A study of the challenges and proposed solutions, for integrating a wide share of renewable energies in the electricity market in OECD countries

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Abstract

This research was done in the field of renewable energy and its future projection. The world Today is focused on changing its energy mix and rely more on renewable energy. Many obstacles face the continuity of the current mixture. Problems such as security of supply which includes; sustainability of current resources and insurance of trade between countries, are raising alarm for decision makers. The environmental concerns are also motivating countries to rely on cleaner sources of energy. The breakthrough in research in renewable energy technologies has motivated countries to make effort in raising its market share. This comes in times were many conventional power plants are reaching the end of their life time cycle and need replacement. The main problem that motivated this study is that renewable energy is not a cheap easily accessible energy as thought. Renewable energies such as solar and wind are intermittent and cannot be relied upon for base load supply. These sources are often more expensive and has much less energy density than conventional power plants. Many countries still face many problems overcoming these obstacles. The main objective of this thesis is to give a projection of the current situation of renewables. The study was to show the current situation and the obstacles, then present the solutions and real life case studies. These would serve as a guide to better understand why we stand at the point we stand currently at. It would also help answer the question of the future share of renewable energy in the market and whether it’s expected to reach 100% as hoped. The hypothesis made by the general public rather than the author was that; the world could solely rely on sun and wind energies to supply energy for the entire globe. From this hypothesis come ideas like covering parking lots with solar panels and flooding seashores with windmills. The hypothesis of this thesis however is the contrary. In fact this hypothesis wasn’t reached until half way along the research. In the beginning it was a matter of asking “can we rely solely on renewable energy as our main source of energy?” In order to investigate this hypothesis, a research was conducted among OECD countries that have already developed a decent share of renewable energy in its grid. The plan was to research for the opinions of academic researchers and policy makers regarding the future of renewable energy. The thesis was based solely on descriptive research not modelling. However some of the academic papers referenced were based on models themselves. The data taken were based on realistic scenarios rather than optimistic or pessimistic ones. And reliance was always on recent data as it’s a very volatile market.