Critical Risks in Renewable Energy

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Contributed date

May 15, 2020 - 6:03pm

Critical Commentary

This article brings up the possible downsides of alternative energy sources. Energy vulnerability within the new systems and how this may prevent the future competitiveness of the strategy. 

It begins by describing the continous growth of wind and solar energy. The first problem discussed is the unknown variable of future tariffs. Tariffs have been caused to stop green energy developments on a large scale due to increased fees. Another problem, especially for the United States, is our investment in oil. Through taxpaying dollars the United States subsidizes almost 40 billion dollars a year on fossil fuel operations. This much backing to one source makes the alternative energy frontier difficult to gain traction. A big advantage to renewable energy is to escape dependency of foreign sources, although the construction of a clean grid can cause much more dependency. Rare metals are used in pretty much all green energy technology and the mining for these metals is terrible for the environment. The bigger problem with this is almost 100% of these metals are mined in China which leaves us very dependent on one country. This has proven problematic. In 2010 they completely stopped shipping these metals to Japan, halting every project. Another problem is the technology's resilience to storms although solar panels have reported to operate at full capacity in 180MPH winds. A tax credit  incentive has been in place to encourage home use of renewable energy and this article brings up the point that with expansion the credit cannot apply to everyone and would make them less competitive. Although this can probably be solved with a fraction of the 40 billion used to subsidize fossil fuels. This is important because when alternative energy is discussed the harsh realities that can restrain growth are usually not mentioned. This is relevant to my project to distinguish the future possibilities of alternative energies. While these problems are very prominent and some are difficult obstacles all of them can be overcome. In the big picture these problems are miniscule compared to the problems we are putting on ourselves with the use of fossil fuels.


Kerr, M. (2019, May 14). 7 Critical Risks in Renewable Energy. Retrieved May 13, 2020, from

Cite as

Michelle Kerr, "Critical Risks in Renewable Energy", contributed by Logan Young, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 15 May 2020, accessed 21 May 2022.