Suitability assessment for electricity generation through renewable sources: towards sustainable energy production

Keywords: Mathematical model, Renewable energy, Sustainable development, Environmental indicators, Wind energy, Solar energy, Biomass, Social acceptance

Abstract

Power generation through renewable sources is an effective alternative to mitigate climate change as its environmental impact is lower compared to fossil fuels. However, socio-economic problems are constant in sites where power plants are installed, especially in developing countries. In this paper, an innovative methodology was developed to assess the suitability of electricity generation through solar, wind, and biomass energy. Unlike most studies found in scientific literature, this work considers social, environmental, and economic aspects as key to determine the suitability of energy projects. First, we carried out a comprehensive analysis on social acceptance and resilience towards renewable energy and the conditions for communities to benefit from these projects; then, we analyzed the availability and capacity of renewable energy sources in Mexico, as a case study. Next,  a set of indicators related to the three pillars of sustainability was developed to assess the conditions of each place with the best renewable resources in the country. The life cycle and capacity factor of each technology were also considered. Lastly, a mathematical model was developed to determine the most suitable locations and technologies for power generation. The results show a trend towards the states of northern Mexico, especially those bordering the United States, as the most viable for electricity generation. The most appropriate technology is wind energy. Finally, Oaxaca, the state with the best wind resources and current leader in wind power generation in Mexico is, by contrast, the least viable state for wind generation, as has been later confirmed by scientific evidence, as wind facilities are associated with severe socio-cultural and economic damage in host communities in this state.

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How to Cite
Pérez-Denicia, E., Fernández-Luqueño, F., & Vilariño-Ayala, D. (2021). Suitability assessment for electricity generation through renewable sources: towards sustainable energy production. CT&F - Ciencia, Tecnología Y Futuro, 11(1), 109-122. https://doi.org/10.29047/01225383.260

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Published
2021-06-30
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