Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about the feasibility of achieving 100 percent green energy.
The article notes:
High on the Left’s agenda is mandating 100% “green” generation of electricity–if not 100% of energy, period. I believe Joe Biden, among others, has now come out for 100% “green” energy, meaning wind and solar. But for now, let’s stick with energy generation. Would it be feasible to get 100% of our electricity from wind and solar?
Basic problems with these energy sources include inefficiency and intermittency. Wind turbines produce energy around 40% of the time, and solar panels do much worse than that in many parts of the country. So how does a utility ensure that the lights will go on, even at night when the wind isn’t blowing?
The liberals’ favorite answer is “batteries.” Produce electricity when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, and store the energy in batteries for use when electricity is not being generated. Batteries exist, of course; we use them all the time. But where is the battery that can store the entire output of a power plant or a wind farm? That battery does not exist. Further, battery storage is ruinously expensive. The cost of storing the entire electricity needs of the U.S. for even a day would be prohibitive.
But there are also other problems in terms of the materials required.
The article notes:
But that isn’t the worst of it. Wind and solar are low-intensity energy sources. It takes many acres of wind turbines to produce, on a best-case scenario, what a single power plant can produce. And solar panels are even worse. A single 3 mw wind turbine uses 335 tons of steel, 4.7 tons of copper, 3 tons of aluminum, 2 tons of rare earth elements, and 1,200 tons (2.4 million pounds!) of concrete. If we take seriously the idea of getting all of our electricity from wind and solar, where will all of those materials come from?
The article links to another article at Center of the American Experiment that explains how much metal would required in just Minnesota to implement the Green New Deal. Please follow the links above to read both articles. They are enlightening.
The article at Power Line Blog concludes:
The Democrats’ “green” agenda does not represent a set of meaningful policy proposals. Taken seriously, and objectively evaluated, they immediately crumble. It is literally true that the Democrats could propose to harness the energy of unicorns running on treadmills, and it would make as much sense as reliance on wind, solar and batteries. “Green” energy is driven by two closely related things: 1) politics, and 2) enormous quantities of money being made by politically-connected wind and solar entrepreneurs.
We need to use energy wisely and we need to do what we can to prevent pollution. But we also need to remember that as cultures become more advanced, those advancements tend to result in cleaner air and cleaner water. Many of the rivers and lakes in America are cleaner than they were 100 years ago because of scientific advancements in sewage treatment and manufacturing. We are capable of protecting the environment and also enjoying the fruits of civilization.