What are the disadvantages of renewable energy sources?What are the disadvantages of renewable energy sources?

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enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The biggest disadvantage to all renewable energy sources is that conventional utilities aren't fully capable of incorporating the new technologies to make energy.  There are still technological and cost barriers (solar panels are still fairly expensive, for example) but as the price of generating energy conventionally continues to rise, and along with the improvements in technology and manufacturing, components needed to generate renewable energy will become cheaper.  To some degree, this is in effect -- and, at least where near I live, windmills are now finally appearing alongside power plants.  Much of the "alternative" energy systems are most effective if situated at your home; this is perhaps the most difficult philosophical obstacle from a corporate standpoint, which is attempting to incorporate them into a big distributed system.  Why have solar panels hooked into the grid, and lose much of the energy in transit?  Why not directly connect panels to the home? What would the big distributed system do then?

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In addition, while "conventional utilities aren't fully capable of incorporating the new technologies to make energy," private homeowners who might be willing to convert their homes to ones using more efficient renewable energy sources find the costs to do this prohibitive. Even with potential government credits for converting to more efficient systems, all but the wealthiest owners would be hit hard financially, and it would take many years to recoup the money. In this economy, a lot of people can’t wait that many years to recoup the expenses.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
One disadvantage is convenience. People make decisions based on convenience, let's just face it. Often renewable resources involve paying more, going out of our way, or doing something different than we are used to. That will always be a disadvantage of using renewable resources.
bt65 | Student

There are one billion bird deaths in the U.S. each year, but only 0.01% of one billion are from wind turbine collision (page 2).  This averages out to 2.51 bird deaths for every wind turbine.  As more are built the numbers will go up.  Remember that there are more birds killed per year from flying into skyscrapers than wind turbines.  There are also laws that protect migrational routes where turbines are not permitted.  There has to be an extensive study before building can start.

Another point is that wind turbines are being built better.  With this comes quieter turbines than the old style, which were noisy.  The blades are longer so they rotate more slowly and this reduces the risk to birds.  The birds can see and avoid the new style blades, unlike the reflective windows on skyscrapers which confuse them.   

Link:  http://www.development.cuyahogacounty.us/pdf_development/en- US/Avian%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf


giorgiana1976 | Student

Renewable energy are  clean energies, as they don’t pollute the air, and they don’t contribute to the alarming increase of the greenhouse effects. The huge disadvantage of all these energies is that  the producing of large amounts of electricity represents a difficulty comparing to the easiness of the energy producing by the fossil fuels.

Solar energy disadvantages:

-solar radiation is depending on geographical location

-solar radiation is depending on the cycle day/night

-capture of solar radiation is requiring a large amount of necessary materials

Wind energy disadvantages:

-wind turbines are noisy and can become dangerous for wild birds

Hydroelectric energy disadvantages:

- affects ecology by the process of vegetation decaying, which is releasing methan, which is also responsible with the greenhouse effects

-flooding is another problem caused by the dam releasing;

Geothermal energy disadvantages:

- geothermal wells drilling is costly

-together with the heat, poisonous gasses could be released


krishna-agrawala | Student

Renewable energy sources refers to sources of energy for generating electric power or for directly using in performance of useful work that does no get depleted with time. The non-renewable energy sources includes fossil fuel like coal and petrol.

Currently the most intensively used renewable energy source is hydro power, or the energy of water flowing in rivers and streams that possess kinetic and potential energy due to their  flow from higher altitudes to lower altitudes. Any fuel that is obtained from plants, for example alcohol made from molasses is also a renewable source of energy. Solar power, or the power of sun light falling on earth is the biggest potential source of energy, but due to technological limitations it is not utilized much. Other renewable sources of energy are wind, and tidal power.

Currently there is great interest in development of renewable energy sources due to the prospect of the all available of reserves of fossil fuel getting depleted and the environment pollution caused by burning of fossil fuel. However there are some disadvantages of using renewable energy. These are described below.

  • Current availability of fuel obtained from plants that can be used as economical energy practically is limited. Though lot of research and development activities is going on around to world to develop plants that could provides suitable fuels economically and in sufficient quantities.
  • The total potential of renewable energy source as wind power and tidal power is limited.
  • The current capital cost for equipment to convert renewable energy such as solar, wing and tide is very high.
  • Plant for generating power from wind, and tides can be located only in places where suitable conditions of tide or wind exist.
  • The plant for generating energy from sun light, wind and solar energy have to be spread around large areas.
  • Solar power is dependent on availability of sunlight. Thus the availability of power fluctuates from zero to maximum every day.
  • There have been some allegations that large scale use of wind power can interfere  pattern of wind flow and disturb the set weather pattern. Use of hydro power is already known change the pattern of silting in rivers.

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