The Dark Side of Renewable Electricity

Published May 19, 2020

The “Praise the Lord” (PTL) empire that preacher Jim Bakker built with wife Tammy crumbled thirty years ago. Today, it seems like we’re being mesmerized again in the press and social media. The rhetoric is about dispensing with thousands of products from petroleum derivatives so we can save the world from human destruction by switching to industrial wind and solar generated electricity.

Everyone knows that electricity is used extensively in residential, commercial, transportation, and the military. All of which to power motors, lite the lights and make all our medications and medical equipment. Yet it’s the thousands of products that get manufactured from crude oil that are used to “make” those motors, lights, medications and electronics.

We’ve had almost 200 years to develop clones or generics to replace the products demanded by society that we get from crude oil. The social needs of our materialistic societies are most likely going to remain for the products that have become part of our daily lifestyles, and for continuous uninterruptable electricity, not just intermittent electricity from wind and solar.

Despite the preaching about these renewable saviors, it’s becoming obvious that due to their intermittency, unreliability, and their inability to replace any of the derivatives from petroleum, societies around the world may not be too thrilled about needed social changes to live on just electricity.

Electricity is one of those products that came AFTER the discovery of oil. All the mineral products and metals needed to make wind turbines and solar panels rely on worldwide mining and transportation equipment that are made with the products from fossil fuels and powered by the fuels manufactured from crude oil.

A single electric-car battery weighs about 1,000 pounds. Fabricating one requires digging up, moving and processing more 500,000 pounds of raw materials somewhere on the planet. Never discussed by the GND or Paris Accord sponsors are the questionable and non-transparent labor conditions and loose, or non-existing, environmental regulations at the mining sites around the world for the products and metals required for renewables. To meet the goals to go “green” will most likely cause a rare earth emergency as those “green” goals require a massive worldwide increase in mining for lithium, cobalt, copper, iron, aluminum, and numerous other raw materials such as.

  • A list of the sixteen components needed to build wind turbines are: Aggregates and Crushed Stone (for concrete), Bauxite (aluminum, Clay and Shale (for cement), Coal, Cobalt (magnets), Copper (wiring), Gypsum (for cement), Iron ore (steel), Limestone, Molybdenum (alloy in steel), Rare Earths (magnets; batteries), Sand and Gravel (for cement and concrete), and Zinc (galvanizing).

  • A list of the seventeen components needed to build solar panels are: Arsenic (gallium-arsenide semiconductor chips), Bauxite (aluminum), Boron Minerals, Cadmium (thin film solar cells), Coal (by-product coke is used to make steel), Copper (wiring; thin film solar cells), Gallium (solar cells), Indium (solar cells), Iron ore (steel), Molybdenum (photovoltaic cells), Lead (batteries), Phosphate rock (phosphorous), Selenium (solar cells), Silica (solar cells), Silver (solar cells), Tellurium (solar cells), and Titanium dioxide (solar panels).

  • The origins of the products for wind and solar are mined throughout the world, inclusive of more than 60 countries of Algeria, Arabia, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Congo (Kinshasa), Cuba, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, New Caledonia, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Western Sahara, and Zambia.

The signatories to the Green New Deal (GND) and Paris Accord, to sunset the fossil fuels industry for a world surviving on renewable electricity would also sunset its own renewable industry that’s supposed to be the salvation for the world, as there would be no components to build the turbines and panels!

All mining and processing activities to get the iron ore and other metals that go into turbine manufacturing, transporting the huge blade beasts to the sites, and decommissioning them, are all energy intensive activities that rely on fossil fuels and the products from crude oil and leave difficult wastes behind to dispose of during decommissioning.

The useful life of wind turbines is limited, generally from 15 to 20 years, but none of the decommissioning plans are public. Mining projects, oil production sites, and nuclear generation sites are required to provide for decommissioning and restoration details down to the last dandelion. Would governments and greenies allow a decommissioned mine, oil or nuclear site similar latitudes given to renewable sites?

We can be preached to forever about “clean electricity” messages, and bedazzle farmers with the prospects of on-going revenue from renewables. However, the extensive mining worldwide for materials for millions of wind turbines and solar panels, and the decommissioning and restoration details, and the social changes that would be necessitated for societies to live without the thousands of products from petroleum derivatives remain the dark side of the unspoken realities of renewables.

The dark side of renewable wind, solar and biofuel energy is that they are not clean, green, renewable or sustainable. They are horrifically destructive to vital ecological values that will last for generations to come.

[Originally posted at CFACT]