If You Want ‘Renewable Energy,’ Get Ready to Dig

If You Want ‘Renewable Energy,’ Get Ready to Dig

  • This should bring a smile to the faces of people who understand how things really work. You democrats just keep sitting there in the dark cross eyed and droolin’.

    If You Want ‘Renewable Energy,’ Get Ready to Dig
    Building one wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of plastic.
    By Mark P. Mills
    Aug. 5, 2019 6:48 pm ET
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    Wind turbines in Palm Springs, Calif., July 13, 2017. PHOTO: PAUL BUCK/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
    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.

    Last year a Dutch government-sponsored study concluded that the Netherlands’ green ambitions alone would consume a major share of global minerals. “Exponential growth in [global] renewable energy production capacity is not possible with present-day technologies and annual metal production,” it concluded.

    The demand for minerals likely won’t be met by mines in Europe or the U.S. Instead, much of the mining will take place in nations with oppressive labor practices. The Democratic Republic of the Congo produces 70% of the world’s raw cobalt, and China controls 90% of cobalt refining. The Sydney-based Institute for a Sustainable Future cautions that a global “gold” rush for minerals could take miners into “some remote wilderness areas [that] have maintained high biodiversity because they haven’t yet been disturbed.”


    What’s more, mining and fabrication require the consumption of hydrocarbons. Building enough wind turbines to supply half the world’s electricity would require nearly two billion tons of coal to produce the concrete and steel, along with two billion barrels of oil to make the composite blades. More than 90% of the world’s solar panels are built in Asia on coal-heavy electric grids.

    Engineers joke about discovering “unobtanium,” a magical energy-producing element that appears out of nowhere, requires no land, weighs nothing, and emits nothing. Absent the realization of that impossible dream, hydrocarbons remain a far better alternative than today’s green dreams.

    Mr. Mills is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a partner in Cottonwood Venture Partners, an energy-tech venture fund, and author of the recent report, “The ‘New Energy Economy’: An Exercise in Magical Thinking.”

    Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
    Appeared in the August 6, 2019, print edition.

  • Discussion
  • My favorite statement ever regarding “renewable” energy:

    Engineers joke about discovering “unobtanium,” a magical energy-producing element that appears out of nowhere, requires no land, weighs nothing, and emits nothing. Absent the realization of that impossible dream, hydrocarbons remain a far better alternative than today’s green dreams.

  • Another misnomer: petroleum is non-renewable. New petroleum is being produced all of the time. Of course, it's all under the ocean and will get more difficult to get, unless we have another continental shift.

  • most people have absolutely no idea of all the things petroleum is used
    for, or what they would have to do without or adjust to if we quit.

  • T. Boone Pickens' fund is swapping out oil for renewable energy.

  • i have no problem with renewables and searching for better ways, but to
    think we can completely get away from petroleum any time soon is just
    ignorant.

  • My brother works in the energy business and he told me a wind farm is about 25% productive most of the time. His company just announced they want to be total renewable by 2050 and it will never happen.

    We can never produce enough energy with wind or solar to replace the energy needs we have today.

  • DangerMan01 said... T. Boone Pickens' fund is swapping out oil for renewable energy.

    He knows that government money is stupid money. Just taking advantage of dumbasses with money.

  • We have a wind farm that’s located on our ranch and the ranches surrounding us. 100 turbines total and 29 on us. I watched the construction and how much concrete they used, equipment they used, fuel they used, steel they used, and under ground infrastructure and it’s comical people want to call it renewable energy.

  • redraiderka said... (original post)

    We have a wind farm that’s located on our ranch and the ranches surrounding u...

    I saw a great picture of turbines having to be de-iced. I suppose they used more Loon pixie dust.

  • I was sure this thread was going to explore thermal energy.

  • Fuddbldr said... (original post)

    I was sure this thread was going to explore thermal energy.

    Oh yeah, sure. Let's just kill the earth by extracting all of her heat.

  • Driving West of Amarillo there is a small Wind Farm.
    There are about 10 that are mangled and have pieces scattered all about.
    I assume high wind damaged them.

    South of Sweetwater there is a huge field with hundreds of shattered and mangled blades and stands.

    They seem to be more prone to damage than I ever imagined.

    Oh, I doubt the mangled parts can be "recycled".

  • Thermal energy is great where it is available, but is just one on a cog of many types that we need to use. There is no one size fits all answer.

  • DangerMan01 said... (original post)

    T. Boone Pickens' fund is swapping out oil for renewable energy.

    Get your facts straight , Boone states he lost $200M

    https://youtu.be/pAVARYFA4Fw?t=37

  • DangerMan01 said... (original post)

    T. Boone Pickens' fund is swapping out oil for renewable energy.

    His fund is down he needs to do something.
    https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/BOON?p=BOON

    This post was edited by RawlsLandman 3 months ago

  • Cajun Raider said... (original post)

    DangerMan01 said... T. Boone Pickens' fund is swapping out oil for renewab...

    This post was edited by RawlsLandman 3 months ago

  • DangerMan01 said... T. Boone Pickens' fund is swapping out oil for renewable energy.

    I heard T Boone is a big investor in the only company that makes the ball bearings for these windmills. But he is probably just wanting to protect the planet.

  • Ethanol is by far the worst. I'm not going to write a novel explaining why.

  • JumpAroundRaider said... (original post)

    I heard T Boone is a big investor in the only company that makes the ball bearings for these windmills. But he is probably just wanting to protect the planet.

    It's all ball bearing nowadays.

  • GhostRaider said... (original post)

    Oh yeah, sure. Let's just kill the earth by extracting all of her heat.

    That's not going to happen, and the heat isn't really extracted. However, maybe it will keep Yellowstone a bit cooler. Of course, not really.

  • if yellowstone ever blows, we'll have all the energy we'll ever need.

    might be kinda hard to transmit that energy where it's needed, though.

  • JumpAroundRaider said... (original post)

    DangerMan01 said... T. Boone Pickens' fund is swapping out oil for renewa...

    His whole wind farms from panhandle to DFW was nothing more than attempt at grabbing right of ways to build a pipeline to sell DFW his water.

    If Pickens is backing something you can guaran- damn-tee it’s gonna line his pockets.

  • DangerMan01 said... (original post)

    T. Boone Pickens' fund is swapping out oil for renewable energy.

    T Boone knows where the government teat is!
    I live across the street from Shallowater HS where they put up three wind turbines and near two more at the other campuses. They have an been torn down now because they turned out to be money pits before breaking down and unable to be repaired!

    This post was edited by coatart 3 months ago

  • freedomarms45 said... if yellowstone ever blows, we'll have all the energy we'll ever need.
    might be kinda hard to transmit that energy where it's needed, though.

    Don't forget that if Yellowstone ever blows, it will be Trump's fault.

  • MrMustaphaMond said... His whole wind farms from panhandle to DFW was nothing more than attempt at grabbing right of ways to build a pipeline to sell DFW his water.
    If Pickens is backing something you can guaran- damn-tee it’s gonna line his pockets.

    You got that right.