Renewables – The Answer to Climate Change, or Its Victim?

By Dr. Robert Holcomb MD, Ph.D., Inventor and Co-Founder of Holcomb Energy Systems

renewables: the victims of climate change

Photo by esp2gbocq on Unsplash.com

Climate change is not a problem of the future, it’s happening now. According to the 2022 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global climate crisis is more widespread and severe than was previously predicted.

Extreme droughts, severe heat and record flooding have been threatening security and subsistence for millions of people. The frequency and levels of intensity of extreme weather-related disasters will continue to increase all over the world.

Climate change indicators of warming

Indicators of warming from multiple datasets Figure Source: globalchange.gov

 

Today, half of the world’s population copes with water insecurity at least one month per year.  Wildfires are destroying larger areas than ever before which leads to irreversible impacts on landscapes, harming species and entire ecosystems. The global outcomes of the 2022 drought are terrifying:

 

 

    • In China, all factories in Sichuan province have been shuttered for 6 days to conserve power.

 

 

effects of climate change: boats on shallow river

Climate crisis: drought hitting Europe Source: dailysabah.com/

Today’s fossil fuel emissions will continue to affect our planet’s climate for years and even centuries, because humanity is polluting the atmosphere at a deadly pace, creating cyclical warming conditions for our oceans and atmosphere.

 

Is Renewable Energy a Key to Fighting Climate Change?

 

Many people are placing their hopes in renewable energy technologies as a way to address climate change and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Because renewables such as wind, solar, and hydro are carbon-free, they are believed to be the key to mitigating the worst effects of climate change and fueling our society into the future.

Despite the advantages of renewables, National Geographic highlights just a few of their downsides:

    • Hydropower constructions may ruin river ecosystems and harm wildlife

 

    • Wind turbines present dangers for flying wildlife killing thousands of birds and bats every year

 

    • Solar technologies are constructed of toxic metals, threatening groundwater through leaching.

 

renewables downsides: wind turbines killing birds

Wind turbines slaughtering birds Source: https://windmillskill.com/

At present, renewables remain the most immediate hope to solving so many intractable issues. Yet, they too are threatened by the climate crisis.

A 2019 study suggests that climate change will physically impact all clean energy generation systems, placing their reliability and performance at risk.  That’s because renewables are directly dependent on climate variables, such as temperature, wind, and precipitation.

Below, see how climate change could impact these renewable power generation sources.

Potential Impact on Hydropower Generation

Climate Threats Impacts
Change in rainfall patterns Both reduction and increase in flow can affect operational conditions
Flooding and intense rain Can damage infrastructure, pose a risk to dam safety, and transfer debris leading to dam and tribune damage
Air temperature High air temperatures cause evaporation and reduce water and power output. Can also increase operational costs and affect efficiency

 

Potential Impact on Wind Generation

Climate Threats Impacts
Changes in wind speed Can reduce generation, as turbines can’t operate in very high or very low winds
Changes in daily or seasonal distribution of wind Can affect the match between the daily load demand and the energy input to the grid
Changes in temperature Can lead to declines in air density and power output. Extreme cold temperatures can affect output. Extremely high temperatures can affect the efficiency of the equipment and increase operational costs

 

Potential Impact on Solar PV

Climate Threats Impacts
Changes in temperature Can effect the efficiency of the cells and therefore power output. Might also effect the efficiency of the equipment and increase operational costs
Changes in solar irradiation and cloudiness Would effect power output
Wind speed May effect photovoltaic production
Precipitation Can wash away dust but reduce efficiency

Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032119306239

 

 HES – a New Solution to Climate Change

 

Renewable energy technologies have proven their place in a cleaner, greener economy. But they are not problem-free: they require battery storage, they don’t work when the sun isn’t shining or the wind doesn’t blow, and their performance is vulnerable to changing weather conditions.

Today, the world is craving an alternative energy source that is clean, point of use, affordable and deployable everywhere, in even the most hostile environments.

We offer a newly discovered source of clean energy that doesn’t require mining, fracking, or drilling. The HES is scalable everywhere electricity is needed, in applications large and small. It requires no fuel and puts out zero emissions. Because it has no moving parts it runs totally silent and requires very little maintenance. And it’s affordable for everyone.

Let’s work together to ensure a sustainable future for our beautiful planet and all living things that share it with us.

Holcomb Energy Systems In-line generator

Holcomb Energy Systems In-Line Power Generator