Mining companies, child labor–exploiters, toxic dumps, and petro-tyrants just love 'renewable' energy
The left just loves to tout "renewable energy" as the clean, green panacea, something that will save the Earth. Just look at the foremost proponent of this, California's Gov. Gavin Newsom:
On day one, I will issue a directive putting California on a clear path to 100% renewable energy. It's achievable and it's necessary. Frankly, I think we can surpass our 100% goal by positioning California as a net exporter of energy to other states and nations. It's a money maker for us and the natural next step in our global leadership — a classic example of California innovation.
Under the leadership of the state's Lands Commission, which I chair, California is reducing its reliance on nuclear and offshore oil energy and moving toward safer, cleaner, and greener alternatives. We must continue diversifying our energy supply — that means increasing our output of solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, and ocean-based energy, all the while improving our energy efficiency through stronger green building standards, construction codes, and efficiency standards for electronics and appliances.
Blah, blah, blah. Anyone who works in real energies will probably know a different story.
The Wall Street Journal has a first-rate op-ed by an energy expert, Mark P. Mills, describing the vast quantity of non-renewable, not-even-recyclable waste that nifty green energy baubles such as wind-farm turbines generate:
Democrats dream of powering society entirely with wind and solar farms combined with massive batteries. Realizing this dream would require the biggest expansion in mining the world has seen and would produce huge quantities of waste.
"Renewable energy" is a misnomer. Wind and solar machines and batteries are built from nonrenewable materials. And they wear out. Old equipment must be decommissioned, generating millions of tons of waste. The International Renewable Energy Agency calculates that solar goals for 2050 consistent with the Paris Accords will result in old-panel disposal constituting more than double the tonnage of all today's global plastic waste. Consider some other sobering numbers:
A single electric-car battery weighs about 1,000 pounds. Fabricating one requires digging up, moving and processing more than 500,000 pounds of raw materials somewhere on the planet. The alternative? Use gasoline and extract one-tenth as much total tonnage to deliver the same number of vehicle-miles over the battery's seven-year life.
When electricity comes from wind or solar machines, every unit of energy produced, or mile traveled, requires far more materials and land than fossil fuels. That physical reality is literally visible: A wind or solar farm stretching to the horizon can be replaced by a handful of gas-fired turbines, each no bigger than a tractor-trailer.
Building one wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of nonrecyclable plastic. Solar power requires even more cement, steel and glass — not to mention other metals. Global silver and indium mining will jump 250% and 1,200% respectively over the next couple of decades to provide the materials necessary to build the number of solar panels, the International Energy Agency forecasts. World demand for rare-earth elements — which aren't rare but are rarely mined in America — will rise 300% to 1,000% by 2050 to meet the Paris green goals. If electric vehicles replace conventional cars, demand for cobalt and lithium, will rise more than 20-fold. That doesn't count batteries to back up wind and solar grids.
The waste is simply incredible. What's more, it's well known that would-be petro-tyrants such as Vladimir Putin finance green activist groups in Europe and maybe Canada, just to get stupid lefties to buy into this nonsense and delude themselves into the idea that by building wind farms to generate "clean" energy, they are indeed going green. Pay no attention to all those waste dumps, or all that profit going to mining companies, or all the African, Asian, and American dictatorships exploiting child labor to git 'er done.
Just as electric cars require belching coal plants to produce the gas to fire up the electrical power charging stations, so the wind farms require massive amounts of resources just to get those necessary rare earth minerals, along with Mexican-style quantities of concrete and other unpicturesque things Joni Mitchell once sang against.
These facts are out there and have been out there, as Mills notes, citing engineers' contemptuous term for imagining that there really is a free and efficient energy source out there: unobtanium.
The most serious energy solution, in fact, is drilling oil and fracking away. It's the most energy-efficient source of energy production. Because efficiency is part of the picture.
Read the whole thing here.
Image credit: Monica Showalter, San Gorgonio, California, 2016.