About Those ‘Green Energy’ Unicorns…

Reposted with permission from The Pipeline

You think those baby unicorns grow on trees? Better think again. “Green” energy, in fact, comes with a very high price tag. as this report from the Manhattan Institute makes clear:

Michael Walsh • 02 Aug, 2020 • 4 Min Read Hi-ho, Silver!

As policymakers have shifted focus from pandemic challenges to economic recovery, infrastructure plans are once more being actively discussed, including those relating to energy. Green energy advocates are doubling down on pressure to continue, or even increase, the use of wind, solar power, and electric cars. Left out of the discussion is any serious consideration of the broad environmental and supply-chain implications of renewable energy.

As I explored in a previous paper, “The New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking,”[1] many enthusiasts believe things that are not possible when it comes to the physics of fueling society, not least the magical belief that “clean-tech” energy can echo the velocity of the progress of digital technologies. It cannot.

This paper turns to a different reality: all energy-producing machinery must be fabricated from materials extracted from the earth. No energy system, in short, is actually “renewable,” since all machines require the continual mining and processing of millions of tons of primary materials and the disposal of hardware that inevitably wears out. Compared with hydrocarbons, green machines entail, on average, a 10-fold increase in the quantities of materials extracted and processed to produce the same amount of energy.

Here’s the paper by Mark P. Mills: “Mines, Minerals and ‘Green’ Energy: A Reality Check.”

It never seems to occur to the Reality-Based Community that in the real world one must think past “A, therefore B” to include many others letters of the alphabet as the variables pile up. In other words, if you think that by plugging your electric vehicle into a handy wall socket you’ve just put the fossil fuel and ancillary industries out of business while otherwise continuing your lifestyle and saving money to boot, think again.

As Mills points out, among the reality of “green energy” are:

  • Building wind turbines and solar panels to generate electricity, as well as batteries to fuel electric vehicles, requires, on average, more than 10 times the quantity of materials, compared with building machines using hydrocarbons to deliver the same amount of energy to society.
  • A single electric car contains more cobalt than 1,000 smartphone batteries; the blades on a single wind turbine have more plastic than 5 million smartphones; and a solar array that can power one data center uses more glass than 50 million phones.
  • Replacing hydrocarbons with green machines under current plans—never mind aspirations for far greater expansion—will vastly increase the mining of various critical minerals around the world. For example, a single electric car battery weighing 1,000 pounds requires extracting and processing some 500,000 pounds of materials. Averaged over a battery’s life, each mile of driving an electric car “consumes” five pounds of earth. Using an internal combustion engine consumes about 0.2 pounds of liquids per mile.
  • Oil, natural gas, and coal are needed to produce the concrete, steel, plastics, and purified minerals used to build green machines. The energy equivalent of 100 barrels of oil is used in the processes to fabricate a single battery that can store the equivalent of one barrel of oil.
  • By 2050, with current plans, the quantity of worn-out solar panels—much of it nonrecyclable—will constitute double the tonnage of all today’s global plastic waste, along with over 3 million tons per year of unrecyclable plastics from worn-out wind turbine blades. By 2030, more than 10 million tons per year of batteries will become garbage.

Yeah, well, surely they’ve thought this whole “green” thing, right? Sadly, no. For not only will the “green movement” be hideously expensive and result in no appreciably better ecological ends, the extraction of its necessary materials — for even unicorns must come from somewhere — will also cost more and require even more pollution than current fossil fuels do.

For example, replacing the energy output from a single 100-MW natural gas-fired turbine, itself about the size of a residential house (producing enough electricity for 75,000 homes), requires at least 20 wind turbines, each one about the size of the Washington Monument, occupying some 10 square miles of land.[4]

Building those wind machines consumes enormous quantities of conventional materials, including concrete, steel, and fiberglass, along with less common materials, including “rare earth” elements such as dysprosium. A World Bank study noted what every mining engineer knows: “[T]echnologies assumed to populate the clean energy shift … are in fact significantly more material intensive in their composition than current traditional fossil-fuel-based energy supply systems.”[5]

Nothing comes from nothing, and the rare-earth elements and other necessities to build “green energy” machines have to be extracted, just like fossil fuels, only far more expensively. “Wind farms come close to matching hydro dams in material consumption, and solar farms outstrip both,” write Mills. “In all three cases, the largest share of the tonnage is found in conventional materials like concrete, steel, and glass. Compared with a natural gas power plant, all three require at least 10 times as many total tons mined, moved, and converted into machines to deliver the same quantity of energy.”

Please click on the link at the top to read much, much more on the subject. The short version is those who harbor of prelapsarian vision of “clean and green” energy are not only fooling themselves, but are putting the rest of us at risk while indulging their neo-totalitarian fantasies of streets whose only traffic will be that of little princesses on unicorns.

Instead, as Mills concludes, the future really is going to be all of the above — minus the unicorns, of course:

Even without subsidies, mandates, and policies that favor green energy, the future for both America and the rest of the world will see many more wind and solar farms and many more electric cars. That will happen precisely because those technologies have matured enough to play significant roles. And given the magnitude of pent-up global demand for energy and energy-using machines and services—especially after the world struggles out of recession—it is a truth, not a slogan, that the world will need “all of the above” in energy supplies.

These realities, combined with the immutable reality that green machines require extraordinary quantities of energy minerals, can perhaps form a common intersection of interests that support an expansion in domestic mining. That would be, after all, of strategic and economic benefit to the United States, regardless of the debates over whether green energy is a replacement for hydrocarbons, which it is not, or a significant new and valuable energy sector, which it most assuredly is.

That Big Green won’t even hear of it tells you all you need to know about their real motives. Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints, and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace and its sequel, The Fiery Angel. His latest book, Last Stands, a study of military history from the Greeks to the present, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in December. Follow him on Twitter @dkahanerules

52 thoughts on “About Those ‘Green Energy’ Unicorns…

  1. The joy of language is that you can string all kinds of words together to say whatever and it just works. Language does not confine meaning to reality.

    Even without subsidies, mandates, and policies that favor green energy, the future for both America and the rest of the world will see many more wind and solar farms and many more electric cars. That will happen precisely because those technologies have matured enough to play significant roles. And given the magnitude of pent-up global demand for energy and energy-using machines and services—especially after the world struggles out of recession—it is a truth, not a slogan, that the world will need “all of the above” in energy supplies.

    Nothing about language keeps you from creating absolute tripe. In fact, the ancients realized that the big problem with language is that it can be used to deceive. Which part of the above paragraph is correct? IMHO, the author has deceived himself and is using his advanced linguistic skills to pass on his disease.

    • Ford F series, just by itself, still well outsells total EVs,

      … even with large subsidies on EVs and large fuel taxes on the Ford F series.

      • You have no idea how large fuel taxes can become until to come to france.

        The ford utes would attract a 20000€ showroom tax on top of the diesel tax on top of the purchase tax on top of the 20% value add tax. A basic new C Class mercedes with the most efficient motor cost over 60000€

    • I agree CB. That part you quoted is pure unicorn-level fantasy on the part of the writer.
      If the author believed what he wrote, then we’d re-opening coal mining is our desparation to create the enbergy we need for recovery.
      I think he does not understand the horse always comes before the cart in the real world analogy.
      Capacity build out follows demand growth. Not vice versa.

  2. Isn’t there a rap song “Unicorns killed my girlfriend?” Not something I would post but they can be dangerous!

  3. Thank you so much for the document. This is the right way to unveil the fragilities of the so called “green revolution” considering the present technological development, mainly the lack of a real alternative to fossil fuels. The reality is a little worst than the one described in the document. The “stress” over the demand of some elements will end up forcing politics to know the real Achilles heel of all this unicornian dream. The “electrical revolution” will be a dead end in the next years because there will be no Neodymium, Dysprosium, Terbium, Indium, or even Cobalt to face the demand. Unless we find better ways or even ways to recycle these elements, there will be no big expansion on the electrical car market. Laughably it would be possible to expand this market if there would not be so much demand for the solar and wind power market 🙂

    • Agree Chaamjamal. Excellent article about so called “Green” and “Renewable” energy delusions and scams.

  4. Charles: Is this a typo: ‘It never seems to occur to the Reality-Based Community that in the real world…’.
    Shouldn’t the words ‘Reality-Based Community’ be ‘Unicorn-Thinkers’?

  5. That is as damning an indictment of ‘green energy’ as I have read to date!
    Very useful information….. Thanks for posting this, Charles!

  6. “For example, replacing the energy output from a single 100-MW natural gas-fired turbine, itself about the size of a residential house (producing enough electricity for 75,000 homes), requires at least 20 wind turbines, each one about the size of the Washington Monument, occupying some 10 square miles of land.”

    Not even close. 5 MW turbines are really enormous; usually those sizes are used over water/off-shore. Most “big” onshore wind turbines are in the 2-3 MW range. Limited road, highway, overpass and bridge clearances to transport on-shore turbines pretty much sets how big the turbines can be. 2.5 to 3 MW big boys are typical now on-shore. Off-shore turbines can use barges and waterways and are not as size-restricted logistically speaking, so 5 MW jobs are feasible and typical there.

    And the 5 MW/turbine is name-plate capacity. Actual duty factor for a well placed wind farm is between 30%-40% of name-plate. When the wind stops blowing and can do so for weeks in seasonal patterns, it may be regional in scale so no wind farms are turning across large regional areas. Gotta have big backup at the ready.

    So 100MW of wind turbine output realistically represents 120 x 2.5 MW on-shore turbines, or 60 x 5 MW off-shore. Then add in the necessary 100 MW of fossil fuel back-up generation in stand-by for that capacity.
    Nothing is saved. Lots more resources are consumed in fact. And it’s a lot more expensive electricity.

    Renewable energy is merely part of the Green Climate Scam where the supporting investors in wind and solar make out on the tax credits and subsidies. It’s a hustle on the People as a Stupid Tax for stupidly voting for Democrats.

    • Yep, factor in the inefficiency, and the doubling up of capacity to handle no wind conditions, and it is a joke.

      • Actually it’s tripling up of capacity.
        We need enough solar to power the world for when the wind isn’t blowing.
        We need enough wind to power the world for when the sun isn’t shinging.
        We need enough fossil fuel to power then world for when neither the sun shines nor the wind blows.

  7. It requires more BTUs of fossil fuels to mine, manufacture, erect, and operate a wind turbine than the BTUs of wind energy the turbine will produce in it’s lifetime. They are a net loss of fossil fuels.

    Net loss. That’s not counting the back up fossil fuel generation plant necessary to provide 24/7/365 electricity when the wind isn’t blowing.

    The degree of stupid is off the charts. Wind energy is NOT a substitute; it’s an added burden. Pie-in-the-sky hucksters and sharps bent on phenomenal graft have putrefied the brains of the Green Weenies.

    • “It requires more BTUs of fossil fuels to mine, manufacture, erect, and operate a wind turbine than the BTUs of wind energy the turbine will produce in it’s lifetime. ”

      While I’ve seen this repeated many times, I have yet to see a single shred of evidence. If true, it comes down to numbers, it can be objectively presented. No study full of actual measurements and relationships that describes the disadvantages of solar and wind, of which quite a few have been published, even mention this possibility — to my knowledge.

    • “It requires more BTUs of fossil fuels to mine, manufacture, erect, and operate a wind turbine than the BTUs of wind energy the turbine will produce in it’s lifetime” got any citations for that?

  8. I think the main problem with “green energy” is that you on the wrong planet.
    Wind energy should work on Venus.
    And obviously, solar energy works on Mercury.
    But I don’t think biofuels work on any planet- which, I am aware of.

    And…since we are living in an Ice Age, why are some people worried about global warming?
    I don’t believe anyone is seriously worried about global warming, rather it seems like it’s some kind of obsession to do stupid things.
    Imagine we were in world where green energy actually worked, then I think there would zero interest in doing it.
    The obsession is because, it doesn’t work.

    Btw, it would be fairly easy to cool Earth.
    But no one vaguely sensible, actually wants that to occur.

  9. So let us look at some of the havoc that has been wrought by the Green crowd. In the North East of the US coal is a dirty word. In the 1950’s and 1960’s many cheap coal power plants were installed to provide for the increasing electrical demand. One of the great drawbacks was the amount of real pollution coming from the exhaust stacks and the affects of burning high sulfur coal on the northern forests. Acid rain was a real problem. After the EPA started to demand burning a cleaner type of coal and proper pollution controls on the emissions from the boiler stacks Acid rain was no longer a threat to the north eastern forests.

    These newer pollution controls and cleaner coal were not good enough in the 2000’s so a lot of these plants were converted to cleaner Natural gas to reduce the CO2 output. The greatest problem facing these still operating fossil fuel burning plants is trying to secure the gas supply on peak demand days. The Green movement has shifted targets again and is all in trying to stop needed expansions in the Natural gas pipelines. These expansions are now needed to keep up with the increased demand all of these converted power plants are putting on an already maxed out network. A number of projects to get gas into the North East from the southern gas fields has been met with legal challenges and out right cancellations by left leaning administrators. Two years ago Andrew Cuomo vetoed a Natural gas pipeline crossing of the Albany River in middle New York state siting it was an environmental hazard after it was approved by the review board. Even though the gas company was going to direction drill under the river to install this crossing and NOT disturb the river bed at all.

    Just two weeks ago a new pipeline lateral that was going to supply gas to the north part of New Jersey State and New York city to relieve a bottle neck in the existing supply network was shot down by the left leaning courts of New Jersey.

    So last winter there was a three week period during a north eastern cold snap where the power companies were been curtailed in their supply so the consumer supply would not be interrupted. Power failures and brown outs were experienced in this area during this extreme cold period. Unfortunately these lefty Green idiots stopping these critical projects were causing people to lose their home heating due to the fact that furnaces DO NOT RUN when there is no power.

    So for the unicorn loving left logic seems to be hard to come by and most of them can not see the big picture when they are screaming to stop a needed pipeline. These are the same NIMBY people that would not allow a LNG vaporization facility ANYWHERE on the eastern seaboard of the US which would have gone a long way to increase the supply of gas to existing pipelines.

    • “Acid rain was a real problem”
      Not according to the actual studies that were published by the US Acid Rain Commission once the hue and cry reached its peak. Other causes of various problem were discovered.

    • “furnaces DO NOT RUN when there is no power”

      I suppose we can all spend thousands to install a generator that will burn fossil fuel to keep the furnace going- and of course that generator is no where near as efficient as any power plant- and far more polluting, including noise pollution.

      • It is up to you whether you install a $5000 Generac emergency generator for your house or not. Your house is your biggest investment and if it freezes up due to an extended power outage caused by factors out of your control then the damage to your investment can become very expensive.

        Insurance will pay for this freeze up at least once then your premiums will go up if the power grid has been proven to be unreliable. The more these lefty Loonies push to get rid of fossil fuels the more the degradation to the reliability of the grid. I have installed a backup generator on my house because the last big ice storm that hit this area caused my district to be without power for 3 weeks. That time I had an efficient wood stove and finally found a little portable generator through a friend that worked in a western office of our company. There were none to be had in our area for weeks. He shipped that little generator to me in three days by truck freight. The downed power lines and broken transmission poles were not repaired for three weeks to restore the grid service to our area. Gasoline was a hassle to get for the first week but after that I was able to find a station with power 35 miles away. Now the latest push around here is to try and BAN wood stoves in houses. Wood stoves are the latest demon to be exorcised by the Carbon hating Green crowd.

    • Acid rain was never a problem.
      The changes that were blamed on acid rain were actually the result of reforestation that was occurring thanks to the many small farms being closed about 100 years prior.

  10. Can any reader here reference economic studies that properly compare fossil fuel with renewable, preferably on a large grid scale, as if there was a choice to build one or the other from scratch, free of constraints like subsidies, government policy preferences and treating CO2 as a cost, not a denial mechanism?
    Every study I have been able to find has important exceptions. Most of them fail to include the cost of backup for when renewables are at rest. Thanks, Geoff S

  11. That will happen precisely because those technologies have matured enough to play significant roles.

    That will happen because the idea that CO2 causes climate change has become an axiom to the media, politicians, and may other low information people. All of the information regarding materials and such in this article are willfully ignored.

  12. The way the solar and wind guys lie is absolutely maddening. Sunshine and wind are free, they say, and therefore electricity generated from them is far cheaper than natural gas or coal. That is such obvious nonsense that I won’t annoy anyone by here pointing out why, but the fact is that a lot of people are fooled by it.

    Germany, home to the a people known to be gifted engineers, sunk billions into wind turbines, only to find out after the fact that the expenses piled up. The French, notoriously hedonistic and lazy, went nuclear. So the hard, practical Germans goofed up and the wine drinking, love-in-the-afternoon French got it right. I guess cultural stereotypes really are nonsense.

  13. The reality of subsidy is a more inefficient economy: more people toiling and working without the general public getting any benefit. The proof is simple: remove subsidies and the inefficiencies vanish to insignificance. Instead of wind power being a social project harming countless acres of once lovely forest it turns into a fanatics project confined to their garage and back-yard.

    None of this green junk would’ve been made without them first scaring our politicians witless with threats of climate apocalypse.

  14. “a 10-fold increase in the quantities of materials extracted and processed” Now thats a nice round figure!

    Although I know CO2 is a benefit to the planet, and renewables a joke, when I see a nice round figure like this, I just know it is made up.

    If this were calculated it would be 6.8 times or 8.7 times, or 12.9 times on average. It would not be 10 times. Lets see his figures, this reeks of made up stats.

  15. An interesting article, but unfortunately it has some passages that really use the same “bait-and-switch” trick it accuses Big Green of using. This part is an example:
    “Replacing hydrocarbons with green machines under current plans—never mind aspirations for far greater expansion—will vastly increase the mining of various critical minerals around the world. For example, a single electric car battery weighing 1,000 pounds requires extracting and processing some 500,000 pounds of materials. Averaged over a battery’s life, each mile of driving an electric car “consumes” five pounds of earth. Using an internal combustion engine consumes about 0.2 pounds of liquids per mile.”

    I have not checked the numbers to see if they are correct, but I assume he is saying that the gross weight of materials that need to be processed in order to have a net refined outcome in the form of a battery is 500:1. It may be so. But then he should have stated the same ratio for producing an internal combustion engine, since that also requires a fair bit of mining and processing. I’m pretty sure the numbers will be favourable for the ICE, but they should be presented in the same way. BTW, to make an even better comparison he should have the numbers for the battery-power electronics-motor-setup compared to the fuel tank-electronics-ICE-setup.

    Instead, he says that an internal combustion engine consumes 0.2 pounds of something liquid per mile. The two has nothing whatsoever to do with each other. An electric motor consumes something like 0.15 kWh per kilometer, which is what you would compare to get closer to an apples-to-apples comparison.

    0.2 pounds is 0.09 kg, and one mile is 1.609 kilometers. Lets assume he is talking gasoline, and only what is consumed in combustion. 1 kg of gasoline contains 44 MJ/kg, or 12.2 kWh/kg. He is thus saying that an internal combustion engine is consuming (0.09*12.2/1.609)= 0.68 kWh per kilometer. That can be compared to the 0.15 kWh of energy consumed for a battery/electric motor setup. If you take a modern European made car with an ICE, averaging around 0,05 liters of fuel per kilometer and compare it to a similar size electric car, the numbers look better but are still in favour of the electric car by 2:1. That is an apples-to-apples comparison, with the system boundaries at the tank lid/charging point of the vehicle.

    Why is it so hard to avoid doing that same silly sales excercise? Because most people still never check what they read?

    As I said, an interesting article. But it is less interesting because of such silly things.

    • You are quite correct to point out the inefficiency of the ICE. But it’s not all about energy efficiency. It’s about all – in cost. Or opportunity cost. Or what you could have had if you had made a better investment. Like giving the people the chance to decide what to do with their money, perhaps increasing their wealth. Government subsidies are simply robbing the people for no good reason.

      • pochas94: “You are quite correct to point out the inefficiency of the ICE. But it’s not all about energy efficiency. It’s about all – in cost. ” AND “Government subsidies are simply robbing the people for no good reason.”

        Well, both yes and no.

        I’ll start with the subsidies first, where I totally agree with you. I live in Norway, and my country is Elon Musks wet dream. We have a subsidy scheme for electric vehicles you would laugh you heart out for if someone suggested it to you – but it is here, for real. It is a subsidy scheme that translates to a CO2 cost of US$2000-5000 per ton, depending on how you count. It is daylight robbery, and to no good whatsoever.

        Now, to that efficiency part. There is no arguing that when you look at what happens inside the vehicle, an EV is far more efficient than an ICE powered car. I stated earlier that an EV would use something like 0.15 kWh per kilometer, however that is a statement with the caveat that the driver is really energy conscious. That type of driver exists only in EV-world, since utilizing your energy to the utmost is of importance in that world. If you don’t, range is out the window.

        A driver in an ICE-car usually don’t think about range or energy, since he can readily re-fill his car in minutes at almost any location on Earth. So he does not really care if he goes a little fast on long-hauls, maybe do quite a few take-overs to keep the flow etc. It is, as you say, an opportunity cost for this type of driver. Do I spend more gas going faster? Yes, indeed. But it makes me feel better, and it gives me the sense of arriving earlier rather than later although in many cases we are just talking minutes. But I digress.

        The point is, a fast EV is going nowhere. An ICE will go anywhere, anytime, fast or slow.

        Next comes the efficiency. As I said, as long as you fix your stare at the vehicle, efficiency is a clear win for the EV. However, the EV must also get its energy from somewhere. And that is where the fun starts. Now, in Norway we produce a lot of hydropower. In fact, our electrical power production is about 99% renewable because of this. And what sets us even further apart from the rest of the world is that we really have electrified our society – of our total energy usage, about 67% is electric power. So we can power our electric cars with hydropower, which makes it clean all the way through. Yes, you can do the academic exercise of attributing a little CO2 to every kWh from the hydro plant, but that is hair splitting. But from any practical point of view, we have a highly efficient EV seen from the inlet to the hydro plant to the wheels driving the vehicle. You would have something like 10% lost in the turbine, 10% lost in the grid and charging process, and a further 5-10% lost inside the vehicle giving a total of 73-77% efficiency. And to boot, we get less local air pollution.

        If, however, we would be producing electricity from coal or gas, the efficiencies would be a lot lower. In this world electrical power is produced at approximately 60% efficiency. The distribution, charging and use losses are the same, but the resulting efficiency is now down to 48-51%. A modern diesel engine for a car can achieve 40-45% efficiency, which means the EV still wins but the difference is suddenly in the range where it really does not matter.

        Now, back to that 0.15 kWh per kilometer. This is as I said a figure you get when you are energy conscious. And as I also said, people driving ICEs are generally not. If you then try to compare the energy figure you get from a person in a brand new EV trying to squeeze all the juice from the battery to a person driving just any old ICE thinking about anything else, well you get these statements that “EV’s are 4-5 times more efficient than ICEs”. They are not. I own a VW Passat GTE, which is a hybrid vehicle. On battery alone I achieve 0.15 kWh/kilometer (which is 140 mpg) if I constantly watch what I am doing and don’t care about the cars piling up behind me. On gasoline, I can also achieve 0.2 l/10 kilometers (which is approximately 117 mpg ) if I drive in the same manner. It is no fun whatsoever, but I can do it.

        So the EV is more efficient, but only just. And as I also said, a fast EV is going nowhere. Some EVs, such as Teslas X have trailer hitches. Put a trailer on it and load up, and you will really be looking for those charging stations. And then, come winter,…..

        Sorry for the rant. EVs are good for local traffic and reducing local pollution. If that is the argument, I agree. But they are not “saving the world”. Not by a long shot.

        • Overall a decent post, but this, “So we can power our electric cars with hydropower, which makes it clean all the way through.”
          is a loaded term, as you fail to contribute as much beneficial CO2 to the atmosphere, and in the politically indoctrinated you label that CO2 as dirty.

          • The amount of hydro power is pretty much fixed.
            If you are using it to charge your EV’s, then you are going to have to use fossil fuel based power for everything else. Any increase in electricity consumption will result in more fossil fuels being burned.

    • I have a problem with saying “so and so many materials go into building these ‘renewable’ generators and machines”. It is true, but then a lot of materials go into building just about anything. A little disingenious.

    • Anders, you say you want to compare apples to apples. To really do that, you have to include the losses in generating and transmitting that electric power. We don’t mine electricity, we mine fossil fuels.

      When you count the entire fuel chain, the efficiency ratio reverses and the ICE comes out on top.

  16. ” Did you think the GND was about saving the planet, that’s so funny, we thought it was about changing the capitalist system and bringing everyone down to the same level”….
    Now who do you think said that?
    Don’t bother presenting facts and figures about energy to the Green zealots. They do not engage in facts or reality, they are on a mission and no amount of reasoned argument or science based facts, will deter their manic obsession. The want and intent to destroy capitalism. They believe introducing serfdom as the positive outcome, is a great idea for everyone…..except them.

  17. A single electric car contains more cobalt than 1,000 smartphone batteries; the blades on a single wind turbine have more plastic than 5 million smartphones; and a solar array that can power one data center uses more glass than 50 million phones. – article

    These mineral resources are much more finite than gas and oil. That is never taken into consideration, nor is reclaiming anything once the land has been polluted with their manufacture – SO polluted, in fact, that nothing will grow on them and the soil and water in the soil are too poisoned by the detritus of refinement that they likely won’t recover in anyone’s lifetime. These things are never taken into consideration.

    Back in the 1970s, Mother Earth News had all sorts of practical applications for individual solar and wind power production, for homes and small businesses. That made sense, because it harmed no one and the homeowners could benefit by selling excess power produced to the local utilities. There was no thought, however remote, of turning that into a commecialized money-grubbing project that would cause worse pollution than anything that ever set the Cuyahoga River on fire.

    This freak show grab for money is nothing but greed. There is a better way, but the Greenbeaners won’t use it.

  18. “Capacity build out follows demand growth.”
    The above statement is NOT (should not be) true for electric generation, transmission and distribution.

    A new house cannot be built unless the electric infrastructure and capacity of every component is available when needed. Same with commercial or industrial sitings.
    Industry will not choose a site unless all electric infrastructure is available to build and operate the facility.

    Specific site capacity must be “available” at the site and (24/7), “adequate” (to accommodate specific load), ” reliable” (not subject to sun, wind, other load demands) BEFORE customer commitments can be made.

    Additionally, State and Federal regulations prevent the siting of generation and transmission lines in a suitable timeframe for most projects, or just as deadly, unpredictable.
    There may be a few states that will expedite, but as we have seen, regulators can be highly political.
    Since regulators have become “green” activists and “zero” emissions enthusiasts, much of US manufacturing has left to more friendly / timely locations.

  19. It is fair to not that the comparison should be between the full cost of recovery of fossil fuel and building of the facilities when doing the materials and energy balance comparisons. However, the vast quantities required for “green” energy systems, the huge facility footprints, the additional storage systems required for back-up, the degradation in performance over the facility lifetime, and the huge quantities of wast materials still make it a case of belief in unicorns.

    I looked at the concrete requirements alone for a 5MW wind turbine, and the consensus was 30,000 tons of concrete. The energy required for concrete alone was about 60% of the 20 year energy production for turbine. There are many, many other materials requirements. need for a back-up (batteries or gas turbine) and then the need to replace the turbine after 20 years–if the bearings survive that long.

  20. Pyramid building Egypt went broke with stupid government subsidized programs.

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