the speed and strength of the wind driving the turbines remain high at all times for optimal energy generation. Thirdly, sometimes it is not possible to avoid some obstacles due to lack of control on property rights by other parties. As a result, it is advisable for a wind power plant management to elevate the wide turbines in heights higher than the obstacles to reduce the impact of the obstruction. According to Quaschning, turbines placed 10 meters higher than the obstacles have the capacity to trap the optimal energy output (244). In another approach, a turbine placed at a distance 35 times the height of an obstacle away is preferred for optimal energy output (Quaschning 244).
Challenge of Dust and Sand Accumulation on the Solar Panels
Dust and sand are inevitable in arid and semi-arid areas. As a result, the output from the solar panel plants in the cities in the entire Middle East has been adversely affected. The dust and sand on the surface of the solar panels reduce the effectiveness to generate electric energy because the absorption levels are reduced. The issues should be addressed to assist in optimizing the energy output from the solar plants. First of all, the problem could be addressed effectively by having in place a system that would assess and detect the accumulation of the dust and sand on the panels.
Energy solution firms have come up with technology-driven gadgets that can be used in the evaluation of the amount of radiations absorbed by the solar panels. For instance, Kipp and Zonen company produces a gadget regarded as CHP1 Pyrheliometer, which is a radiometer system connected to the solar panel to evaluate the changes in the amount of solar energy absorbed. The data from gadgets such as CHP1 Pyrheliometer can be transmitted to the control center through the GPS system. In case there is a significant reduction of energy, the management can check out to find out whether the capacity of the panels is affected by the accumulation of dust and sand particles (Kipp & Zonen Company). The subsequent step, in this case, would be to undertake a cleanup exercise to remove the obstacles on the service of the panels. The dust and particle removal exercise can best be undertaken using dry blowers for effective removal with no effect of moisture on the electric system. It is important to note that the exercise should be done regularly to ensure that the solar panel plants are at their optimum levels.
Challenges in the Implementation of the Renewable Energy in a City in a Remote Area
The implementation of renewable energy is some cities are adversely affected by the aspect of remoteness. The cost of fuel delivery to such locations as well as a grid extension to the consumers is extremely high. Therefore, it is difficult for such cities being self-energy sufficient. Nevertheless, there are two strategies upon which the issues can be addressed. First, small-scale renewable energy firms should be licensed to set up wind and solar plants in the remotely located cities. The energy produced from such plants should be supplied within the cities without necessarily being connected to the national grid. Secondly, the consumers, including homes, commercial business, and industries in such a city should be encouraged to install their solar panels and where possible wind turbines to generate energy at the capacity of their needs (Roseland and Sean 123). As a result, the demand for energy from the local suppliers would be reduced. Overall, the city would become self-sufficient, and the high cost of supply from the national grid would be reduced.
As it is evident from the above analysis, the exploitation of the alternative energy, particularly the wind and solar energy sources are characterized by a wide range of challenges. Some of the challenges arise from the nature of the sources while others arise from the capability to exploit the sources into energy. However, considering the importance of the renewable energy in the reduction of the greenhouse effect, strategies to reduce the challenges have been developed. As discussed in the solution to the issues, the energy sector stakeholders, including innovators, grid operators, private energy producers, and suppliers as well as domestic and commercial consumers should play their respective roles towards this end. The continuous exploitation of the alternative energy sources should be highly encouraged for optimal reduction of the effects connected to conventional/fossil energy production and consumption.