The renewable energy industry is thriving — more solar and wind energy capacity is being installed each year, clean energy jobs continue to increase, and more people are getting on board with the shift to using sustainable resources. But many myths about renewable energy remain — as they say, haters gonna hate. We decided to set the record straight on the following five misconceptions about the industry.
Myth: Renewable energy is too expensive.
As new technology becomes more commonplace, it tends to come down in cost. This has definitely been true for renewable energy. For example, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association's (SEIA) U.S. Solar Market Insight 2015 Year in Review, overall PV system pricing in the United States fell by up to 17 percent over the course of 2015 alone.
Research shows that the increase in renewable energy capacity is also cutting costs in other sectors — because of wind energy's reductions of air pollutants, Americans saved approximately $7.3 billion in avoided health care costs just last year, based on estimations from a recent Harvard School of Public Health study.
Myth: Renewable energy isn't reliable.
There's no doubt that renewable energy has the capacity to provide large amounts of electricity — an average wind turbine has the capacity power nearly 500 U.S. homes. And while the sun doesn't shine 24/7, and the wind may not always blow, that doesn't mean that renewable energy technology can't be used to provide reliable power around the clock. Energy from renewable sources can be stored in batteries and other energy storage technology to be used when there is a demand, not just when the energy is produced.
Myth: Renewable energy is harmful to wildlife.
Many are concerned with the way wind turbines affect wildlife, particularly birds. But the actual safety risks are relatively low. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wind turbines are statistically only responsible for a few bird deaths — less than 1 in every 30,000. This number has dropped even lower now that more environmental assessments are being conducted prior to wind farm construction. Just one example of this is The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's research project to create technology that shuts down wind turbines when birds fly too close.
Myth: Renewable energy takes land away from farming.
Land use for wind farms and solar panels can still be used for farming. In fact, land around a wind turbine can still be used right up to the base of the turbine. Renting land to renewable energy companies has also become a significant income boost to farmers, allowing them to earn additional, reliable income and maintain ownership of their land, as reported by a recent Bloomberg article.
Myth: Renewable energy manufacturing creates more pollution than it prevents.
Some will argue that renewable energy doesn't reduce the amount of carbon pollution because of the energy needed to manufacture and install renewable energy technologies. But, according to research from The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, renewable energy's carbon footprint is a fraction of all fossil fuels' and even lower than nuclear power sources