…Clean Energy Facts…
Of all the mineral resources we use, e.g., lithium, silver, iron-ore, etc., producing and transporting oil and natural gas is done very efficiently while producing a minimum of environmental damage.
While there is an occasional oil spill, even a 4,000-gallon spill garners headlines. A 4,000 gallon spill actually resulted in the removal of a female commanding naval officer.
Similarly, an occasional gas leak results in an explosion, but these are rare when the thousands of miles of pipelines are considered.
But what happens if we do away with oil and natural gas, and replace them with “clean” renewables?
A recent report by the Manhattan Institute provides the very unattractive answer.
Abandoning oil and natural gas and replacing them with renewables will create an environmental debacle.
Quoting from the Manhattan Institute’s report:
“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.
The report highlights three effects:
- The added environmental damage of mining the resource, whether it be niobium or copper.
- The added environmental damage, including the emission of CO2, from transporting these minerals by ship, truck and rail.
- The added environmental damage of disposing of the waste when these renewables, such as wind, solar, and batteries wear out.
See an example, from an earlier article, Wind Turbines and Landfills
The accompanying figure compares the amount of materials used by different types of power plants. It’s obvious that natural gas combined cycle power plants use the least amount of materials.
Not shown in the figure is the amount of materials required to store electricity if wind and solar replaced NGCC power plants.
The materials required for Li-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, is the example used in their report. The same batteries are also being used for storage of electricity. Specifically, the Manhattan Institute report focuses on lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite, and copper.
The report establishes that each battery requires the digging up of more than 500,000 ponds of earth, with the corresponding environment damage.
That is, 500,000 pounds of dirt and rock per battery.
Then there are the costs and damages incurred for transporting those many tons of materials from Africa, Asia or South America, since most of the materials originate from outside the United States.
There is also the embedded energy used to mine and transport these huge amounts of materials. They conclude:
““Green machines mean mining more materials per unit of energy delivered to society.”
The new book, The Looming Energy Crisis, Are Blackouts Inevitable?, establishes that wind and solar are harmful to the electric grid, while increasing costs and reducing reliability.
The report, Mines, Minerals, and “Green” Energy: A Reality Check, provides an alternative analysis of why renewables are not clean and not sustainable.
See the video produced by Prager University. https://bit.ly/35G7stE
Together they provide a powerful reason for abandoning the rush to build wind turbines and solar installations.
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You can read the introduction and look at the Table of Contents here: