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What is the future of renewable energy in developing countries?

I would think that most countries are investing in solar and wind systems when it comes to renewable energy. Nevertheless that is not necessarily the case for developing countries where other sources of energy are being used still for the economic reasons. So what should we expect the future of renewables to be in developing countries?


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    Oct 19 2013: I think renewable energy is the future. Period.It does not matter what country you talk about. There are other merits to renewable energy than avoiding disasters of global warming. We can get sustainable energy and avoid a big price war for the conventional sources in the coming years. It may be costlier but when you know you have to switch to it inevitably, why not start right away.A wholesale switch maybe will not be possible, but to not be constantly in the process of having a greater power share coming from renewable sources will eventually cause more harm than good. As for what my fast becoming good friend Nadav pointed out about the immediate need for energy saving lives in the poorer nations, let me say that it's not usually availability of conventional resources that's the problem in developing countries but political paralysis, poor delivery mechaism and vested interest against the powerless to keep them so that leads to energy crisis for the poor. So in fact renewable installation like solar and wind may well be their ticket to freedom.
    • Oct 20 2013: I fail to see the connection between renewable energy technology and battling corruption, special interest groups, and political incompetence.
      If a non renewable power producing project is brought down by such things, why should a renewable one fair better? Goodwill?

      The truth of the matter is, there are many developing countries today where even if you install a power plant today, they won't have the money to buy electricity off you tomorrow. Producing the electricity via more expensive renewable means is pretty much the opposite of addressing the problem.

      As for not starting adopting renewables right now, its because the renewable technology is only improving, and there are still fossil fuels to burn.
      By waiting, not only will you be investing in better renewables (they may actually be cost effective in the future, something they're not right now), it'll also be an easier sell as the fossil fuels grow more expensive as they eventually start to dwindle. Or just go for nuclear power instead if its politically and economically possible in your country (unfortunately not the case in the developing world--another reason to stick to fossil fuels); we're in no danger of running out of uranium in the next couple of centuries.
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        Oct 21 2013: First, I think we should not be too keen on a situation where fossil fuels have almost run out and are hence too costly before we start using the renewable option effectively . Its like waiting for the dam to almost burst before evacuating. I totally agree that there is loads of room for improvement in this field as well. But unless its usage is increased, there would not even be an impetus to improve.

        Also what i was saying about solar and wind installations was, like hydel power and biogas these can be more accessible for the people as small installations for these sources are possible. Keeping in mind the backwardness of many societies their demands will not be high to begin with and they may be able to serve the people with just enough (to get nightlights, maybe run a borewell).
        Conventional resources like coal and gas are usually not available to say a village administration or run even a mini-plant of coal while its easier to manage say a water-wheel or a biogas treating plant or 10 wind mills in a field that produce few kW of power. What i was talking about was small-scale installation being possible for these sources which will grant the poor control over their own power.

        P.S.:My opinions are governed by my own observations such as-1) in India a lot of potential sites for wind and solar energy installations are available at a small scale(identified by govt survey) which are not being utilised.2) Oil and gas are already quite costly for the commoner anyway.
        • Oct 21 2013: Even small scale, its cheaper to import fossil fuels via the truck load than it is to produce power via renewable means.

          Hydroelectric and geothermal are an exception, but both require you strike lucky on geography. There is little growth in either field because most spots fit to utilize are already implemented.
          Biogas is also neat, but has difficulty keeping up with demand. Its more of a supplement than a replacement.
          Wind and solar on the other hand, are both cost inefficient on any scale, and further limited by the fact that mother nature controls the on/off switch (which comes with serious drawbacks both in economics and implementation). Solar is useful for heating bath water, but is poorly suited for electric generation. Wind doesn't even have that.

          Normally I'd suggest nuclear, but the high initial construction cost as well as political limitations make it poorly suited for most of the developing world.
          Besides, we have coal and gas enough for centuries. Oil is the only one threatening running short, with mere decades, and even that's plenty of time to adjust assuming a war doesn't abruptly cut off supply or something. Besides, oil isn't used for large scale power generation in most places anyhow, its value as a motor fuel drives its cost too high for that.

          In short, stick to fossil fuels. They're not a good option, just better than everything else.
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      Oct 21 2013: any argument having the word "period" in it can be assumed incorrect. it is a sloppy attempt to move the spotlight away from an unbacked claim. why move the spotlight away, if the claim can be supported by argument?
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        Oct 21 2013: Never meant it that way.Too much Hollywood hurting my communication skills, i guess!

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