One of the most common criticisms people have about renewable energy is how unpredictable it can be. The sun only shines for part of the day, and even in West Texas, the wind generally only blows about a quarter of the time. Therefore, relying on electricity generated by solar panels or wind turbines might mean that people don’t have power when they need it the most, like late at night.
Batteries are the current top solution for the sporadic availability of renewable energy. It is possible to store the electricity generated through renewable energy projects in batteries until a landowner needs that power later. Sometimes, though, batteries create challenges for those proposing a renewable energy project. The following are some of the most common conflicts that arise related to batteries for solar and wind power.
Concern from neighbors
Massive battery banks can store thousands of kilowatt hours until people require that energy. However, those batteries are an environmental risk factor. The chemicals in the individual battery cells are often caustic and very dangerous should they leak. Therefore, neighbors, including agricultural professionals in rural settings, often oppose large-scale renewable energy projects out of concern for the environmental impact that could arise if a storm or accident damages the batteries.
Protecting against battery damage
Businesses often need to have a clear plan in place to address issues that could damage the batteries installed as part of a renewable energy project. They may need edifices to protect the batteries from inclement weather or theft. They may also need to have a plan for the possibility of a battery fire, which could cause property damage and environmental destruction.
Future battery disposal
No matter how carefully a business maintains the batteries for a renewable energy project, they will eventually become so old that they require replacement. It can be a challenge to legally and cost-effectively dispose of batteries. Businesses that did not plan for those costs may find that they have a hard time managing the decommissioning process at the end of a project or the replacement of batteries when the existing battery bank is too old to be safe. They run the risk of massive expenses or allegations of non-compliance with environmental regulations.
Recognizing and planning for the challenges associated with batteries used for renewable energy projects can help landowners circumvent issues that might derail a project.