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 Cost of technologies for renewable energy must be tackled

The nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima plant has raised serious questions about the importance of alternative energy production.

Recently the world’s biggest energy consumer China has announced it will cut its 2020 target for nuclear power capacity and build more solar farms following Japan’s atomic crisis.

Dr Jan von Drathen, Head of Concentrated Solar Power, E.ON Climate & Renewables, says more focus needs to be placed on delivering renewable energy from technologies that address the growing concern about energy security, energy affordability, and climate change.

Dr von Drathen is a speaker at the marcus evans Strategic Weather Risk Management for the Energy Industry taking place on 9-11 May in Amsterdam.

Concentrated solar power (CSP) systems that use lenses or mirrors to concentrate a large area of sunlight, will become more of an option in suitable countries, Dr von Drathen predicts.

“Solar plants will develop globally because where there is sunshine there is an opportunity to exploit renewable resources that are available. Once the cost has been brought to a competitive level it’s going to be a no-brainer to install mirrors in areas where we can harness the sun. This will happen in a couple of years time once the costs of solar tubes, power blocks, solar panels and photovoltaics (PV) come down significantly.”

He adds that the cost of technologies are the main obstacle affecting the commercial viability of renewable energy sources.

“We need to look at how to commercialise these new technologies associated with wind, bio mass, photovoltaic or solar power. For example solar power plants have been in operation for 10 years but they still need to be brought into an operative mode so they work effectively.”

Dr von Drathen says the process of harvesting the sun is not even close to being optimised.

“It’s at a very early stage and we still need the input of lots experts in this area who can analyse, understand and engineer it better in order to bring down the cost of construction and operation significantly.”

The marcus evans Strategic Weather Risk Management for the Energy Industry will take place on 9-11 May in Amsterdam.




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