The Unintended, Destructive Consequences Of Renewables

Energy,Environmentalism & Animal Rights,Left-Liberalism,Technology

The Left discovers what rightist conservationists (at least this one) have known for so long. I wrote about how “Commies Cars” (electric cars) trash the environment as far back as … 2002:

Perhaps the biggest obfuscation in the gimmick-car racket—which President Bush has fallen for, if to judge from his energy plan—has to do with the source of the energy. Whether a vehicle is propelled by hydrogen-powered fuel cells or electricity, both electricity and hydrogen don’t magically materialize in the vehicle. They must first be generated. Be it coal, natural gas, nuclear or a hydroelectric dam, these cars are only as clean as the original source of energy that generated the vim that powers them.

(Commie Cars.”)

And from my: “NIMBYs: Not-In-My-Backyard Environmentalists”:

Mining for rare earth metals is not the cleanest undertaking. Hybrid hypocrites prefer by far that it be done by the poor villagers of the Baiyunkuang District of Darhan Muminggan in Inner Mongolia, northern China. There lie the largest deposits of rare earth metals. The Prius is packed with the stuff.

Liberals don’t grasp that the more expensive it is to bring a source of energy to market the greater the pollution it generates.

Now Tucker is popularizing Michael Shellenberger’s wisdom on the problems with renewables:

… solar and wind farms require huge amounts of land. That, along with the fact that solar and wind farms require long new transmissions lines, and are opposed by local communities and conservationists trying to preserve wildlife, particularly birds.

Another challenge was the intermittent nature of solar and wind energies. When the sun stops shining and the wind stops blowing, you have to quickly be able to ramp up another source of energy.

… What kills big, threatened, and endangered birds—birds that could go extinct—like hawks, eagles, owls, and condors, are wind turbines.

In fact, wind turbines are the most serious new threat to important bird species to emerge in decades. The rapidly spinning turbines act like an apex predator which big birds never evolved to deal with.

Solar farms have similarly large ecological impacts. Building a solar farm is a lot like building any other kind of farm. You have to clear the whole area of wildlife.

In order to build one of the biggest solar farms in California the developers hired biologists to pull threatened desert tortoises from their burrows, put them on the back of pickup trucks, transport them, and cage them in pens where many ended up dying. …

it gradually dawned on me that there was no amount of technological innovation that could solve the fundamental problem with renewables.

You can make solar panels cheaper and wind turbines bigger, but you can’t make the sun shine more regularly or the wind blow more reliably. I came to understand the environmental implications of the physics of energy. In order to produce significant amounts of electricity from weak energy flows, you just have spread them over enormous areas. In other words, the trouble with renewables isn’t fundamentally technical—it’s natural.

Dealing with energy sources that are inherently unreliable, and require large amounts of land, comes at a high economic cost.

Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet,” written by Michael Shellenberger.