I didn’t write anything yesterday because my day was taken up with two anti-Green Energy events here in Minnesota. The first was a lunch in Albert Lea, which anti-wind activists drove up to four hours to attend. The second was a cocktail hour program in a Minneapolis suburb attended by more than 250. The speakers were Isaac Orr of Center of the American Experiment and Robert Bryce, one of the country’s top energy experts. The title of the program was “The Environmental Catastrophe of Wind and Solar Power,” although the program’s content was somewhat broader than that. What follows are a few of the slides from yesterday’s presentation that illustrate the foolishness of trying to power our electric grid–let alone our whole economy!–with wind and solar energy.
Along with inherent intermittency and ridiculously high cost, one of the fundamental problems with wind turbines and solar panels is that they require an enormous quantity of minerals. This is because they are such low-density sources of energy. This chart shows the amounts of copper, nickel etc. that it would take to build enough wind turbines to meet the existing electricity demand in just one state, Minnesota. Minnesota is almost exactly average in population, so you can estimate the national numbers by multiplying by 50. And this is just the U.S., not the world, and just to meet existing electricity demand, not to “electrify everything” with electric vehicles and much else, as many on the Left demand. The red dots show the percentage of existing global production of each of those materials represented by Minnesota demand alone. Click to enlarge:
So meeting current U.S. electricity needs with wind and solar would require a 50% increase in global copper production, a tripling of global nickel production, and a 2,150% increase in global cobalt production. This would be the largest mining and manufacturing project in world history, and even if one assumes that sufficient supplies of those minerals exist somewhere, the vast increase in demand would send prices through the roof.
If we adopt electric vehicles and otherwise try to electrify our economy, these numbers skyrocket, so that, for example, global copper production would have to triple and cobalt production would have to increase by 8,200%. I will hazard a wild guess that this isn’t going to happen.
Where would all these minerals be processed? You don’t get three guesses. Click to enlarge:
Great idea! Let’s turn complete control of our economy over to the Chinese Communist Party. Which the Biden administration, with its energy policies, is trying to do. (I haven’t even mentioned the fact that 80% of the world’s solar panels are manufactured in China using coal-fired power plants and, in large part, slave labor.) This prompts once again the thought, if Joe Biden were an enemy agent, what, exactly, would he be doing differently?
Robert Bryce has written extensively about the fact that because wind and solar energy are so low-intensity–i.e., feeble–they require an enormous amount of land. In fact, to meet existing U.S. electricity with wind power (unreliably) you would have to dedicate an area twice the size of California to wind turbines. This obviously won’t happen, especially since local opposition has forced the cancellation or restriction of more than 300 wind projects in the U.S. since 2015:
You would also need 240,000 miles of interstate high-voltage transmission lines, enough to go around the world nearly ten times. Add that to the list of things that aren’t going to happen.
While the full disaster of “green” energy lies in the future, we are already seeing increased fragility of the grid:
Robert Bryce lives in Texas and experienced last winter’s blackout. Liberals have absurdly tried to spin the causes of that disaster, which came within minutes of being a system-wide failure, but the truth is obvious. Texas has invested many billions of dollars in weather-dependent wind and solar installations, and when power was needed last February wind and solar didn’t show up. It was much-maligned natural gas that carried the load, despite the fact that some gas infrastructure froze in the unaccustomed cold:
There is much more, but that is a good place to leave it. The Green New Deal and all variants of it are sheer fantasy. They won’t happen; the laws of physics guarantee that. But the damage that will be done in the meantime, in lives as well as destroyed wealth, is incalculable.