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RENEWABLE ELECTRIC ENERGY SOURCES
The electricity requirements of the world are increasing at an alarming rate and the power demand has been running ahead of supply. It is also now widely recognized that the fossil fuels and other conventional resources, presently being used for generation of electrical energy, may not be either sufficient or suitable to keep pace with ever increasing demand of electrical energy of the world. Also the generation of electrical power by coal based steam power plants or nuclear power plants causes pollution. The recent severe energy crisis has forced the world to develop new and alternative methods of power generation, which could not be adopted so far due to various reasons. The magneto-hydro-dynamic(MHD) power generation is one of the examples of a unique method of power generation. The other non-conventional methods of power generation may be solar cells, fuel cells, thermo-electric generator, thermionic conveter, wind power generation, tidal power generation. This paper gives information about different types of
Renewable Energy Sources. Some attention is also paid to reasons for increase in power demand, energy problem, present condition &TOWS analysis.
Power plays a great role wherever man lives and works—in industry, agriculture, transportation etc. As technology is advancing the consumption of power us steadily
rising. Power is needed in plenty to sustain industrial growth and agricultural production. At present coal, oil and natural gas account for about 77% of the global primary energy consumption. It is universally acknowledged that this pattern of energy consumption is not sustainable and that alternative sources of energy need to be developed to meet the rising world energy demand. Electrical energy is an important index of a country’s economic and technological progress.
The reasons for increase in power demand are:
• Growth of industries
• Increase in domestic load due to new and extensive urban residential area and vertical growth in existing area with increased and intensive use of electrical gadgets.
While the demand for electrical power is on the rise, the overall known resources of petroleum are on the decline. The present petroleum may not last long. The known sources of unconventional energy are nuclear fusion, solar energy, geothermal energy, wind power, tidal wave energy and biogas.
The Energy Problem :
The present crisis has developed because of negligence to tap renewable energy sources in the past. The following problems are being faced globally at present:
1. There is an energy deficit globally.
2. The shortage in energy is bound to increase due to increase in population.
3. If the potential in renewable energy sources is not tapped on a large scale there could be massive ill effects like:
• Faster depletion of fossil fuels
• Acid rain and other serious environmental effects.
4. It is not possible to include renewable energy sources immediately as a part of the
Energy source mix. The reasons for the same are mentioned below:
• They are not very economical as compared to the conventional sources of energy.
• Suitable technologies for tapping the potential of renewable energy sources is not readily available.
Present Condition :
Energy is the prime mover in the development process. Depending fossil fuel resources cannot increase the growth process. They need to be gradually replaced by renewable sources of energy. The sun in the source of all renewable energies. While solar energy is radiated directly to the earth’s surface, it also manifests itself in several indirect forms such as wind energy, hydro power, ocean thermal energy, bioenergy etc. The actual rate of fossil consumption fuels is expected to multiply with the exponential growth of population. Long term ‘energy security’ cannot therefore be assured by only non-renewable energy sources. Besides exhaustion the fixed stocks, the fossil route has serious environmental repercussions like CO2, SO2, NOx, and flyash are co-generated along with electricity.
Renewable Energy for Sustainable Development :
In India, energy demand is increasing at the rate of 9% per annum and supply is not keeping pace. Present deficit of electrical energy is 8%. The hydro-thermal mix in power generation is 25:75, representing an environmentally unacceptable model.
Non grid connected stand-alone systems are necessary to ensure a correct balance between the factors such as:
• Centralized generation/grid supply versus decentralized generation/off grid supply
• Polluting energy sources versus environment friendly options
• Non renewable energy versus renewable energy
TOWS Analysis :
Every development is affected by external factors. This can be abbreviated as “TOWS” which stands for Threats, Opportunities, Weakness , Strength.
1.There is not enough Research & Development in these fields.
2.If the economical costs are not looked into, renewable energy would remain
secondary to conventional energy.
1.Easy to install off grid systems
2.Provides electrification of rural areas
3.Environment driven awareness
4.Can be matched to the scale of the need
1. Availability may vary from time to time even during a single day
2. Much more costlier
3. It imposes a greater demand on labour
4. Requires large space for installations since renewable energy sources are usually low-density energies.
1. Unlimited potential
2. Environmentally safe
3. Favoured option for sustainable development
4. Naturally recycled resource base
Solar radiations that are converted into solar energy reaching the top of earth’s atmosphere consists of about 8% UV Radiation, 46% visible light and 46% infra red radiation. The total solar radiation received at any point on the earth’s surface is the sum of direct and diffused radiation.