4.3 Renewable Energy Sources and Technologies
Sourcing Renewable Energy
There are multiple RE technologies and sources to take into account when developing a RE strategy. It is necessary to be as specific as possible about context and in defining the audience for the strategy. The term "audience" is used here to emphasize the need for a solid communication strategy to all relevant stakeholders in the strategy, policy, and technical systems being proposed. Whether certain stakeholder are considered or not and whether a proposal is encompassing enough or not, energy and energy markets will always have an audience that will likely respond. For example, there are three significant phases to energy systems, namely: production, transportation, and consumption. Each of these phases of getting energy from source to user requires some significant aspect of negotiation with relevant users of the system and/or those otherwise affected by the RE system. Those users and those otherwise affected are referred to as stakeholders in the process.
Technology Selection and Stakeholders
Any significant energy project will require public review and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). Choosing between strategies and thinking about public awareness campaigns and/or marketing requires a calculated awareness of how various stakeholders may respond to a given proposal. Engaging and involving various stakeholders early on in the process is a very useful way to establish trust early on and to better understand the possible energy market strategies (and market decisions that get made) that may otherwise go unconsidered. This can be accomplished through focus groups, surveys, informational gatherings, etc. We will come back to the issue of stakeholders and stakeholder analysis when we look more at impacts and nonmarket strategies in Lessons 6-8.
Once you have worked through the readings for this lesson, you should be able to distinguish between the various strengths and weaknesses of Solar, Wind, Biofuels, Geothermal, and Geological energy sources. While not needing to know the entirety, you should be able to identify and describe the various parts of the Energy Life Cycle.