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Politics : Rat's Nest - Chronicles of Collapse

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From: Wharf Rat2/15/2024 9:42:03 PM
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Your Key to Debunking Clean Energy Misinformation – This is Not Cool (

USA Today had a decent fact check of Clean Energy nonsense.

Above, brain scrambled disinformer in Chief gives a horrifying glimpse into the jumbled mind of the anti-Clean Energy tribe.


Alan Anderson heads the energy practice with the law firm of Polsinelli and says when he hears arguments against wind and solar, he thinks of bears and Bigfoot.

“Bears are real – if you have a bear in your campsite, that’s not good,” the Kansas City, Missouri-based attorney said. “But if someone says there’s a Bigfoot in their campsite, it’s not real.

“We’re burdened by having to give factual information that’s backed by science and engineering, whereas the other side’s not. So we’re at a disadvantage,” he said.

The issue: Do wind turbines kill birds and bats? The short answer: Yes, wind turbines can kill both bats and birds. But the more important question is how many they kill compared with other sources.

Buildings are estimated to kill up to 988 million birds a year and outdoor cats are an enormous danger to birds. By one estimate, free-ranging domestic cats kill between 1.3 billion and 4 billion birds each year.

A study to be published in 2024 found that wind farms had no statistically significant effect on bird counts. But another kind of energy did. Fracking reduced the total number of birds counted in near shale and oil production sites by 15%.

And all of that is separate from considering the impact of climate change.

The National Audubon Society has estimated that as many as two-thirds of North American bird species – 398 species – are at risk of extinction due to changes in habitat caused by global warming.

The issue: Are solar farms dangerous for birds? The answer: Some water birds can mistake a large solar farm for a body of water and attempt to land on it, which can harm the birds. However, according to the National Audubon Society, some developers are adding special patterns to panels or using other strategies to minimize the risk of crash landings. Audubon also notes that many states require solar developers to grow native plants in and among solar farms, benefiting birds and other pollinators.

The issue: Power produced by wind and solar is just exported to people in other areas. Why should we have to produce it here? The answer: Agricultural communities have always exported what they produce, whether it’s crops or livestock. “The beef and potatoes that ranchers and dairymen produce in Idaho don’t all stay in Idaho,” said John Robison, public lands director for the Idaho Conservation League.

People in those communities see wheat and corn and soy being grown, see combines and grain bins, and know there’s money for farmers and taxes for their communities. Solar advocates and energy developers say their task is to persuade people living near turbines or solar farms to look at them and realize it means jobs and better-funded schools and repaired roads.

The issue: Will worn-out solar panels overwhelm dumps with waste? The answer: Improved standards for solar panels and wind turbines mean both have much longer lifespans today than they did a decade ago. Panels typically last 30 to 35 years while turbines have a lifespan of about 30 years.

At that point, it’s true: They must be decommissioned and disposed of. But the trash this will eventually produce pales in comparison to that produced by households, coal ash and plastic waste.

Globally, municipal waste is expected to reach 70 billion metric tons by 2050, coal ash (the byproduct of burning coal) more than 45 billion metric tons and plastic waste 12 billion metric tons, a study published in the journal Nature Physics in October 2023 found.

In comparison, even in the worst-case scenario, waste from solar panels is expected to reach 160 million metric tons globally by 2050.

Most solar zoning codes require that the companies post bonds for decommissioning them at the end of their lifespans so that counties don’t have to deal with disposal.

*I will add that the solar developers I know assume and plan for solar recycling at end of life, and every solar ordinance I am aware of requires a bond be posted sufficient to pay for decommissioning at end of life of a project, to be reviewed every 3-5 years and adjusted for inflation.
My recent interviews with experts Henry Hieslemair and Heather Mirletz addressed this issue as well.

The issue: Do solar panels contain toxic materials such as arsenic, cadmium and gallium? Will that leach out of them in the rain?

The answer: There are a couple different issues here, including questions of what’s really in the panels and also whether any of that stuff is actually risky. Here’s the breakdown.

Solar panels are mostly made of glass, aluminum and silicon – 77%, 10% and 3%, respectively. It’s true that trace elements are added to make them better conductors of electricity, usually cadmium and copper.

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