Making Renewable Energy More Accessible: Overcoming Barriers

Renewable Energy /
Making Renewable Energy More Accessible: Overcoming Barriers

With the threat of human-caused climate change looming over the next century, countries are under pressure to retire legacy systems and develop sustainable clean energy infrastructure. But how to make renewable energy more accessible remains a complex problem. To meet net-zero targets, it’s important to address the barriers currently hindering the widespread adoption of sustainable infrastructure.

So, what are the challenges of hydrogen infrastructure development, and how can they be overcome? Let’s explore these questions in detail.

Why Sustainability Is Hard to Achieve

The Paris Climate Accords demonstrated that making globally impactful pledges is important, but the real work begins when countries set out to achieve those goals. And this work has proven to be more demanding than anticipated.

According to CNN, by 2021—six years after the Paris Agreement—Climate Action Tracker analyzed the policies of 36 countries, as well as the 27-nation European Union, and discovered:

“None of the world’s major economies—including the entire G20—have a climate plan that meets their obligations under the 2015 Paris Agreement…all major economies were off track to contain global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”

The question is: why is this occurring? If the matter is so urgent, what factors are blocking the transition toward sustainability on both a macro and micro level?

Barriers to Sustainable Development

Common challenges of sustainability and barriers to sustainable development include:

Dependence on non-renewable energy sources and existing infrastructure

Fossil fuels were crucial for the rapid development, economic growth, and population expansion that occurred in the 20th century. Therefore, they have become deeply rooted in our energy systems.

Lack of viable substitutes

To this day, carbon-based fossil fuels remain the most cost- and energy-efficient energy sources available. Currently, the most commonly proposed renewables, like solar and wind technologies, lack the energy density, reliable supply, and ease of transportation necessary to replace non-renewables. In short, they’re a complementary energy source, not an outright substitute.

Limited public awareness and understanding of sustainable energy

Along these lines, many people are unaware of the existence and benefits of emerging renewable energy sources beyond solar and wind, such as resilient and clean green hydrogen, which can result in a lack of public support for clean energy initiatives.

Resistance to change

Understandably, many people hesitate to disrupt the status quo, particularly during uncertain economic and socio-political times, when they believe there isn't a viable alternative energy source.

High upfront costs and lack of immediate returns on investment

Developing renewable energy projects and infrastructure is an expensive undertaking, often with no guarantee of ROI, which can deter investors from risking capital on these ventures.

Varying priorities

Sustainability is a priority of Western countries. But, for developing or undeveloped countries in Africa, Asia, and South America, the big-picture threat of human-caused climate change doesn’t rank high on their list of immediate concerns.

Limited access to technology and expertise in developing countries

Even if they wish to pursue sustainable development and have the political will to carry it out, many developing countries lack the necessary resources and knowledge to efficiently and effectively implement renewable energy projects.

Inadequate policy frameworks and regulatory barriers

Outdated policies and regulations can hinder the development and integration of renewable energy projects. For instance, lengthy and complex permitting processes for renewable energy projects can result in delays and skyrocketing costs, ultimately deterring developers from pursuing clean energy initiatives.

Overcoming Barriers to Infrastructure Development

The ability to directly impact the energy policy decisions and actions of other nations is limited. Nevertheless, we can still take proactive steps as a society to address and overcome the chief obstacles hindering clean energy infrastructure development, including:

Raising public awareness and educating communities on sustainable energy

For bottom-up support of clean energy, communities affected by new energy infrastructure need to know that there’s a clear transition plan in place. An integral aspect of this involves rolling out initiatives meant to increase public understanding of both the benefits and trade-offs of renewable energy sources like hydrogen. Here, honest and transparent education can help foster support for clean energy projects.

Encouraging private investment through tax incentives and subsidies

Governments can mitigate the risk associated with investing in clean energy development by offering policy incentives like tax breaks and subsidies. These measures can encourage private investors to participate in renewable energy projects and make them more financially attractive.

Developing favorable regulatory frameworks and initiatives prioritizing sustainable energy

While this effort is already underway, the country must continue to update and implement policies that engender support for renewable energy while creating a more conducive environment for sustainable development. For instance, the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs program (H2Hubs) will invest up to $7 billion to establish 6-10 regional clean hydrogen hubs across the US.

Investing in research and development to overcome technical barriers

Many renewable energy sources are still being developed and improved. Continued R&D investment in projects like hydrogen technology and tri-generation power plants can make clean energy more cost-effective and accessible, thus facilitating the widespread adoption of renewables.

Encouraging international cooperation and technology transfer

Reaching net zero will require group buy-in. Each nation must do its part to limit carbon emissions. To that end, fostering a spirit of collaboration and accountability between countries can help drive progress.

FASTECH: Driving Hydrogen Infrastructure Development

There are a number of hurdles preventing the widespread adoption of renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure. High investment costs, limited access to technology and expertise, and lack of education remain significant barriers to cross.

But they can be overcome, especially with the proper collaboration, education, and expertise.

That’s where FASTECH comes in. As end-to-end energy solutions providers specializing in hydrogen production and renewable energy EPC services, we provide the engineering, procurement, construction, and maintenance expertise you need to overcome the barriers to clean energy infrastructure development.

How can we help you make clean energy more accessible? Contact us today.


CNN. Not a single G20 country is in line with the Paris Agreement on climate, analysis shows.

Brookings. Why Are Fossil Fuels So Hard to Quit? Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs.

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