Renewable energy contains uncertainties that nuclear power does not deal with. Renewable technologies like solar and wind power rely on the dynamic patterns of weather. While forecasts can be accurate, there is no guarantee that the sun will shine or the wind will blow at the exact rate needed to produce expected electricity quantities. Companies like Solyndra can become bankrupt despite hundreds of millions of dollars in funding. The annual rate of return is simply not at the same level of other energy sources. Nuclear power plants require billions of dollars of initial building costs, yet produce a reliable, consistent output of energy which pays back the cost fairly quickly. Nuclear power plants have proven to be profitable as well as reliable operating at about 90% capacity while renewable energy is more volatile in that regard, operating at as low as 15% capacity. Nuclear plants also fit into the current, centralized framework of our transmission infrastructure while renewables require a more decentralized grid system. Given all these factors as well as the need to keep nuclear power plants secure to avoid disastrous radiation exposure, they have received financial benefits greater than renewables. Investors need to feel confident with the least amount of rate of return risk, and as of now nuclear power is able to provide that more than renewable energy.
An advantageous niche opportunity in the world of renewable energies would be to expand distributed generation techniques. Instead of having huge, centralized solar power plants, more individual, off the grid solar or wind projects could be undertaken. This includes rooftop solar panels or windmills on homes or even businesses. The potential to reduce the cost of electricity over a period of time after an initial investment is an attractive concept especially for those who do not plan to move or become displaced in the near future.
Distributed Generation gives consumers the opportunity to choose their supplier of energy. In the current landscape of centralized energy supply, homes and apartments are mostly forced into purchasing electricity from a large utility company. Their power plant is likely located very far away, traveling miles and miles through power lines. With decentralization being incorporated into communities, more choices of energy become available like renewable energy sources.
This new opportunity for renewable companies gives them a greater chance to take over a piece of the energy market. Businesses like solar and wind companies can offer consumers clean energy at close distances or even directly on their property. SmartGrid companies also have a great opportunity for growth in a situation where energy management and reading is at an all time importance. Automated control gives already conscious consumers a greater ability to track their energy use. Pinpointing where and when they use energy gives SmartGrid companies a market advantage for citizens concerned with their personal energy use and where they get it from.
For me personally, distributed generation gives a good opportunity to evaluate the benefits compared to larger utilities generating and supplying power. Developing a business that is able to analyze and site the true impacts of decentralized energy on the economy, renewable companies, utility companies, and residents is crucial. There will need to be accurate evaluations with the increase in distributed generation to justify a greater change in the system. If microgrids and closely located.power plants and renewable energy generation to communities are to be widely adopted, companies responsible for measuring market effects will be needed. Governments and society will only be willing to support this change with accurate analysis.
Driesen, Johan. “05/02120 Distributed Generation: Definition, Benefits and Issues.” Fuel and Energy Abstracts 46.5 (2005): 312. ESAT. Web.
Both the federal and local governments can give incentives to reduce electricity and overall energy use. When companies become dedicated to saving energy, society will follow as will other nations. Policies that will require resident and business to not just use clean energy but to use less energy. Tax incentive for decreased monthly energy use would be a start in affecting electricity use. Competition always helps drive and improve business. Local and even federal governments could set up a “race” to energy efficiency. Companies who successfully use less energy percentage wise compared to others will receive notoriety and positive publicity. Energy use could be measured consistently and made public influencing firms to take saving energy seriously.
My new business would need to have sustainability and energy efficiency at the forefront of the model. Everything we did from shipping, electricity use, and waste management would have the goal of saving energy and using clean energy. We would strive to be the leader in the energy saving “race”. We would even make an effort to get other companies more involved in the competition. Our company would support green organizations and projects improving sustainability in the community. Expansion would be focused on moving into areas where sustainability may not be as important and working to demonstrate the benefits.
Hello my name is Eli Roth and I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. I currently live in State College. I am an Energy and Sustainability Policy major through the World Campus so I am very acclimated to online courses. I’d like to have a career doing fulfilling work pushing the need for alternative energy sources. This course will give be a good base for how to go about pursuing business practices which will promote sustainable energy use.
I have never started a business or ran a business. I have worked sparingly in the service industry where I did see the day to day stress of managing an entire entity. In my opinion I have always considered a chain restaurant where everything is run on renewable sources to be a great impact on the industry. Could you imagine every McDonald’s using wind and solar energy? The exposure would be huge and would present the public with a feasible situation where renewables are widely utilized.