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Choose Wind or Photovoltaics?

Writer: Rose LIAO, Lynn HSIAO

Social Media Team: Irina LIN

Characteristics of natural resources

There are two types of renewable energy. One is variable (intermittent) renewable energy, such as solar, wave and wind power, whose power generation varies by day and night, season, and climate; the other is non-variable renewable energy, such as geothermal, biomass/biogas, reservoir hydropower in general speaking.

Therefore, diversified energy development and making good use of regional energy development advantages are important issues for every country in the development of low-carbon energy.

The status of 2022 renewable energy generation in Taiwan

Excluding power generation by refuse-burning plant, the proportion of renewable energy power generation types in 2022 will be mainly photovoltaic, accounting for 3.70%, followed by hydro (2.03%) and wind (1.23%). Among them, wind and solar PV are market-focused rising stars that are of concern to general private high-profile types of renewable energy development.

Here are a few noteworthy factors:

l Sufficient wind resources (On-shore Wind ~ 2,500 hours per MW, Offshore Wind ~ 3,750 hours per MW)

l Solar PV still enjoys market subsidies (including higher FiT from a utility, industrial protection)

l Strong demand for green electricity procurement in the market (high demands from mandatory and voluntary market)

Size of renewable energy development: On-shore Wind V.S. Solar PV

This article only focuses on the land use situation of renewable energy projects on land and follow-up discussion in terms of the two most popular types.

If a developable green filed is 625 m2, a developer can install a 4.2 MW(4,200kW) wind turbine or 0.13MW(130kW) solar panels, even when both energy sources are at full generation, wind power is 64 times more efficient per unit (land area) than solar power in terms of total power generation. (see figure 1)

Figure 1. Renewable energy power generation per unit area (625 m2 example)

When it comes to power generation benefits alone, it is clear that wind power development has absolute advantages. However, in the development process, factors such as development and construction costs, environmental and ecological impacts, grid connection approvals, and local stakeholders’ support.[LH1] The factors mentioned earlier are actually the development costs and risks that should be considered during the development process.

Is the solar PV better? Or is wind power even better? There is no absolute answer to this question, but it is worth knowing different aspect about renewable energy development. Grasping and making good use of available resources locally is the appropriate action for regional energy development.



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