Destroying the environment to save it

Pseudo-green energy will wreak devastation, pretending to prevent exaggerated climate harm

Paul Driessen

“We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” The infamous Vietnam era quotation may or may not have been uttered by an anonymous US Army major. It may have been misquoted, revised, apocryphal or invented. But it quickly morphed into an anti-war mantra that reflected attitudes of the time.

For Virginians and others forced to travel the path of “clean, green, renewable, sustainable” energy, it will redound in modern politics as “We had to destroy the environment in order to save it.”

Weeks after Governor Ralph Northam signed Virginia’s “Clean Economy Act,” which had been rushed through a partisan Democrat legislature, Dominion Energy Virginia announced it would reach “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To do so, the utility company will raise family, business, hospital and school electricity bills by 3% every year for the next ten years – as these customers and state and local governments struggle to climb out of the financial holes created by the ongoing Coronavirus lockdown.

Just as bad, renewable energy mandates and commitments from the new law and Dominion’s “integrated resource plan” will have major adverse impacts on Virginia and world environmental values. In reality, Virginia’s new “clean” economy exists only in fantasy land – and only if we ignore “clean” energy CO2 emissions, air and water pollution, and other environmental degradation around the world.

Dominion Energy plans to expand the state’s offshore wind, onshore solar and battery storage capacity by some 24,000 megawatts of new “renewable” energy by 2035, and far more after that. It will retain just 9,700 MW of existing natural gas generation, and only through 2045, build no new gas-fired units, and retire 6,200 megawatts of coal-fired generation. This will reduce in-state carbon dioxide emissions, but certainly won’t do so globally. The company intends to keep its four existing nuclear units operating.

To “replace” some of its abundant, reliable, affordable fossil fuel electricity, Dominion intends to build at least 31,400 megawatts of expensive, unreliable solar capacity by 2045. The company estimates that will require a land area some 25% larger than 250,000-acre Fairfax County, west of Washington, DC. That means Dominion Energy’s new solar facilities will blanket 490 square miles (313,000 acres) of beautiful croplands, scenic areas and habitats that now teem with wildlife.

That’s almost half the land area of Rhode Island, eight times the District of Columbia, 14 times more land than all Fairfax County parks combined – blanketed by imported solar panels. Still more land will be torn up for access roads and new transmission lines. All this is just for Dominion Energy’s solar panels.

The panels will actually generate electricity maybe 20-25% of the year, once you factor in nighttime hours, cloudy days, and times when the sun is not bright enough to generate more than trifling electricity.

Dominion and other Virginia utility companies also plan to import and install 430 monstrous 850-foot-tall bird-chopping offshore wind turbines – and tens of thousands of half-ton battery packs, to provide backup power for at least a few hours or days when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. The batteries will prevent the economy from shutting down even more completely during each outage than it has during the Corona lockdown. Similar policies across America will impact hundreds of millions of acres.

Most of these solar panels, wind turbines and batteries – or their components, or the metals and minerals required to manufacture those components – will likely come from China or from Chinese-owned operations in Africa, Asia and Latin America … under mining, air and water pollution, workplace safety, fair wage, child labor, mined land reclamation, manufacturing and other laws and standards that would get US and other Western companies unmasked, vilified, sued, fined and shut down in a heartbeat.

It is those minimal to nonexistent laws and regulations that govern most of the companies and operations that will supply the “clean” technologies that will soon blight Virginia landscapes and serve the new “clean” Virginia economy. As Michael Moore observes in his new film, Planet of the Humans, other states that opt for “clean” energy will face the same realities.

Thus far, no one has produced even a rough estimate of how much concrete, steel, aluminum, copper, lithium, cobalt, silica, rare earth metals and countless other materials will be needed. All will require gigantic heavy equipment and prodigious amounts of fossil fuels to blast and haul away billions of tons of rocky overburden; extract, crush and process tens of millions of tons of ores, using acids, toxic chemicals and other means to refine the ores; smelt concentrates into metals; manufacture all the millions of tons of components; and haul, assemble and install the panels, turbines, batteries and transmission lines, setting them on top of tens of thousands of tons of concrete and rebar. All of it beyond Virginia’s borders.

No one has tallied the oil, natural gas and coal fuel requirements for doing all this “Virginia Clean Economy” work – nor the greenhouse gases and actual pollutants that will be emitted in the process.

Nothing about this is clean, green, renewable or sustainable. But Virginia politicians and Dominion Energy officials have said nothing about any of this, nor about which countries will host the mining and other activities, under what environmental and human rights standards.

Will Virginians ever get a full accounting? Just because all of this will happen far beyond Virginia’s borders does not mean we can ignore the global environmental impacts. Or the health, safety and well-being of children and parents in those distant mines, processing plants and factories.

This is the perfect time to observe the environmentalist creed: think globally, act locally. Will that be done?

Will Dominion and Virginia require that all these raw materials and wind, solar and battery components be responsibly sourced? Will it require independently verified certifications that none of them involve child labor, and all are produced in compliance with US and Virginia laws, regulations and ethical codes for workplace safety, fair wages, air and water pollution, wildlife preservation, cancer prevention and mined lands reclamation? Will they tally up all the fossil fuels consumed, and pollutants emitted, in the process?

Science journalist, businessman and parliamentarian Matt Ridley says wind turbines need some 200 times more raw materials per megawatt of power than modern combined-cycle gas turbines. It’s probably much the same for solar panels. Add in the millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels and billions of backup batteries that would be required under a nationwide Green New Deal, and the combined US and global environmental, human health and human rights impacts become absolutely mindboggling.

If you ignore all the land and wildlife impacts from installing the wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and transmission lines – you could perhaps call this “clean energy” and a “clean economy” within Virginia’s borders. But not beyond those borders. This is a global issue, and the world would likely be far better off if we just built modern combined-cycle gas turbines (or nuclear power plants) to generate reliable electricity – and avoided all the monumental human and ecological impacts of pseudo-renewable energy.

When it’s time to select sites for these 490 square miles of industrial solar facilities, will Virginia, its county and local governments, its citizens, environmentalist groups and courts apply the same rigorous standards, laws and regulations that they demand for drilling, fracking, coal and gas power plants, pipelines, highways, timber cutting and other projects? Will they apply the same standards for 850-foot-tall wind turbines and 100-foot-tall transmission lines as they demand for buried-out-of-sight pipelines?

Virginia’s Clean Economy Act will also plunge almost every project and jurisdiction into questions of race, poverty and environmental justice. Dominion Energy and other utility companies will have to charge means-tested rates (even as rates climb 3% per year) and exempt low-income customers from some charges. They will have to submit construction plans to “environmental justice councils” – even as the companies, councils and politicians ignore the rampant injustices inflicted on children and parents slaving away in Chinese, African and Latin American “clean energy” mines, processing plants and factories.

Government officials, utility industry executives, environmentalists and anyone else who promotes wind, solar, battery and biofuel energy need to explain exactly how they plan to address these issues. Future town hall meetings and project approval hearings promise to be raucous, entertaining and illuminating.  

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy, environment, climate and human rights issues.

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47 thoughts on “Destroying the environment to save it

  1. To solve a non-existent problem.

    Science. (Tired of seeing this? ‘splain how/why I’m wrong)

    Do you mean like this complete with an experimental demonstration in the classical tradition?

    By reflecting away 30% of the ISR the atmospheric albedo cools the earth much like that reflective panel behind a car’s windshield.

    For the greenhouse effect to perform as advertised “extra” energy must radiate upwards from the surface. Because of the non-radiative heat transfer processes of the contiguous atmospheric molecules such ideal BB upwelling “extra” energy does not exist.

    The absolute gold standard of classical science, a formal physical experimental demonstration:
    https://www.linkedin.com/posts/nicholas-schroeder-55934820_climatechange-globalwarming-carbondioxide-activity-6655639704802852864-_5jW

    There is no “extra” energy for the GHGs to “trap” and “back” radiate and no greenhouse warming.

    With no greenhouse effect what CO2 does or does not do, where it comes from or where it goes, is moot.

    Equally moot are temperatures, ice caps, glaciers, polar bears, sea levels, hurricanes, nuclear power, solar minimums, ….

    • “To solve a non-existent problem.”

      The problem they’re trying to solve is that the West won the Cold War.

      Destroy its energy production, and the West doesn’t exist any more.

      • “The problem they’re trying to solve is that the West won the Cold War.”

        The West only beat the Soviet Union. Communist China is still alive and they are winning.

        Of course, China is Communist in name only. In reality, they are a national socialist state.

        China is the 21st century version of Nazi Germany. Same goal (world domination), same methods (militaristic expansion, economic enslavement of other countries and, of course, concentration camps). The only difference is that China isn’t in any hurry.

  2. Once again rioters are burning down the wrong places. How can we get antifa and black lies matter to burn down Democrat controlled,,,, OH! Wait! That is exactly what they are doing! Never mind, all we got to do is get Shrillary to direct her Flying Monkeys to burn down more churches. THAT will set everything right.

  3. In answer to the last question in the third-to-last paragraph: Will enviros require the same standards for windmills & solar panels as for underground pipelines? The answer is, “Yes. Of course they will.”

    Windmills & solar panels can, and will be hidden underground the same as pipes. So what if there’s no wind or sunshine down there? If laws are going to require magic, they might as well go FULL magic.

    • Excerpted comment:

      The company estimates that will require a land area some 25% larger than 250,000-acre Fairfax County, west of Washington, DC. That means Dominion Energy’s new solar facilities will blanket 490 square miles (313,000 acres) of beautiful croplands, scenic areas and habitats that now teem with wildlife.

      Put a “stop” to it post haste.

      Dominion Energy officials should file “Eminent domain” legal paperwork for the entirety of Fairfax County, claiming that is the only real estate that is feasible for use.

  4. Skulduggery going on here. This will never happen. Don’t see where it is directly in the interest of Dominion Energy Virginia, unless it sees how it can manipulate rates as it remains tied up in courts for decades. None of this makes ANY kind of sense…

    • Oh, I think the 3% per year increase in electrical rates will happen, the rest, not so much.

      • If you think only 3% you are dreaming
        Remember “free” energy in Germany, or even closer to home in Ontario?

        It’s all lies

    • Hmm…I don’t think Dominion Power will have any problem finding a way to profit off this scheme (and at the expense of the residents of VA). My observation is that they’re a ready and willing participant in these schemes.

      rip

  5. The Green scam and the renewable energy scam is not just profiting the owners-investor so big wind farms, it is also profiting the utility executives who play along with the scam that is fleecing the customers who want nothing to do with the climate-green scam with higher bills via “renewable” surcharges on electric bills.

    The renewable energy surcharge on my Tucson electric power monthly bill has increased from about $5 two years ago to $7.50/month with my last bill. A 50% increase. This is so I can subsidize the costs of solar panels on homes that have them, which I don’t have. The utility companies are fine with the renewable energy scam, and the executives get their 7 figure salaries with bonuses, as they make money either way, while the cost go up to unreliable electricity.

    Tucson’s TEP is owned by UNS Energy. It’s CEO David Hutchens.
    The SEC filing for UNS Energy showed his compensation at $1.3 million for 2013.
    https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/941138/000094113814000082/def14a2014.htm#s7DB701B6F4AFBB62684655237BEDCF67

    The local Tucson newspaper reported Mr Hutchens compensation at $2.4 million in 2017.
    https://tucson.com/business/pay-for-arizona-ceos-hit-a-new-record-in-2018-see-who-made-the-most/article_9901ee5b-0bb7-5e18-ab2a-dfc04cb9f8c1.html

    But this year his corporate compensation hit $5.44 million.
    https://wallmine.com/nyse/fts/officer/1677268/david-hutchens

    Pretty nice to have a four fold increase in salary while you screw your customers in the last 7 years.

    The solar energy renewable scam is being very good to the Energy executives who play along while their customers get screwed.

  6. The only thing dumber than the claims of doom are the solutions proposed. Anyone half knowledgeable about future energy technology knows that the future belongs to small modular nuclear reactors. These generators cost a fraction of current conentional nuclear, producing electricity that is cleaner, completely reliable, able to
    load follow (eliminating need for peak load generators like gas) and producing power at 4 cents per khr, many times cheaper than renewable technologies, and requiring very small site acreage , without requiring bodies of water for cooling. These generators can be located anywhere. By 2030, they will become the standard , and can be rapidly constructed in factories and installed on sites that require very little preparation. They will prove that any of those who ignored this imminent technolgy in favor od renewables were totally inco,mpetent on all facets of the global warming issue.

    • Here are they?

      In the pipeline?

      All those coal fired power stations in many parts of the world will still be producing steady reliable electricity in 50 years time.

    • Anyone half knowledgeable about future energy technology knows that the future belongs to small modular nuclear reactors. These generators cost a fraction of current conentional nuclear,

      It is an absolute waste of one’s time and energy trying to talk “sense” ….. to senseless people.

    • There’s high hope for SMRs in the near term, but I guess I’d be surprised if they’re widely deployed. They cost more per kwh than conventional nuclear initially, and we haven’t tested whether the “modular” nature of their design will actually achieve what we hope.

      Also, as much as I’m an advocate for nuclear, I think I’d be careful with some of your statements. Many of the claims are untested, unproven, and could very well (and will probably) turn out not to be exactly accurate. (Never underestimate the capacity for the regulator to destroy the value of a good proposal.)

      Personally, I like SMRs for the short term (30 – 50 year), but am looking for the next gen reactors to be where we end up. (Think high temp gas or molten salt reactors. There are some good designs on the shelf, just need to validate some of the engineering and material science… we need INL and ORL to get to building…)

      In the meantime, our combined cycle ng turbines are super efficient, low cost, and easily deployable. There’s literally NO reason to head down the path of “renewables” other than to virtue signal one’s climate creds and/or line the pockets of a crony’s renewable company. Turns my stomach.

      rip

  7. Just like in days of Yore…..you can keep your enchanted forest as long as you legislate the purchase of firewood from only the surrounding kingdoms.

  8. In 2016 my electric utility board voted unanimously to shut down the Nuclear Power Plant and replace that power with Wind power. “This decision was based on financial interest to both the utility and its customers.” Since that date the electric rate has increased 5% each year, as they add more Wind Turbine Farms. We now get 30% of our power from wind instead of a NPP, and my electric rate is now 20% more than 4 years ago! Worse, no less than once a month I get a momentary loss of power. Usually for a few minutes, but often just for a few seconds – which is the worse type of a power loss for refrigerators and air conditioners/heat pumps. These loses also causes expensive problems on the newer Flat-Screen TV’s My first one was killed by one of these fluttering losses when only three years old! This also causes problems with the new “internet of things” (IOT) like my Ring Camera, dimmable LED lamps, Thermostat and other things connected to my WiFi router and controlled by an APP on your phones. At least I know how to get everything working again. However I pity those that have paid someone to place these new electronic gadgets in their home as they will get to pay again, and again. Bigger problem is that if you are using these IOT devices for your security system – then it is useless when power is lost after you go to bed unless YOU wake up and fix everything. How/What do you do when you are on vacation or at work though.

  9. What a sobering essay by Paul Driessen. Unfortunately this insane process is underway as we read this. Watch the election process unfold in the USA, which has world-wide implications as Trump is virtually the only world leader who applies reality to such nonsensical virtue-signaling ideas as the Green Weenie Deal. Now I really need a drink.

  10. Nothing new about this, lesser versions been around for decades, some just cosmetic.
    Experiments testing the use of waste material in estuaries as habitat for subtidal organisms
    “Although we are not advocating that rubbish simply be discarded into estuaries with the excuse that it provides habitat, removal of existing rubbish should be considered in terms of multiple changes and disturbances to the environment.” https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2006.06.018

    Clean up of some oil spills have been worse than the spill, bacteria even degrade the toxic part, as in toluene and benezene. I used to collect fish in discarded beer cans, and they are going to clean up the bay with FEMA money from Harvey damage. At the same time they are building fishing reefs, not quite equivalent though.

  11. “No one has tallied the oil, natural gas and coal fuel requirements for doing all this “Virginia Clean Economy” work – nor the greenhouse gases and actual pollutants that will be emitted in the process.”

    It indicates that their political bias has blinded them to the fact that “Green Energy” requires fossil fuels!

  12. Let’s assume for the sake of discussion that we attain net zero emissions by 2050 with around 445ppm in that year as emissions are slowed before they stop.

    How long would it take for the co2 levels to naturally decay back to 350 ppm, said to be the upper safe limit by James Hansen. Also what would be the theoretical temperature reduction of this 95ppm drop?

    Anyone got any ideas?

    Tonyb

    • When the next glacial cycle of the ice age we live in starts the atmospheric CO2 content is going way down, maybe store a lot of canned green things because it will be close to photosynthenis limit, and learn to eat mastodon meat again?

    • Nature is consuming about half of what we are emitting, so not very long at all, and we might find that nature has developed an appetite.

    • If Ed Berry is correct in his paper, the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 is largely natural and human CO2 emissions play a minor part in the increase of CO2. Therefore, any human-caused downturn due zero emissions for several decades may be negligible or too small to detect. Check Reference #47. 🙂
      Regards, Allan

      From the Abstract:
      “Human emissions through 2019 have added only 31 ppm to atmospheric CO2 while nature has added 100 ppm.”

      PREPRINT: “THE PHYSICS MODEL CARBON CYCLE FOR HUMAN CO2”
      by Edwin X Berry, Ph.D., Physics
      https://edberry.com/blog/climate/climate-physics/human-co2-has-little-effect-on-the-carbon-cycle/

      ABSTRACT
      The scientific basis for the effect of human carbon dioxide on atmospheric carbon dioxide rests upon correctly calculating the human carbon cycle. This paper uses the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) carbon-cycle data and allows IPCC’s assumption that the CO2 level in 1750 was 280 ppm. It derives a framework to calculate carbon cycles. It makes minor corrections to IPCC’s time constants for the natural carbon cycle to make IPCC’s flows consistent with its levels. It shows IPCC’s human carbon cycle contains significant, obvious errors. It uses IPCC’s time constants for natural carbon to recalculate the human carbon cycle. The human and natural time constants must be the same because nature must treat human and natural carbon the same. The results show human emissions have added a negligible one percent to the carbon in the carbon cycle while nature has added 3 percent, likely due to natural warming since the Little Ice Age. Human emissions through 2019 have added only 31 ppm to atmospheric CO2 while nature has added 100 ppm. If human emissions were stopped in 2020, then by 2100 only 8 ppm of human CO2 would remain in the atmosphere.

    • Tonyb:

      “Anyone got any ideas?”

      With respect to CO2, it could go to 100 ppm and and there would be NO decrease in temperatures. CO2 is not what has caused the warming!

      For the actual cause visit https://www.Osf.io/b2vxp/

      • it could go to 100 ppm

        And there would be no life o Earth.

        Thanks goodness for the increase in the last 100 or so years

    • Tonyb asks:

      How long would it take for the co2 levels to naturally decay back to 350 ppm

      My guess is, ……. about 17 ½ years of drastic decreasing of ocean surface water temperatures.

      Like a really big “kauluna” of an El Nino for each and every one of those years. 😊 😊

  13. We apparently have to get to the point of no return before people will wake up and see the hypocrisy and stupidity right in front of our eyes.
    I am trying hard to wake up my children so they don’t have to fight a war to get out of green serfdom.
    One thing this pandemic has shown me is that I have 0 need or desire for television any longer. I’m done with the cult of doom and their drum bangers, aka MSM.

  14. “Dominion Energy Virginia announced it would reach “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.” Our only hope is that long before 2050 comes along the fallacy of green energy will be totally exposed as a con job. It needs to happen soon because we are wasting a lot of money chasing bogus science and engineering.

  15. I had to starve in order to be full.

    I had to become filthy in order to become clean.

    I had to hate in order to love.

    Opposites that are the basis of one another reveal nothing specific about constructive principles.

    Creation depends on destruction. This duality is always a given, and it can be re-packaged in all sorts of ways. Nothing new here. What’s new is people newly realizing it for the first time and thinking that they are revealing something profound, and, for them, it is profound, but the basic principle is ancient.

  16. They did that with babies. China had one-child. The West has selective-child. #WickedSolution

  17. Starting well before and lasting longer than the Covid-19 outbreak is the outbreak of Green Climate Lunacy which is highly contagious and fatally destructive to lives. It is spread by KrazyKats.

  18. Using a compound interest calculator, I determined that raising prices by 3% every year for 10 years would result in a total increase of 35% over the period. Not a lot of people know that.

  19. Dom Energy and Gov Blackface cannot reach “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions via wind turbines. That is because a wind turbine requires more BTU’s of fossil fuel to mine, smelt, fabricate, manufacture, install, and maintain than the BTU’s of wind energy the turbine will produce in its lifetime.

    Every wind turbine costs a net loss in fossil fuel energy. More oil and gas must be used to make them than they offset in electricity.

    Less fossil fuels are necessary to produce the electricity directly than are required to build and operate wind turbines for that same amount of electricity.

    That calculation does not include the necessity of using fossil-fuel electricity generation to provide 24-7-365 power when the turbine is not turning. Every turbine must have a nat gas or coal backup power plant to provide electricity when the turbine is idle. The backup power requirement further inflates the fossil fuel costs.

    Also not included is the destruction of vast acreages which could be used to capture CO2 through photosynthesis but instead will be sterilized with herbicides to prevent undergrowth beneath the turbines.

    The “scientists” at Dom Energy and KKK University are not that stupid. They know the costs. They will not admit the truth because the fix is in. It’s all about the $$$$. Virginia’s Clean Economy Act has nothing to do with “clean” except for cleaning the wallets of the populace and crippling Virginia’s economy. The Looters are running wild in Richmond.

  20. Bravo for the wise citizens of Virginia that have elected such virtuous and visionary leaders. They should be rewarded for their dedication to the planet. They should not have to wait for their clean energy until there is enough of it for the ignorant fools that do not appreciate it. Rank the voting districts by the percent of the vote won by representatives that supported the plan. The highest percentage gets 100% clean energy, immediately. Other districts follow as soon as enough nameplate capacity is available to meet the previous year’s demand. We can hope Richmond will be close to the top of the list so some of the dedicated public servants can reap the fruits of their heroic labors while at work and at home. As for the districts that spurned the chance to prevent climate change, let them wallow in their illuminated, heated, and air conditioned squalor, while we pity and despise them.

  21. If products require some kinds of certificates to be sold – could India require a “cow protection certificate” that shows that the product was made and designed by workforce of at least 38% vegetarians? Could be easy for India to get such certificates, as they are 40% vegetarian.

  22. What if some country introduces MINIMUM CO2 emissions certificates for products (including manufacturing, design, sales, management)? Producers from net-zero countries wouldn’t be able to sell to such countries.

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