Debunking renewable energy myths

Written by Poppy Stringer
February 26, 2024
4 min read

Renewable energy sources are quickly gaining traction as the most effective way to help keep our carbon emissions down. However, as with all things take off quickly there are a number of misconceptions surrounding this sustainable form of energy and this can cloud the public's understanding of renewable energy, preventing companies, businesses and individuals from adopting renewable energy as their main energy sources. 

In this blog we will; 

  1. Briefly explain what renewable energy is 
  2. Debunk the myths surrounding it and provide alternative facts 

Renewable energy, as described by the United Nations, comes from natural sources that replenish faster than they're used up. Unlike finite fossil fuels like coal and oil, renewable energy sources are plentiful and can be sustained indefinitely. They also have a lesser impact on the environment in terms of greenhouse gases, air pollution, and carbon footprint. Examples of renewable energy include solar, wind, hydropower and biomass all of which have their pros and cons (explored in another blog here).  

So let's debunk the myths surrounding renewable energy; 

Myth- Renewable energy is unreliable 

While renewable energy sources may be intermittent (e.g., dependent on weather conditions), advancements in technology and infrastructure have significantly improved their reliability. For instance, solar and wind forecasting tools allow for better prediction of energy output, enabling grid operators to manage fluctuations and maintain stability. Additionally, the use of energy storage systems, such as batteries, helps store excess energy generated during peak production periods for use during times of low production.

Moreover, renewable energy is undeniably more dependable than fossil fuels because it's inexhaustible. The Earth has given us an endless supply of resources like sunlight and wind, and we ought to utilise them to safeguard our planet from harm.

Myth- Renewable energy is expensive 

The cost of renewable energy has plummeted in recent years, making it increasingly competitive with fossil fuels. The levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) for wind and solar power has dropped dramatically, surpassing that of coal and natural gas in many regions. Factors driving this decline include technological advancements, economies of scale, and government incentives. In fact, investing in renewable energy can yield significant long-term cost savings by reducing fuel costs, mitigating price volatility, and avoiding environmental externalities associated with fossil fuels.

The cost-effectiveness of renewable energy is particularly apparent when it comes to solar energy. While setting up solar panels on a small residence in Britain usually comes with a price tag of about £7,000, and on a larger property, it might cost around £11,000, once they're in place, they require very little maintenance and usually last for up to 25 years. Additionally, it's estimated that solar panels can slash household electricity bills by 50-70%. So, despite the initial expense, investing in solar panels proves to be a valuable long-term investment.

Myth- Renewable energy cannot meet our energy needs 

This could not be further from the truth. Whilst renewable energy might currently make up a very small percentage of energy generation the combination of the earth's renewable resources has the potential to meet the world's electricity demands. A study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Lab found that renewable energy “is more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country.” This is only if we continue at the pace we are currently at, now imagine if we increase the focus on renewable energy and prioritise it.

Renewable energy holds the capacity to meet the global energy demand multiple times over; however, it requires greater prioritisation and increased investment from governments worldwide. 

Myth- Renewable energy is equally as harmful to our environment as fossil fuels are 

While all energy sources have environmental impacts, renewable energy generally has fewer adverse effects compared to fossil fuels. For instance, solar and wind power produce no air or water pollution during operation, unlike coal and natural gas plants. Moreover, renewable energy sources have significantly lower carbon emissions, helping mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While certain renewable energy technologies may have localised environmental impacts, for example, hydropower can lead to habitat disruption and nuclear power releases radioactive waste, careful siting and mitigation measures can minimise these effects.

Renewable energy holds immense potential as a clean, sustainable, and economically viable solution to our energy needs. By dispelling common myths and understanding the facts, we can accelerate the transition to a renewable energy future. With continued investment, innovation, and policy support, renewable energy can play a central role in combating climate change, promoting energy security, and fostering a more prosperous and sustainable world for generations to come.

At SKOOT we support a number of climate projects such as the Alfanar wind farm and the Buenos Aires renewable energy project in order to promote the use of renewable energy globally and to take urgent action against the impacts of climate change, particularly in less developed areas. We also counter the carbon emissions of our clients by working with renewable carbon credits which instantly offsets a company's carbon emissions.  

Visit our impact shop today to counter the emissions for your business and support renewable energy projects.

Share this post
Written by Poppy Stringer
February 26, 2024
4 min read