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Energy Democracy in 4 Powerful Steps
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), formerly the Irish Energy Centre was set up by the government in 2002 as Ireland’s national energy authority.
Article | February 26, 2020
The effect that fossil fuels are having on the climate emergency is driving an international push to use low-carbon sources of energy. At the moment, the best options for producing low-carbon energy on a large scale are wind and solar power. But despite improvements over the last few years to both their performance and cost, a significant problem remains: the wind doesn't always blow, and the sun doesn't always shine. A power grid that relies on these fluctuating sources struggles to constantly match supply and demand, and so renewable energy sometimes goes to waste because it's not produced when needed.
Right now, renewable energy makes up a very small part of the entire energy sector of Bangladesh. But as we move into the future, and concerns about the environment become too great to ignore, exploring cleaner and greener sources of energy becomes the need of the hour. Our economy is booming, and our population is growing, so it goes without saying that our energy requirements are immense. There is plenty of scientific evidence that burning fossil fuels indiscriminately is not sustainable in the long term, so we do need to up our game in looking at alternatives.
In the longer term it is obvious that having significant manufacturing capacity in coastal US states makes more sense than making components elsewhere and sending them on long sea journeys to their installation site. However, in the short term the sector will require a great deal of imported machinery and skills. International free trade has been instrumental in creating a positive marketplace for offshore wind, by driving down costs and accelerating growth. Unfortunately, this has had contrary effects on local prosperity, where areas do not receive the benefits of investment. Public and political support for offshore wind developments can therefore be undermined.
Electricity is a unique kind of commodity— although it is not perishable, it is (still) hard to store on a large scale. Electricity must be generated relatively close to where it is demanded and at the time it is demanded. Therefore, operators must constantly keep an eye on the use of electricity. When demand is high, operators will signal the generators to increase their output; if less, generators get the instruction to generate less electricity. Roughly, this is how the grid works. The devil is in the details: the flexibility of power plants is unique to its type. Nuclear and coal power plants take the longest to start up and shut down, followed by oil/diesel power plants.
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