|Why “green” energy is a terrible idea|
There are lots of reasons, actually, but Charles Rotter of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) does a good job of explaining some of them:
Ask them for details, and their responses range from evasive to delusional, disingenuous – and outrage that you would dare ask. The truth is, they don’t have a clue. They’ve never really thought about it. It’s never occurred to them that these technologies require raw materials that have to be dug out of the ground, which means mining, which they vigorously oppose (except by dictators in faraway countries).
Using wind power to replace the 3.9 billion megawatt-hours that Americans consumed in 2018, coal and gas-fired backup power plants, natural gas for home heating, coal and gas for factories, and gasoline for vehicles – while generating enough extra electricity every windy day to charge batteries for just seven straight windless days – would require some 14 million 1.8-MW wind turbines.
Those turbines would sprawl across three-fourths of the Lower 48 US states – and require 15 billion tons of steel, concrete and other raw materials. They would wipe out eagles, hawks, bats and other species.
Fifteen billion tons. That’s 30 trillion pounds.
Using solar to generate just the 3.9 billion MWh would require completely blanketing an area the size of New Jersey with sunbeam-tracking Nellis Air Force Base panels – if the Sun were shining at high-noon summertime Arizona intensity 24/7/365. (That doesn’t include the extra power demands listed for wind.)
Solar uses toxic chemicals during manufacturing and in the panels: lead, cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium (di)selenide and many others. They could leach out into soils and waters during thunderstorms, hail storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and when panels are dismantled and hauled off to landfills or recycling centers. Recycling panels and wind turbines presents major challenges.
Because wind turbines don’t last long–20 years–those massive disposal problems are now coming to the fore. Every wind turbine contains 45 tons (90,000 pounds) of non-recyclable plastic that must be disposed of in landfills. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to decommission each wind turbine.
Using batteries to back up sufficient power to supply U.S. electricity needs for just seven straight windless days would require more than 1 billion half-ton Tesla-style batteries. That means still more raw materials, hazardous chemicals and toxic metals.
I have never seen a coherent explanation of how batteries can be produced and deployed so as to store the vast quantities of electricity needed in the U.S. alone. It would cost a prohibitive $133 billion to buy batteries sufficient to store one state’s electricity–Minnesota’s–for 24 hours. Minnesota is an average sized state, so that corresponds to around $6.6 trillion for 24 hours storage for the U.S. That is much more than the entire budget of the U.S. government. This assumes that such batteries exist, which they don’t.
Bringing electricity from those facilities, and connecting a nationwide GND grid, would require thousands of miles of new transmission lines – onshore and underwater – and even more raw materials.
Providing those materials would result in the biggest expansion in mining the United States and world have ever seen: removing hundreds of billions of tons of overburden, and processing tens of billions of tons of ore – mostly using fossil fuels. Where we get those materials is also a major problem.
If we continue to ban mining under modern laws and regulations here in America, those materials will continue to be extracted in places like Inner Mongolia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, largely under Chinese control – under labor, wage, health, safety, environmental and reclamation standards that no Western nation tolerates today. There’ll be serious pollution, toxics, habitat losses and dead wildlife.
Even worse, just to mine cobalt for today’s cell phone, computer, Tesla and other battery requirements, over 40,000 Congolese children and their parents work at slave wages, risk cave-ins, and get covered constantly in toxic and radioactive mud , dust, water and air. Many die. The mine sites in Congo and Mongolia have become vast toxic wastelands. The ore processing facilities are just as horrific.
Meeting GND demands would multiply these horrors many times over. Will Green New Dealers require that all these metals and minerals be responsibly and sustainably sourced, at fair wages, with no child labor – as they do for T-shirts and coffee? Will they now permit exploration and mining in the USA?
“Green” energy is basically a hoax. The world runs on fossil fuels, and will continue to do so until nuclear energy is adopted on a mass scale, or another reliable, high-intensity energy source is discovered.