Green Development LLC Perspectives: Which Renewable Energy Is Most Appropriate
By now, you have undoubtedly heard about the many benefits of renewable energy. Solar and wind power can be great choices as part of an integrated decarbonization plan. However, choosing the most appropriate solution requires taking into account several factors. To help, Green Development LLC, the leading developer of utility-scale renewable energy projects in Rhode Island, provided a breakdown of the two types of energy, including some of their advantages and limitations.
Benefits of the wind
Wind power is one of the most popular renewable energy sources. This is due to its many advantages:
The cost of producing electricity with wind power is extremely low. On average, it costs about 1 to 2 cents per kilowatt hour, given the current production tax credit.
A single mid-size onshore wind turbine in New England can produce the same amount of electricity as about 11,000 solar panels. It only takes 2 acres of land and a single onshore wind turbine with a capacity of 3 MW to produce 7,000 MWh of energy per year. In contrast, it takes nearly 20 acres of land to produce the same amount of power from a 4-5 MW solar farm in the northeast.
It is sustainable
Just like solar power, wind power is completely sustainable. Since winds are created by the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, this affordable energy resource cannot be depleted.
Minimum land clearance required
Unlike solar power, wind turbines require minimal clearing and most cleared land can be replanted with low-growing shrubs, herbs, food crops, and flowers after the wind turbine is installed. Turbines can be built on existing ranches or farms without disrupting existing operations. Some farmers even graze sheep, cattle and other livestock around the bases of wind turbines. When you combine these facts with the superior efficiency of wind power, it is an important part of an integrated strategy to reduce carbon emissions.
Predictable source of income for farmers and other landowners
Large farms and private plots of land are often the best locations for wind turbines and solar farms, especially if they are adjacent to existing grid interconnections. For landowners who have properties in prime wind or solar locations, lease payments from renewable energy developers can provide long-term predictable income sources that allow them to retain title to the land and to preserve it for future generations, while continuing to use it. parts of the land unused for agriculture and other purposes. When the lease contracts expire, the developer has the obligation to remove the solar or wind installation, unless both parties agree to extend the contracts. Many property owners find the rental option much more attractive than selling a portion of their properties to residential or commercial developers.
Wind power limitations
No source of energy is perfect. Although wind power has many advantages, it does have some limitations. The most obvious is that the turbines should be placed in open areas, away from large cities. This is because tall buildings can disrupt the wind, thereby minimizing the efficiency of the turbine. Additionally, wind power developers must ensure that turbines are licensed under local ordinances and receive prior FAA approval.
Advantages and limitations of solar
Solar energy also offers many advantages. As with wind power, solar is completely renewable and does not create harmful waste. Additionally, it is becoming more and more affordable as solar technology improves. However, it also has some notable limitations.
As mentioned above, solar parks require a much larger area than wind power. If the land is a former industrial site, it may not be necessary to clear the land, but many rural sites will require at least some clearing. In addition to the solar panel’s actual footprint, some of the land around the panel may also need to be cleared to avoid shadows on the solar panels.
Increased focus on building energy storage facilities
Energy produced from traditional fossil fuels generally does not require storage, unlike fossil fuel itself. This is because energy from fossil fuels can be produced on demand when it is actually needed. Renewable energy is different because humans cannot control when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing.
Many newer solar and wind farms are currently being built in tandem with battery storage facilities, to capture excess solar energy produced during peak periods of daytime production and wind energy produced during peak hours. night – production that exceeds market demand at any given time, and therefore has low (or no) market value. This stored energy can then be fed back to the grid in the evening and at other times of the day, when solar or wind power production is at zero and household demand is high.
The importance of geographic location
Solar and wind powered devices are highly dependent on geographic location. The intensity and availability of solar radiation at the Earth’s surface varies by location. In the United States, the southwest tends to have the highest percentages of clear, sunny days, overall. For example, Arizona is the highest, with 85% of its annual daylight hours being clear and sunny, followed by Nevada at 79%, New Mexico at 76%, Colorado and Hawaii at 71% each. and three states at 68%: California (southern), Oklahoma and Wyoming.
It is always a good idea to locate solar panels in areas with lower percentages of sunny days, as one of the main advantages of renewable energy is that it can be located close to the point of use, unlike fossil fuels, which must be imported by states with little or no fossil fuel resources, often via long pipelines. In this way, renewable energy sources contribute to energy security and can help reduce local energy costs.
Wind farms perform best in areas with strong and constant winds, particularly in the Midwest, the Great Lakes region, and along the northern half of both coasts, both on the coast and offshore. . The state with the highest current onshore wind capacity is Texas with 24,900 MW. Far behind in second place is Iowa with 8,422 MW, followed by Oklahoma (8,072 MW), California (5,885 MW), Kansas (5,633 MW) and Illinois (4,861 MW).
Although Green Development’s wind efforts are limited to onshore wind farms in Rhode Island, offshore wind is about to take off due to the Biden administration’s approval of the Vineyard Wind project. The project took 10 years to get the green light, but when built it will be the largest offshore wind farm in the United States, 14 miles off the coast of Massachusetts.
A diversified renewable energy portfolio is essential
Every country, state and municipality has the potential to generate clean, renewable energy close to the points of consumption – whether they are residences, office buildings or other facilities. The key is to choose a mix of solar, wind, battery storage, hydropower, and other technologies that harness the most abundant renewable resources, by location.
Green Development LLC has been instrumental in transforming Rhode Island’s energy mix into clean, reliable energy. Since its inception in 2009, the company has developed over 75 MW of solar and wind capacity with plans to add an additional 70 MW of solar and wind assets in 2021. As a result, Green Development is able to provide cost savings. energy through the virtual net metering program, benefiting municipalities, quasi-public entities, schools, churches, housing authorities and other non-profit organizations.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger who enjoys writing about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.