October 31st, 2020

Wind, solar can’t drive recovery


By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on July 8, 2020.

Tom Harris and Dr. Jay Lehr

On Thursday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) is hosting its Clean Energy Transitions Summit, an online event that IEA executive director Dr. Fatih Birol calls “the most important global event on energy and climate issues of 2020.” It will bring together high-ranking representatives of the world’s largest economies as well as developing nations, accounting for 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The IEA says that “discussions will be informed by the IEA’s World Energy Outlook Sustainable Recovery report É”

Among the recommendations of this document? “Accelerate the growth of wind and solar PV [photovoltaics].”

This idea will be supported by politicians and activists across the world who, for months now, have been calling for a “green recovery” from the COVID-19-induced economic shutdown. We must return to a “new normal,” they say, one in which action on climate change is put front and centre.

That would be a serious mistake. Consider the following analogy.

Imagine you are travelling in the safest, most powerful ocean liner in the world. One day, in the midst of a severe storm, the captain announces, “To ensure your safety, we’re scuttling the ship. Man the lifeboats!”

A deck-hand explains to the incredulous passengers, “The captain believes that big vessels like ours are making storms worse. So, we must sink the ship!”

Hours later, the crew assures frightened passengers huddled in storm-tossed lifeboats, “We had to scuttle the ship or this storm, and future storms, would have been even worse!”

Sound crazy? Yes, but that is essentially what activists are saying as we work to recover from today’s economic storm. Recovery must focus not on cheap and dependable conventional power sources, they tell us, but on unreliable and costly wind and solar power. After all, climate change is a deeper problem than the virus, according to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. “Planet of the Humans,” a documentary released on April 22 by film producer Michael Moore, demonstrates the many problems with this approach. In particular, Moore reveals the extensive damage done to Earth’s bio-systems when vast regions are converted into wind and solar power plants. U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory scientist Walter Musial explained, “To have a wind farm large enough to power Long Island in New York state would take an area half the size of Long Island. Putting it offshore makes a lot of sense.” Yes, if you care nothing for the cost, environmental damage and the threat to whale populations that recent research warns about.

And that is just the start of wind and solar’s impact on the natural world. Moore shows open-pit mines gouged deep into the Earth to extract iron, aluminum, copper and other minerals needed for these plants. Hundreds of tons of cement are required to anchor the base of the 300-500-foot-high industrial wind turbines which slaughter millions of birds and bats every year. And then there are untold tons of earth and rocks blasted with thousands of pounds of dynamite to extract relatively small amounts of rare earth metals, produced mostly under terrible environmental conditions in China.

And, what is that in the background ready to take up the slack when the wind does not blow or the Sun does not shine? Fossil-fuel power plants, of course. Moore’s film shows that solar stations are really just a front for more, not less, fossil fuel plants.

We will be fortunate indeed if we are able to return to the “old normal” in which we relied on solid, dependable coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear and hydro power. Trying to recover from the coronavirus using wind and solar power makes no more sense than abandoning the safety of a robust ocean liner in the midst of a severe storm.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC). Dr. Jay Lehr is Senior Policy Advisor of ICSC.

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buckwheat

Go to the six minute mark to see how the elites justify their control;

https://youtu.be/waEc4YbQQX0

Fescue

Don’t you worry none about us folks in ‘berta, Tommy.

We’re letting open-pit coal mines lead our recovery!

Seth Anthony

Buckwheat,

Sowell made a lot of excellent points. I especially loved his stadium analogy at around 16:30. However, that interviewer was extremely annoying with his constant interruptions.

Fescue,

I agree with just about everything the author said, but with that coal comment, I did a facepalm as well.

biff

shucks, thanks tom and jay-ree for a great cartoon of an entry. when it comes to analogy, what the cat and mouse duo have presented here may be one of the very worst i have ever come across.
that aside, i need to agree that current wind projects create more problems than they solve. they need to be stopped. solar is also a disappointment, given the panels are not recyclable. so again, we find a way to create more problems.
the most immediate answer i feel we have is to alter the expectations of our entitlements: sustainability will require that we focus our energy far more on our needs, and accept that the new normal has got to be less consumption of wants and the consequent waste and destruction that accompanies our self indulgent lifestyle.
the vast majority of our energy consumption is merely to satisfy unlimited wants by an unlimited population. we can keep on this path until the planet lays waste to us fully on its terms, or, we can stop laying waste to the planet and ensure the adjustments we need to make are a little more on our terms. either way, we had best learn to make do with an awful lot less stuff.

Tom Harris

shucks, thanks bif for a great cartoon of an entry.

Socrates

The problem with renewables is that both wind and solar technologies have reached close to their physical limits on their conversion efficiency: 26% on the solar panels (Shokley Queiser limit), and 40% of wind turbines ( the Betz limit ).. There is not much improvement that these technologies can achieve.

Batteries have proven to be an unrealistic dream, which should be solved before building any more renewables. For example, the tesla gigafactory – the world’s largest -would require 1000 years of production to produce enough batteries for 2 days worth of US electricity demand. Meanwhile 50 – 100 kilograms. of materials need to be mined, transported and processed for every 1 kg. of battery produced.

Most countries including Canada, have exploited most of their hydro sites. The only technology left for backing up renewables is 100% fossil fired power generation running all the time to be available in case a cloud goes by or the wind stops..

In-spite of the realities above, we have some theoretical professors in Lethbridge, that write letters to our Prime Minister urging him to consider subsidizing more of the so called “green Power”. So thank you. Your editorial in the Leth. Hertald was well timed.

Fescue

And your solution to climate disruption caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels, o wise Socrates?

Fescue

Though there may be limits to conversion (though shokley-queiser is not one of them), it does not follow that they do not produce more energy than is invested in them. Nor does it follow that much more capacity can be installed before more fossil fuel base load is required. Nor does it follow that demand cannot be better managed.

Storage is also a red herring limit.

The only people I know who dismiss renewable energy outright tend to deny the urgency of addressing climate disruption caused by burning fossil fuels.
Where do you sit ?

Tom Harris

Thanks! The Herald is to be congratulated for allowing a view different from political correctness to be published. Too much of today’s MSM simply follow the party line with no real dissent allowed.