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Submitted By:

Muhammad Naeem (UCID-30074991)


Muhammad Hassan Qureshi (UCID-30036686)

Dated: April 16, 2019


Table of Contents
1 Nature and origin of the energy ................................................................................................................ 3
1.1 Nature and origin of Solar energy – Thermal & PV............................................................................. 3
1.1.1 Solar Thermal Energy ................................................................................................................... 4
1.1.2 Solar PV Energy ............................................................................................................................ 4
1.2 Nature and origin of Wind energy ...................................................................................................... 5
2 World and Canada’s distribution and usage .............................................................................................. 6
2.1 World and Canada’s distribution and usage of Solar energy – Thermal ............................................ 6
2.1.1 World distribution and usage of Solar energy – Thermal ............................................................ 6
2.1.2 Canada’s distribution and usage of Solar energy – Thermal ....................................................... 7
2.2 World and Canada’s distribution and usage of Solar energy – PV ..................................................... 7
2.2.1 World distribution and usage of Solar PV energy ........................................................................ 7
2.2.2 Canada’s distribution and usage of Solar PV energy ................................................................... 8
2.3 World and Canada’s distribution and usage of Wind energy ............................................................. 9
2.3.1 World distribution and usage of Wind energy........................................................................... 10
2.3.2 Canada’s distribution and usage of Wind energy ...................................................................... 11
3 Techniques used to harvest the energy ................................................................................................... 13
3.1 Techniques used to harvest Solar energy – Thermal ........................................................................ 13
3.2 Techniques used to harvest Solar energy – PV ................................................................................. 15
3.3 Techniques used to harvest Wind energy......................................................................................... 17
4 Methods of conversion to power, thermal and electrical ....................................................................... 19
4.1 Method of conversion of Solar Thermal energy to power, thermal and electrical .......................... 19
4.2 Methods of conversion of Solar PV energy to power, thermal and electrical.................................. 20
4.3 Methods of conversion of Wind energy to power, thermal and electrical ...................................... 21
5 Problems and Challenges ......................................................................................................................... 22
5.1 Problems and Challenges - Solar Energy, Thermal ........................................................................... 22
5.2 Problems and Challenges – Solar Energy, PV .................................................................................... 23
5.3 Problems and Challenges – Wind Energy ......................................................................................... 23
6 Environmental impacts ............................................................................................................................ 24
6.1 Environmental impacts of Solar Thermal energy.............................................................................. 24
6.2 Environmental impacts of Solar PV energy ....................................................................................... 25
6.3 Environmental impacts of Wind energy ........................................................................................... 26
o Impact on Wildlife and Habitat ....................................................................................................... 27

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o Sound & Visual Effects on Public Health and Community .............................................................. 27
o Water Usage.................................................................................................................................... 27
o Life-Cycle Global Warming Emissions ............................................................................................. 27
7 Future of Renewable energy .................................................................................................................... 28
7.1 Future of Renewable energy – Solar, Thermal ................................................................................. 28
7.2 Future of Renewable energy – Solar, PV .......................................................................................... 28
7.3 Future of Wind energy ...................................................................................................................... 29
8 Summary .................................................................................................................................................. 29
Bibliography ................................................................................................................................................ 31

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1 Nature and origin of the energy
1.1 Nature and origin of Solar energy – Thermal & PV

Solar energy is defined as the source of energy from sun in the form of radiated heat and light
which can be used to provide lighting and heat for building and to produce electricity. To harness
this energy, it is pertinent that the sunlight is not blocked by clouds and reaches the energy
receptors without being blocked by buildings or other obstacles (Government of Canada, 2017)

There is enormous amount of burning gases mainly hydrogen and helium occupy about a quarter
of the cross-sectional diameter of the sun, the estimated temperature of the intense heat is 20
million Kelvins. The generated energy is radiated and transported by convection to the solar
surface, regarded as uniform spherical black-body radiator at a temperature of about 5800K
(SHEPHERD, March 19, 2014)

There are variety of factors affecting the amount and intensity of a solar radiation received by a
body such as time of the day, clouds, latitude and altitude. A significant part of the sun radiation
not able to reach the earth’s surface, rather it is absorbed, reflected or scattered in the
atmosphere (Fondriest Environmental, Inc, 2014)

Figure 1 - Net absorbed solar radiation (Fondriest Environmental, Inc, 2014)

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1.1.1 Solar Thermal Energy

Solar thermal energy is defined as the heat energy captured from the sun and used it for heating
or producing electricity. The technology can be classified based on temperature low, medium or
high

o Low-temperature (<100°C) applications typically use solar thermal energy for hot water
or space heating. Active systems often consist of a roof-mounted flat plate collector
through which liquid circulates. The collector absorbs heat from the sun and the liquid
carries it to the desired destination, for example a swimming pool or home heating
system. Passive heating systems involve intelligent building design practices, which cut
back on the need for heating or cooling systems by better capturing or reflecting solar
energy.
o Medium-temperature (100-250°C) applications are not common. An example would be a
solar oven, which uses a specially-shaped reflector to focus the sun’s rays on a central
cooking pot. Similar systems could be used for industrial processes but are not widely
used.
o High-temperature (>250°C ) solar thermal systems use groups of mirrors to concentrate
solar energy onto a central collector[1]. These concentrated solar power (CSP) systems can
reach temperatures high enough to produce steam, which then turns a turbine, driving a
generator to produce electricity (Muise, n.d.).

1.1.2 Solar PV Energy


Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems directly convert solar energy into electricity. Solar PV combines
two advantages. On the one hand, module manufacturing can be done in large plants, which
allows for economies of scale. On the other hand, PV is a very modular technology. It can be
deployed in very small quantities at a time. This quality allows for a wide range of applications.
Systems can be very small, such as in calculators or off-grid applications, up to utility-scale power
generation facilities (International Energy Agency, n.d.)

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1.2 Nature and origin of Wind energy

Wind Energy is a form of solar energy. Winds are caused by the uneven heating of the
atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities of the earth's surface, and rotation of the earth. Wind
flow patterns are modified by the earth's terrain, bodies of water, and vegetative cover. This wind
flow, or motion energy, when "harvested" by modern wind turbines, can be used to generate
electricity. (Wind Energy Basics, n.d.)

Figure 2 - Typical Wind Turbines (Wind Energy Basics, n.d.)

It is important to note here that wind energy is not a new form of energy, people have been using
this wind energy for thousands of years. In ancient times, as early as 5,000 BC, people used wind
energy to propel boats along the Nile River in Egypt. Similarly, by 200 BC, simple wind-powered
water pumps were used in China, and windmills with woven-reed blades were grinding grain in
Persia and the Middle East. (History of Wind Power , n.d.)

The earliest known use of wind power in mankind is definitely the sail boat. In Europe, windmills
first appeared in the 12th century. In America between 1850 and 1900, a large number of
windmills operated irrigation pumps in farms. By 1900, in Denmark, about 2500 windmills were
producing an estimated combined peak power of about 30 MW for mechanical loads such as
pumps and mills (History of Wind Power , n.d.).

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Figure 3 - Wind Powered Boats (History of Wind, n.d.)

2 World and Canada’s distribution and usage

2.1 World and Canada’s distribution and usage of Solar energy – Thermal

2.1.1 World distribution and usage of Solar energy – Thermal

The total installed capacity of Solar thermal energy is 4815 MW in 2016. Among major global
players in CSP, Spain topped the list with 2300 MW installed capacity which is almost half of the
total world capacity, followed by United States, South Africa and India (Wikipedia, 2019).

Figure 4 - Global installed capacity of CSP (MW) (Helioscsp Solar Thermal Energy News, 2018)

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There is a sharp increase in the CSP thermal energy storage globally in the last decade

Figure 5 - Thermal energy storage global capacity (Helioscsp Solar Thermal Energy News, 2018)

2.1.2 Canada’s distribution and usage of Solar energy – Thermal

Canada has a huge potential for solar energy; however, it varies across Canada. In coastal areas
due to high cloud coverage the potential is low whereas central regions have the highest
potential. On average Canadian cities has comparable solar potential to many international cities
in the world (Government of Canada, 2018). In the recent years, there is significant increase in
the use of solar energy in Canada. Since 2004, the annual compound growth rate of installed
capacity of solar thermal power is 13.8 which is highly encouraging (Government of Canada,
2017).

2.2 World and Canada’s distribution and usage of Solar energy – PV

2.2.1 World distribution and usage of Solar PV energy

In 2017, 2% of the global power output over 460 TWh was generated by Solar PV energy, solar
PV capacity reached almost 398 GW. This is the most fastest growing renewable energy which is
expected to reach 580GW in the next 5 years. China is leading in the generation of Solar PV energy
followed by European countries and Asia pacific region. (International Energy Agency, n.d.).

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Figure 6 - Solar PV generation and cumulative capacity by region, 2017 – 2023

(International Energy Agency, n.d.)

2.2.2 Canada’s distribution and usage of Solar PV energy


Canada also has a very large potential for solar energy use and it has excellent solar resources.
Since 2007, there are an estimated 544,000 m2 of solar collectors operating in Canada. They are
primarily unglazed plastic collectors for pool heating (71%) and unglazed perforated solar air
collectors for commercial building air heating (26%), delivering about 627,000 GJ of energy and
displacing 38,000 tons of CO2 annually. (Government of Canada, 2018).

The 2008-2014 period was marked by the significant growth of installed capacity for solar
photovoltaic power, which in 2014, reached 1,843 megawatts of installed capacity.

(Government of Canada, 2017). Most of the solar capacity in Canada is in Ontario. In 2017, the
capacity of the solar photovoltaic industry in Canada was 2,911 MW (Natural Resources Canada,
2018)

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Figure 7: Installed capacity of Solar PV in Canada (Natural Resources Canada, 2018)

Figure 8 - Some of the largest Solar PV farms in Canada (Natural Resources Canada, 2018)

2.3 World and Canada’s distribution and usage of Wind energy

Wind power is one of the fastest-growing renewable energy technologies at present. Usage of
wind energy is continuously on the rise across the globe, and one of the primary reasons behind
this is the falling costs.

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2.3.1 World distribution and usage of Wind energy

Global installed wind-generation capacity which is either onshore or offshore has increased by a
factor of almost 50 in the past 20 years, jumping from 7.5 gigawatts (GW) in 1997 to some 487
GW by 2016, according to figures from the Renewable Energy Network for the 21st Century
(REN21). Production of wind electricity doubled between 2009 and 2013. Many parts of the world
have strong wind speeds, but the best locations for generating wind power are sometimes
remote ones. Offshore wind power generation systems offer tremendous energy potential.
(Wind Energy, n.d.)

Furthermore, wind-turbine capacity has also increased over time since its conception. In 1985,
typical turbines had a rated capacity of 0.05 megawatts (MW) and a rotor diameter of 15 m,
however, now a days, new wind power projects have turbine capacities range from 2 MW to 5
MW depending upon the application and location area. Commercially available wind turbines
have reached 8 MW capacity, with rotor diameters of up to 164 m. The average capacity of wind
turbines increased from 1.6 MW in 2009 to 2 MW in 2014. (Wind Energy, n.d.)

Figure 9 - World Wind Energy Trend (Wind Energy, n.d.)

At present, Wind energy is a multi-billion-dollar global industry and has been continuing
experiencing a rapid growth globally. It is being predicted by “Global Wind Energy Council” that
the global wind market is expected to grow and reach 332 GW of total installed capacity by 2013,

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which represents an addition of 181 GW of power in 5 years (120% growth). This would result in
wind energy accounting for around 3% of global electricity production which is up from just over
1% in 2007 estimates. (Canada's Wind Energy Road Map, n.d.)

Following figure provides an estimate of wind energy as a percentage of electricity demand in


countries around the world.

Figure 10 - Projected Wind Generation as % of Electricity Consumption (approximate)

(Canada's Wind Energy Road Map, n.d.)

2.3.2 Canada’s distribution and usage of Wind energy

Canada’s geography makes it ideally suited to capitalize on large amounts of wind energy. The
benefits of increased deployment of wind energy include grid-wide energy savings and
reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and air contaminants (including SOX, NOX and mercury).
(Wind Energy Canada, n.d.)

Canada is a global leader in Wind energy and it currently ranks as the world’s 8th largest nation
in terms of total onshore installed wind energy capacity. Continuing 2017's growth, Canada

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finished 2018 with 12,816 MW of wind energy capacity - enough to power approximately 3.3
million homes, or six per cent of our country's electricity demand. The year saw completion of six
projects that added 566 MW of new installed capacity, representing over $1 billion of investment.
Canada is home to the world's eighth largest wind generating fleet (Wind Energy Canada, n.d.).

Figure 11 - Canada’s total Installed capacity – province wise


(Canada's Wind Energy Installed Capacity , n.d.)

Figure 12 - Canada’s total Installed Capacity (Yearly Basis)


(Canada's Wind Energy Installed Capacity , n.d.)

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3 Techniques used to harvest the energy

3.1 Techniques used to harvest Solar energy – Thermal

Concentrated solar energy is harvested by using mirrors or lenses to converge a large area of
sunlight onto a smaller area thus producing high temperature and electricity is generated when
this high temperature is converted to heat, driving heat engine connected to an electric power
generator (Wikipedia, 2019)

Figure 13 - Solar Thermal Energy (Mitos, 2017)

Although the sunlight is abundantly available and free, there are significant challenges in
harvesting this energy, there are three alternative techniques used to harvest solar thermal
energy.

Trough Systems

Parabolic reflectors tilted towards sun are used in trough system as reflectors. The focal point for
these reflectors is oil filled pipes which runs along their center. Due to the converged sunlight,
the oil is heated to as high as 750F which is then used to make steam to run steam turbines and
generators (Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS, n.d.).

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Figure 14 – Trough system (Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS, n.d.).

Power Tower Systems

Large flat mirrors are used in power tower systems to track the sun and focus the rays onto the
receiver which is located on top of tall tower. Converged and concentrated sunlight heats the
molten salt in the receiver to up to 1050F. This hot molten fluid is used to make steam which is
eventually used for electricity generation (Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS, n.d.).

Figure 15 – Power tower system (Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS, n.d.).

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Dish / Engine System

Large mirror dishes are used to focus and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver which is mounted
on the dish. Dish assembly tracks the sunlight to maximize the solar energy capture. The receiver
has thin tubes which contains gas (hydrogen or helium) that run along the outside of the engine's
four piston cylinders and open into the cylinders. As concentrated sunlight falls on the receiver,
it heats the gas in the tubes to very high temperatures, which causes hot gas to expand inside
the cylinders. The expanding gas drives the pistons. The pistons turn a crankshaft, which drives
an electric generator. The receiver, engine, and generator comprise a single, integrated assembly
mounted at the focus of the mirrored dish (Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS, n.d.)

Figure 16 – Dish/Engine system (Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS, n.d.).

3.2 Techniques used to harvest Solar energy – PV

Photovoltaics generates electricity by energizing electrons when sun rays fall onto it, they are
made up of semiconductors materials which can absorb sunlight and converting into electric
energy. They are different types of techniques used to harvest solar PV energy (Miret, 2014)

Solar Cells

Like computer chips, solar cells are made up of semiconductor materials. When sunlight is
absorbed by these materials, the solar energy knocks electrons loose from their atoms, allowing

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the electrons to flow through the material to produce electricity. (Solar Energy Development
Programmatic EIS, n.d.).

Figure 17 – Solar cells (Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS, n.d.)

Solar Arrays

Solar Arrays are a combination of multiple Solar cells, since solar cells are generally very small,
and each one may only be capable of generating a few watts of electricity, they are combined
into modules of about 40 cells; the modules are in turn assembled into PV arrays up to several
meters on a side. These flat-plate PV arrays can be mounted at a fixed angle facing south, or they
can be mounted on a tracking device that follows the sun, allowing them to capture more
sunlight. For utility-scale electricity generating applications, hundreds of arrays are
interconnected to form a single, large system (Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS,
n.d.).

Figure 18 – Solar arrays (Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS, n.d.)

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Concentrated PV (CPV)

To increase the efficiency of Solar cells, Concentrated PV systems are used which help in
concentrating sunlight on solar cells. The PV cells in a CPV system are built into concentrating
collectors that use a lens or mirrors to focus the sunlight onto the cells. CPV systems must track
the sun to keep the light focused on the PV cells. The primary advantages of CPV systems are high
efficiency, low system cost, and low capital investment to facilitate rapid scale-up; the systems
use less expensive semiconducting PV material to achieve a specified electrical output. (Solar
Energy Development Programmatic EIS, n.d.).

Figure 19 – Concentrated PV (Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS, n.d.)

3.3 Techniques used to harvest Wind energy


Wind is a form of solar energy caused by a combination of three concurrent events:

1. The sun unevenly heating the atmosphere


2. Irregularities of the earth's surface
3. The rotation of the earth.

The term "wind energy" or "wind power" describes the process by which the energy of the wind
is used to generate mechanical power or electricity. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in
the wind into mechanical power. This mechanical power can be used for specific tasks (such as
grinding grain or pumping water) or a generator can convert this mechanical power into

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electricity to power homes, businesses, schools, and the like. (How Do Wind Turbines Work?,
n.d.)

Figure 20 - Typical Wind Turbine (How Do Wind Turbines Work?, n.d.)

There are two types of wind turbines, the first one is with the horizontal axis and the other is
with the vertical axis. In vertical axis turbines the rotor shaft is in perpendicular position to the
ground. In the horizontal axis turbine, the rotor shaft is set in horizontal position and the blades
are perpendicular position to the ground. These wind turbines are connected to the electrical
grid.

New generation turbines have two or three blades. There is a weather vane on the top of the
tower and is connected to the computer and helps the turbine to always stay in the direction of
the wind. When wind starts to blow then a low pressure is created behind the blade and a high-
pressure area is created in front of the blade. This difference in the pressure around the blade
and aerodynamic force comes into picture due to which lift occurs. This lift makes the blades to
rotate which in turn rotates the rotor shaft that is connected to the generator. This generator
converts the mechanical energy to the electrical energy.

Successful harvesting depends on two important factors these are wind direction and the wind
speed. The amount of power that can be harvested from wind depends on the

o size of the turbine

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o length of its blades.

The output is proportional to the dimensions of the rotor and to the cube of the wind speed.
Theoretically, when wind speed doubles, wind power potential increases by a factor of eight.
(Wind Energy, n.d.)

4 Methods of conversion to power, thermal and electrical

4.1 Method of conversion of Solar Thermal energy to power, thermal and electrical

Solar thermal power plants collected heat from Sun rays to generate steam by heating water,
which in turns converted to electrical energy. The thermal energy harnessed by solar panels can
be used for heating water in homes, swimming pools and other buildings.

Following steps are involved in conversion of Solar thermal energy to power and electricity

1. Sun rays are collected and concentrated with the help of mirrors or reflectors to heat
water or some special kind of liquid
2. With the increase in temperature, the liquid boils off and converted to steam
3. Steam is directed to spin steam turbine which is connected to a generator thus generating
electricity
4. The steam is recycled back by cooling and condenses to water, it is reheated and
converted back to steam again (A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change, 2016).

Figure 21 – Solar thermal technology (A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change, 2016)

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4.2 Methods of conversion of Solar PV energy to power, thermal and electrical

Solar PV technology directly converts solar energy into electrical energy by absorbing solar
photons—particles of light that act as individual units of energy—and either converting part of
the energy to electricity (as in a photovoltaic (PV) cell) or storing part of the energy in a chemical
reaction (as in the conversion of water to hydrogen and oxygen) (Solar Energy Development
Programmatic EIS, n.d.).

1. A photovoltaic cell absorbs light and converts it directly into electricity. A group of
photovoltaic cells is known as a solar panel.

2. Sunlight hits the surface of the photovoltaic cell.

A material called a semi-conductor converts the light into electricity (A Student's Guide to Global
Climate Change, 2016).

When sun radiations fall on a photo voltaic cell, photons of light strike the surface of
semiconductor material and liberate electrons from the materials atom structure. This creates a
flow of electrons forming an electrical current which starts to flow over the surface of the
photovoltaic solar cell. Metallic strips are placed across the surface of the photovoltaic cell to
collect these electrons which forms the positive connection. The back of the PV cell, the side
away from the incoming sunlight, consists of a layer of aluminium or molybdenum metal which
forms the negative connection to the cell. Then a photovoltaic solar cell has two electrical
connections for conventional current flow, one positive, and one negative.

The array of a photovoltaic power system, or PV system, produces direct current (DC) power
which fluctuates with the sunlight's intensity. For practical use this usually requires conversion
to certain desired voltages or alternating current (AC), using inverters. Multiple solar cells are
connected inside modules. Modules are wired together to form arrays, then tied to an inverter,
which produces power at the desired voltage, and for AC, the desired frequency (Solar Energy
Development Programmatic EIS, n.d.)

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Figure 22 – Solar PV (A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change, 2016)

4.3 Methods of conversion of Wind energy to power, thermal and electrical

How do wind turbines make electricity? In a very simply stated way, working of wind turbine is
just opposite to that of a fan. Like a fan which uses electricity to make wind—wind turbines use
wind to make electricity in opposite way. The wind turns the blades, which in turn spins a
generator to create electricity.

A wind turbine turns energy in the wind into electricity using the aerodynamic force created by
the rotor blades, which work similarly to an airplane wing or helicopter rotor blade. When the
wind flows across the blade, the air pressure on one side of the blade decreases. The difference
in air pressure across the two sides of the blade creates both lift and drag. The force of the lift is
stronger than the drag and this causes the rotor to spin. The rotor is connected to the generator,
either directly (if it's a direct drive turbine) or through a shaft and a series of gears (a gearbox)
that speed up the rotation and allow for a physically smaller generator. This translation of
aerodynamic force to rotation of a generator creates electricity.

The generators used in the wind turbine systems may be of alternating or direct current. Very
large turbine installations use AC generation. If the load on the generator is resistive as for
heating and lighting, then using a rectifier the power can be supplied directly from the generation
terminals. The electricity generation from the turbine, the generated power is fed to the electrical

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generation system which has a frequency of about 50 or 60 Hz. An electrical system transfers the
energy from variable speed to constant frequency system.

Figure 23 - Wind Turbine Power Generation Process (Methods of Power Generation, 2016)

A common feature of the wind energy system is the use of a gear box to set up the generator
shaft speed. A gear ratio 10 or 20:1 may be used. Wind turbines deliver a maximum power at a
wind speed of about 30 to 35 mph so a generator that has a name plate rated capacity of 100KW
will be outputting 100KW at the rated wind speed. Wind speeds above 30 mph the generator
maintains its rated capacity until the wind speeds reaches 55 to 60 mph, then the turbine reaches
the cut-out speed and its safety circuits stops producing the electricity.

5 Problems and Challenges

5.1 Problems and Challenges - Solar Energy, Thermal

 Large scale solar thermal energy projects require huge infrastructure involving land,
water, and manpower, moreover approvals from local authorities or governments is
needed for land use and establishment of power plant

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 It is hard to find skilled individuals and professionals for solar thermal energy operations
globally.

 Due to large infrastructure of solar thermal plants, the start-up cost of building such plant
is very high.

 Although the technology is developing at a satisfactory stage, however its acceptance by


the industry and consumers is still in early stages (Phoenix Energy Blog, 2018)

5.2 Problems and Challenges – Solar Energy, PV

 Low efficiency of photovoltaics is one the problems why consumers are not readily accepting
this technology, currently around 20% efficiency is achievable from solar cells improving it
would increase the chances and fuel the growth of this industry.

 Installation cost of solar PV panels on houses is very high and it requires experienced people
to do the job, due to high capital investment, consumers are reluctant to invest in solar panels

 Reliability of the solar panels and related material used is another challenge, whether the
materials withstand weather fluctuations for 20-30 years of lifetime, since the industry is still
new, it is difficult to validate this with real time examples

 Lack of regulations subsides is another challenge for this industry, consumers wanted to know
what incentive they get if they choose to install solar panel and reduce their dependence on
fossil fuels (Shaffer, 2014)

5.3 Problems and Challenges – Wind Energy

Like all other energy resources, wind power generation has also various problems associated with
its supply and transportation and hence proper integration of generated power to the main
power grid.

 The major challenge to using wind as a source of power is that it is intermittent in nature
and does not always blow when electricity is needed. Even at the best locations of the
wind harvesting there is no guarantee that the existing wind will provide the power which
will be enough to meet the given requirements of electricity generation. Wind energy is

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the supplemental source for electrical power grids. As we move away from the finite
energy sources the dependence on the renewable energy sources like wind energy
increase. So, to meet the specific requirement of electricity generation and be a reliable
source for the electricity generation, wind energy is to be stored.

 When we talk about the storage of wing energy then the initial storage cost of these will
be very high. So, to be reliable on the wind energy for the generation of electricity rather
than that of finite energy sources like fossil fuels more and more wind energy storage
solutions are needed to be explored. The development of future technologies capable of
storing energy is essential to fully harness the power of abundant renewable energy
sources.
 Further, good wind sites are often located in remote locations far from areas of electric
power demand (such as cities). Finally, wind resource development may compete with
other uses for the land, and those alternative uses may be more highly valued than
electricity generation. However, wind turbines can be located on land that is also used for
grazing or even farming (Wind Energy Canada, n.d.).

6 Environmental impacts

6.1 Environmental impacts of Solar Thermal energy

 Solar thermal energy is a renewable form of energy and in comparison, to fossil fuel the
environmental impact of solar thermal energy is negligible, some of the environmental
concerns are listed below

 Huge amount of water is required in concentrated solar power plants for cooling at the
back end of the thermal cycle. In the regions where water is scarce such as Middle East
or Africa, this may cause major concern for the local environment.

 Concentrated solar power plants emits 15-20 grams CO2 – equivalent / KWh of
greenhouse gas emissions, although it is much lower than fossil fuel emissions however
it is not negligible.

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 CSP plants are material intensive, however most of the material used such as steel, glass
and concrete can be recycled, materials which are not recycle bale are mostly inert and
can be land filled without any environmental hazard.

 Local impacts of CSP plants on the environment may be associated with traffic, building
works, ecosystem disturbance, and loss of ecosystem functions. Traffic, plant
construction and surface treatment of parking plots cause indirect mortalities to local
fauna at a level depending on the surface area of the facility and the land use type before
plant construction.
 Synthetic organic heat transfer fluids used in parabolic troughs, a mix of biphenyl and
biphenyl-ether, are the most significant. They can potentially catch fi re, can contaminate
soils and create other environmental problems, and must be treated as hazardous waste
(Solar Thermal Energy News, 2012).

6.2 Environmental impacts of Solar PV energy

 Land degradation and habitat loss is considered one of the major environmental impacts
related to Solar PV farms. The total land area requirements vary based on the technology
utilized, the landscape of the site, and the concentration of the solar resource. It has been
estimated that large utility-scale PV systems range from 3.5 to 10 acres per megawatt.

 Although water is not utilized for electricity generation by solar PV, however it is
consumed in the manufacturing process of solar PV components.

 During the manufacturing, installation, transportation and maintenance of PV Solar


farms, greenhouse gas emissions damage the local environment, though there are no
greenhouse gas emissions from the operation of Solar PV cells.

 Chemicals are used to clean and purify he semiconductor surface such as hydrochloric
acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride and acetone which are considered
hazardous for the environment (UCSUSA, 2016).

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6.3 Environmental impacts of Wind energy
Despite the vast potential of Wind turbine power systems, there are still a variety of
environmental impacts which are associated with wind power generation system that should be
well recognized and mitigated properly.

Although wind power plants have relatively little impact on the environment compared to fossil
fuel power plants, there is some concern over the noise produced by the rotor blades, aesthetic
(visual) impacts, and birds and bats having been killed by flying into the rotors. Most of these
problems have been resolved or greatly reduced through technological development or by
properly siting wind plants.

o Huge Land Area Requirement

The wind power facilities require a large area of land. The machines installed on a flat area
requires more land than that of those machines installed in the hilly areas. A survey which was
conducted in United States by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for large wind facilities,
found that Wind Turbine Generation System typically use between 30 to 141 acres per megawatt
of power output capacity. However, less than 1 acre per megawatt is disturbed permanently and
less than 3.5 acres per megawatt are disturbed temporarily during construction. (Environmental
Impacts of Wind Power, n.d.)

It is important to mention here that; the offshore wind power generation facilities require much
larger space because the wind turbines and blades are bigger than their counterparts on land.
However, by employing best practices in designing, planning and siting can help in minimizing the
potential land use impacts of offshore and land-based wind projects. (Environmental Impacts of
Wind Power, n.d.)

Furthermore, the wind turbines also need to be spaced apart by hundreds of meters, so that the
turbulent wake effects of one wind turbine does not interfere with another nearby turbine.
Therefore, only few wind turbines can cover a very large area of land. Although the total area of
a wind farm can be quite large, however, only a very small proportion of this total land is
permanently impacted by the wind farm operations. (Land Area Requirements for Wind and Solar
Projects, n.d.)

26
o Impact on Wildlife and Habitat

The deaths of the Birds and bats have been one of the most controversial biological issues related
to wind turbines power generation systems. The deaths of these species at wind farm sites have
raised concerns by fish and wildlife agencies and conservation groups. However, on the other
hand, several large wind facilities have been in operation for several years and have only minor
impacts on these animals. (Wind Energy Development Environmental Concerns, n.d.)

The impact of wind turbines on wildlife especially on birds and bats, has been extensively
document and well-studied. However, as per recent research and concluded by “National Wind
Coordinating Committee (NWCC)” overall impacts are relatively low and do not pose a threat to
species populations. (Environmental Impacts of Wind Power, n.d.)

o Sound & Visual Effects on Public Health and Community

Sound and visual are the two-major public health and community concerns related to the
operating wind turbines. Due to aerodynamics sounds are generated by the wind turbines. A
community residing near the windfarm have always complained about sounds and vibrations
issues. Advancement in the technology have suggested the improvements in minimizing the
blade surface imperfections using sound absorbent materials that can reduce the turbine sounds.

o Water Usage

As far as operation of Wind turbines is concerned, there is no water impact associated with the
wind turbines. However, as in all manufacturing processes, some amount of water is used during
manufacturing of steel for turbine / blades and cement for wind turbines bases erection and
piling systems.

o Life-Cycle Global Warming Emissions

Although, there are no global warming emissions associated with wind turbines operations,
however, there are some emissions which are associated with other stages of a wind turbine’s
life-cycle, especially including turbine materials production, associated project materials
transportation, on-site construction and then assembly, operation and maintenance, and
decommissioning and dismantlement. (Environmental Impacts of Wind Power, n.d.)

27
7 Future of Renewable energy

7.1 Future of Renewable energy – Solar, Thermal

There are over 130 CSP projects worldwide that are described in a database maintained by the
U.S. Dept. of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Of the CSP projects included, 99
are operating and 18 under construction. Parabolic trough CSPs have historically dominated the
market with 88 projects globally however power-tower technology is becoming increasingly
important due to its inherent ability to store energy at higher temperatures.

At the end of 2016, there were 5 GW of CSP installed worldwide, according to the International
Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Spain, with 50 CSP plants now operating, accounts for 2.3
GW, while the U.S. accounts for about 1.7 GW, although an additional 1.7 GW now under
construction could push the U.S. back into the lead. Meanwhile, China recently announced a
major push to add 1.4 GW of CSP capacity by 2018, and 5 GW by 2020.

IRENA projects an increase in installed CSP capacity to at least 45 GW by 2030 under its reference
case or even 110 GW by 2030 with a more aggressive renewables-penetration scenario to limit
global temperature increases to 2°C, says BrightSource Energy’s Joe Desmond (Helioscsp - Solar
Thermal Energy News, 2017)

7.2 Future of Renewable energy – Solar, PV

Since 2010 there is a 73% decline in the cost of electricity generated by solar PV according to
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). It is expected that solar PV costs are further
reduced to half by 2020. The best solar PV projects could be delivering electricity for an
equivalent of three cents per kWh or less within the next two years.

Global weighted average costs over the last 12 months for solar PV now stand at six cents and 10
cents per kWh respectively, with recent auction results suggesting future projects will
significantly undercut these averages. The current cost spectrum for fossil fuel power generation
ranges from five to 17 cents per kWh. The future of solar PV is very bright in the coming
years due to cost competitiveness of silicon solar panels and global push for clean energy
both factors are fueling the acceptability of this technology globally (Zipp, 2018).

28
7.3 Future of Wind energy

There is surely be a huge prospect for wind energy in future as it is one of the most promising
renewable energy sources. The exponential growth of wind industry in the last decades proves
the successful acceptance of this source of energy globally and this pace of acceptance is going
to be seen in future as well. Wind farms would be built all over the world as this energy source
can best compete economically with energies based on burring fossil fuel at economies around
the world. In some countries generating wind energy is as cheap as generating energy by burning
coal.

In future, we would see smaller, portable wind turbines as well which could give boost for
installation of wind turbines in backyards for powering homes by renewable source, moreover it
is more likely that wind turbines would be built into big structures such as sky scrapers in urban
environments, so in future we expected to see wind turbines built everywhere according to the
local needs and environment (Merchant, 2019).

8 Summary
Renewables will have the fastest growth in the electricity sector, providing almost 30% of power
demand in 2023, up from 24% in 2017. During this period, renewables are forecast to meet more
than 70% of global electricity generation growth, led by solar PV and followed by wind,
hydropower, and bioenergy. Hydropower remains the largest renewable source, meeting 16% of
global electricity demand by 2023, followed by wind (6%), solar PV (4%), and bioenergy (3%)
(International Energy Agency, 2019).

Solar Thermal Energy

Solar thermal energy is becoming increasingly competitive with fossil fuels, and in some
countries, accounting for a larger share of electricity production (Helioscsp - Solar Thermal Energy
News, 2017). Although the use of materials such as steel, glass, composites and concrete are
relatively high, although most of these materials are readily available and have high recycling-
potential. Issues that need to be addressed are water requirements in arid areas, use of toxic

29
synthetic oils as heat transfer fluids, and use of pesticides to restrict vegetation growth in
heliostat fields. For all these issues, technical solutions are available or under development.
Environmental impacts vary between technologies and over time (Solar Thermal Energy News,
2012)

Solar PV Energy

Solar PV is the fastest growing renewable energy source in many economies around the world.
Continuous research is going on to reduce the cost of producing solar panels to make it more
competitive. It produces clean energy without the need of water or any fossil fuel, it has no
emissions, no moving parts and it does not create any noise pollution. The most important
feature of this technology which is fuelling its growth is that it can be installed where the power
is needed, all these features supports the fact that Solar PV will become the major contributor
in the global energy mix (Office of Energy efficiency and renewable energy, n.d.).

Wind Energy

The potential of wind power is around 20 times more than the human population needs, it
provides enormous opportunity to produce clean energy which is renewable and there is no way
it can be depleted with the usage. Technological advancement in wind industry has brought down
the cost of production of wind blades which is encouraging for growth of this industry. Unlike
other renewable sources, wind energy is space efficient, the largest wind turbine in the US
produce electricity to power 600 US homes. Scientists and researchers are currently working to
build modular and smaller wind turbines for installation in urban areas energy. With the low
operating cost, it posses the potential to become the major energy producer globally (Energy
informative, n.d.)

All power generation has some effects on the environment, but it is evident that Solar and Wind
power generation have much better environmental performance than fossil fuel power plants
and it is the way to move forward to protect our plant for our future generations.

30
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