Free Essay Example: Renewable Energies

Published: 2023-01-10
Free Essay Example: Renewable Energies
Type of paper:  Case study
Categories:  Economics Energy Case study
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1713 words
15 min read

Over the past few years, the United States citizens have continuously endorsed the move to clean renewable energy. A recent study shows that close to seventy percent of Americans prefer the one-hundred percent shift to clean renewable energy; with a majority of them willing to incur the extra cost (Roberts, 2019). Late changes in the country's energy industry could be the reason behind the new shift in perception. Over the past year alone, although silently, the country has witnessed unexpected growth in the purchase of renewable energy, advancements, and commitments. However, this has not been the case for the United States alone, other countries and energy corporations have followed suit and have now set out on a path to inspire the globe with renewable energy. This paper explores the economic viability of five renewable energy projects in the world that have been flagged off in the past five years.

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The TuNur CSP Project

Tunisia being not so far from the equator enjoys a mellow atmosphere all through the winter and spring period with radiant days; thus holds huge solar energy potential. Radiations of the sun range from 1700-2900 kW h/m2/annually, North and South respectively (Saidi and Fnaiech, 2014). The country's rate of rainfall is also low.

The TuNur Solar power venture is one of the country's most aggressive power project. The project is segmented into two parts: a solar power plant in the Sahara and a submarine cable across the Mediterranean to Europe. The plant utilizes the Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology, one of the technologies that have been deemed as cost-efficient. The project will be done in three explicit phases.

The initial cost of production of the first phase is estimated at around $85 million and an additional $1.6 billion for the submarine cable connection (Zafar, 2017). This reflects a cost of around 10.1 cents per kilowatt hour which is a bit more expensive than newer CSP project which bids at 9.45 cents. The project is expected to produce around 4500 megawatts upon its completion, which will then be channeled to various European countries. Economist expects the project to bring in over $5 billion investment to the country and also create tens of thousands of jobs for the locals.

Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH)

Recently, a group of energy corporations announced their interest in exporting monstrous amount of wind and solar energy from Australia to other parts of Asia. The AREH project in Australia is expected to generate over 6 GW in its export phase. However, the first phase of the project is the Pilbara phase which is looking to generate around 3 GW to be used in the Australian mines (Gulagi, Bogdanov, Fasihi, & Breyer, 2017). The hybrid project is situated at the Northwest shoreline and stretches over 15000 kilometers into the desert. The plant will operate with over a thousand turbines and close to ten million panels. Of the 6 gig watts expected to be generated in the export phase, 4 GW will be produced by the turbines while the remaining will be from the solar panels. It is evaluated that this energy will be sufficient to supply power to in excess of 6 million family units.

The plant is expected to be fully completed over the next ten years. The construction of AREH will create more than 4000 jobs. The life expectancy of the project is estimated to be around 60 years. During this period the plant is expected to create over 500 running jobs in various sector. The total initial cost of the project is estimated at $10 billion. The group of energy companies hopes to complete the funding of the project by 2020. Although there have been concerns on the type of cable used to transport the power, the claims have been refuted since the power leakages are negligible.

Grand Inga Hydroelectric Project

When completed, this hydroelectric power plant in the Democratic Republic of Congo will hold the record for the largest amount of power generation. At the moment, the Three Gorges scheme in China is the largest dam with the production of over 22000 megawatts. However, this will be only half the capacity of the Grand Inga. The location of the proposed scheme on the Congo River is highly advantageous as it is close to the equator, and thus regular flow throughout the year.

For a long time now, Grand Inga's capability to take care of the continent's power shortage has been something of intrigue to various investors. The production cost of the much awaited Inga III is estimated at $14 billion (Clowes, 2017). According to DR Congo development officials, the Inga III will produce around 11GW. The natural upper hand of the area can offer the cheapest energy across Africa and stir various economic developments. Last year, the flagship of the project was considered one of the country's main agendas. And so far, two energy corporations from China and Spain have submitted their joint bid to work on the scheme.

Be that as it may, the undertaking has been faced with a few drawbacks. An example is the unstable political conditions of DR Congo which has scared away some potential energy companies. The dreadful corruption in the country has been another hindrance. Other environmental activists have also cited mass biodiversity loss.

The Cardiff Tidal Lagoon Project

The Tidal Lagoon power project will be located in between the coasts of Cardiff and Newport in South Wales, United Kingdom. Upon completion, this futuristic sustainable energy generation will supply electricity to all the over three million people of Wales, by just utilizing the tidal waves of the coast. Although the process started over five years ago, the venture was endorsed some few months ago. One of the key impressive factors of the Tidal Lagoon is the utilization of a relatively new technology that is yet to be explored fully. Once the project is completed, it will be second largest in the world of its kind. The project is routed to change the worldwide scene of tidal power unequivocally.

The tidal lagoon is expected to comprise of 108 turbines upon its completion. The whole project will cost an estimated eight billion euros. However, the tidal lagoon in Cardiff will be a prerequisite of another tidal lagoon based in Swansea (Hammond, Jones, & Spevack, 2017). The Cardiff Tidal Lagoon is estimated to feed the national grid with an additional 3000 megawatts.

The project is expected to inject around two billion euros into the economy of Wales during the construction phase (Hammond et al. 2017). The estimate has been based on the Swansea Tidal Lagoon project. The Cardiff Tidal Lagoon has a capacity of operating for one-hundred and twenty years and in every year of operation contributing a Gross Value Added of five-hundred million euros.

The Swansea Tidal Lagoon has proved to the country's tidal energy sector that moving to coast with higher tides will be less costly (Waters & Aggidis, 2016). Since the economies of scale apply, the Cardiff Tidal Lagoon will immediately reduce the cost of power, by producing the country's cheapest source of power.

Gansu Wind Farm Project

The Government of China endorsed the innovative Gansu Wind Farm Project in 2008. This project embodies the country's goal of being the world's pioneer of sustainable energy (Luo, Li, Tang, & Wei, 2016). The project consists of a combination of wind farms across the Chinese province of Gansu. Some of the wind farms are operational, while others are under construction, and others are just proposed. Although the Gansu Wind Farm Project will be done in stages, the current installation producing 6GW is considered the world's largest. The project targets to generate 10GW at the cost of sixteen billion dollars.

The initial phase of the project generated 3.8 GW from twenty wind farms. The second stage of the project has extra forty wind farms and produces 8GW. Nonetheless, the turbines that are currently operating are not as effective as expected. Much of this inefficiency has been attributed to the country's over-dependence on coal and thus a significant waste of renewable energy (Sahu, 2018). According to Sahu (2018), government officials display bias and also the transmission link is still feeble.

The limit of a renewable energy project relies majorly on the size of initial capital required to set up the plant. To determine whether a renewable energy project is viable, one has to consider the capacity of the project to generate power at a certain market price. According to Black (2012), renewable energy projects require higher capital investment compared to non-renewable ventures. However, it is noteworthy to state that wind power projects require less initial capital like other non-renewable technologies (Denholm, Diakov, & Margolis, 2015). Denholm et al. (2015) clarifies that with time, and improvement in technologies, the initial capital of renewable energy projects will reduce, however, the cost of the traditional technologies of non-renewable sources will be unchanged.


Black, V. (2012). Cost and performance data for power generation technologies. Prepared for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Clowes, W. (2018, June 13). Congo to Start $13.9 Billion Hydropower Project This Year. Retrieved May 9, 2019, from

Denholm, P., Diakov, V., & Margolis, R. (2015). Relative economic merits of storage and combustion turbines for meeting peak capacity requirements under increased penetration of solar photovoltaics (No. NREL/TP-6A20-64841). National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)

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Hammond, G. P., Jones, C. I., & Spevack, R. (2017, February). A technology assessment of the proposed Cardiff-Weston tidal barrage, UK. In Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers-Engineering Sustainability (Vol. 171, No. 8, pp. 383-401). Thomas Telford Ltd.

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Sahu, B. K. (2018). Wind energy developments and policies in China: A short review. Renewable and Sustainable energy reviews, 81, 1393-1405.

Saidi, L., & Fnaiech, F. (2014). RETRACTED: Experiences in renewable energy and energy efficiency in Tunisia: a Case study of a developing country.

Waters, S., & Aggidis, G. (2016). A world first: Swansea Bay tidal lagoon in a review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 56, 916-921.

Zafar, S. (2017). Solar Energy Prospects in Tunisia. EcoMENA, available at: http://www. ecomena. org/solar-tunisia/(accessed 24 November 2017).

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