Some facts about the real costs of ‘renewable’ energy

The Japanese government has decided to table its planned environmental tax for this year and expects to take it up again next year.  That tax was supposed to fund the government subsidies for “renewable” energy development.  Unfortunately, the government did not likewise table the subsidies.  But that only brings us the the subject of “renewable’ energy and to our great fortune, the following article has appeared which explains why this push for “renewable” energy is little more than a new – and publicly funded – revenue stream for energy companies (oil and nuclear), all backed by the global, non-scientific, quasi-religious climate change (AGW) agenda.

The truth is the “renewable” energy industry is an inefficient polluting power hog which could not exist without taxpayer funding.

Politicians have talked about “renewable” energy for so long that no one questions what it means any longer, writes Dawn Stover at Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a publication that prides itself on “inform[ing]  the public about threats to the survival and development of humanity from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences.”  People think they know what energy sources are “renewable” — primarily the sun, the wind, and the water, although Stover includes biomass in the definition as well.  Stover points out that writers use quote marks around “clean” and “green” when discussing energy technology, but rarely around the word “renewable” — but argues that the concept of renewability deserves the same kind of skeptical treatment as “clean” or “green”:

As the US Energy Department explains it to kids: “Renewable energy comes from things that won’t run out — wind, water, sunlight, plants, and more. These are things we can reuse over and over again. … Non-renewable energy comes from things that will run out one day — oil, coal, natural gas, and uranium.

Renewable energy sounds so much more natural and believable than a perpetual-motion machine, but there’s one big problem: Unless you’re planning to live without electricity and motorized transportation, you need more than just wind, water, sunlight, and plants for energy. You need raw materials, real estate, and other things that will run out one day. You need stuff that has to be mined, drilled, transported, and bulldozed — not simply harvested or farmed. You need non-renewable resources[.]

While sunlight is renewable — for at least another four billion years — photovoltaic panels are not. Nor is desert groundwater, used in steam turbines at some solar-thermal installations. Even after being redesigned to use air-cooled condensers that will reduce its water consumption by 90 percent, California’s Blythe Solar Power Project, which will be the world’s largest when it opens in 2013, will require an estimated 600 acre-feet of groundwater annually for washing mirrors, replenishing feedwater, and cooling auxiliary equipment.

The key to understanding the scope of the requirements to convert the world to “renewable” energy comes int he following excerpt.  The landscape of the planet is going to change dramatically to accommodate these projects to the disdain of many who have fought for years to save this forest or that lizard in the name of environmentalism, all of which tends to discredit their stated goals of saving the natural planet.

But meeting the world’s total energy demands in 2030 with renewable energy alone would take an estimated 3.8 million wind turbines (each with twice the capacity of today’s largest machines), 720,000 wave devices, 5,350 geothermal plants, 900 hydroelectric plants, 490,000 tidal turbines, 1.7 billion rooftop photovoltaic systems, 40,000 solar photovoltaic plants, and 49,000 concentrated solar power systems. That’s a heckuva lot of neodymium.

This would be a good time to tell you about Japan’s latest move to make large tracts of land available for solar farms.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will ease restrictions on the use of land at factory sites in a bid to promote the construction of mega solar power plants.

As Japan faces power shortages, demand for solar power is rising.

The current regulation requires that manufacturing structures not occupy more than 50% of the land at such sites to allow space for greenery and environmental facilities.

The ministry will raise the threshold to 75%. A ministry panel approved the change on Thursday. After a public comment period, the new rule is expected to take effect as early as January.

And now we get the real crux of the problem of manufacturing the products which are being sold to the public as planet savers.  And by that we mean that we will have to destroy large parts of the planet in order to save it.

Speaking of the manufacturing challenges, Tim Carney notices an interesting NY Times report on a plan by China to defuse a potential solar-tech trade war with the US in the short run, while preparing for a longer political battle.  Just how “green” are solar panels in practice?  Not very, and not very efficient, either:

The manufacture of polysilicon requires enormous amounts of energy — so much electricity that it typically takes the first year of operation of the panel to generate as much power as was required to make the polysilicon in it. The process requires superheating large volumes of material in electric-arc furnaces, including the melting of quartzite rock at more than 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit….

China’s own polysilicon industry is controversial because it relies heavily on electricity generated by coal-fired power plants, and because weak environmental controls at Chinese polysilicon factories have resulted in toxic spills that have fouled streams and rivers.

China’s autocrats can get away with ruining the environment in the cause of “green” energy, but that doesn’t work out as well in the US:

Chinese manufacturers have studied moving solar cell factories directly to the United States but have largely rejected it in favor of other countries because it takes so long to comply with the many American regulations for opening new factories that use a lot of chemicals, according to a Chinese industry executive, who spoke on condition that neither he nor his employer be identified.

Who knows which geniuses came up with this global scheme or what their ultimate goals are.  Suffice to say, the public is largely unaware of what it takes to provide power now and how that really doesn’t change with “renewable” energy.  The agenda requires a sort of self-delusion – one the same level of not wanting to know how how certain foods are made – by the public encouraged by the government, the media, and the same industry that has brought Japan nuclear energy, the original “clean” energy.

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