Power plants that provide us with electricity to light houses and use various kinds of devices are very harmful to the environment. This is especially true for thermal power plants, inside which coal and other fuels are burned. They emit carbon dioxide into the environment, which causes a greenhouse effect on Earth, provoking global warming. In order to preserve nature, the governments of many countries are trying to switch to renewable energy sources. We are talking about solar panels, wind generators and other structures that can generate electricity without harm to the environment. But will we be able to completely abandon power plants? Recently, scientists have confirmed that this is possible. But it is important to consider a few nuances.
Transition to renewable energy sources
According to the scientific publication Science Alert, people will be able to switch to renewable energy sources if they combine the use of solar panels and wind generators. Also, do not forget about the need for large batteries to store the generated energy — solar panels do not work at night, and there is wind not every day. At night and on windless days, people will be able to receive electricity from huge storage devices. In fact, they will be backup power supplies.
Efficiency of renewable energy sources
In the course of scientific work, the researchers studied how much energy each of the 42 most famous countries consumed in the period from 1980 to 2018. It turned out that solar and wind energy should be enough to meet more than 80% of the demand of residents of these countries. According to scientists, solar panels will be able to provide the largest amount of energy to people. Researcher Steven Davis noted that some countries will not even need large batteries to store energy reserves. This is a very important point, because the construction of such storage facilities requires a lot of money.
The easiest way to switch to renewable energy is for countries located at low latitudes. The fact is that there are more sunny days there. This means that residents will be able to rely on solar energy for most of their time.
Historical data shows that countries further from the equator can sometimes experience periods called "dark depression". At such times, local residents will have to endure very limited availability of solar and wind energy," said researcher Dan Tong.
The complexity of using solar and wind energy
But at the same time, some countries will need them badly. After all, there are places on our planet where there are multi-day periods of absence of light and wind during the year. Germany, which is located in higher latitudes, can be cited as an example — the country will be forced to use backup storage facilities more. Recently, there has already been something like a "dark depression" in the homeland of sausages and beer. It lasted about two weeks.
It is possible that such states will be able to buy electricity from neighbors with fewer problems. Spain with an abundance of sunny days and windy Denmark can become good "donors".
In the end, it turns out that in the future humanity will still be able to switch to renewable energy sources. But the process of abandoning the usual power plants will occur in different ways, depending on the location of the country and the availability of resources. The researchers emphasize that the transition will be difficult for people and much also depends on social and political factors. After all, before the construction of solar and wind power plants, it is necessary that the people and the authorities are ready for this.
It sounds intriguing, but some groups of scientists believe that our planet cannot be saved by solar and wind power plants alone. They explain their opinion by saying that the concentration of carbon dioxide on the planet will decrease too slowly. This speed is unlikely to be enough to prevent a climate catastrophe. As an alternative energy source, scientists and Microsoft founder Bill Gates suggest using nuclear power plants.