Fossil Fuels or Pixie Dust?

Fossil Fuels - Don RoesslerDonald Roessler
Washington County, Pa. Landowner and Gas Lease Holder


We hear a lot from our anti friends about the need to stop the use of fossil fuels NOW and rely instead upon “non polluting renewable” energy sources. But, there are two major flaws to their argument.

First, there is the pollution, in China, caused by mining the rare earth minerals these so called clean energy sources need, as my friend Douglas Berkley points out, in this article, on his Tri-State Shale Traveler website. The title of the article says a lot. “Greens & Anti-Frackers…Do You Support Poisoning People?” Yes, it is true that people in China are being poisoned and land and water is being polluted by this rare earth minerals mining on a massive scale.

As Doug Berkley points out:

“I started thinking (yes, it happens) about how the greens and anti-fracking movement make their baseless claims against hydraulic fracturing, drilling and anything associated with the whole energy extraction process while in essence supporting the true poisoning of people and landscape in countries like China mining for rare earth minerals. Is it true ignorance or something worse, Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY-ism)?”

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 8.52.30 PMThe second flaw in their argument is that it takes fossil fuels and by-products to make these “renewable” energies possible.

Let’s take a look at wind turbines as an example. An Energy Collective article released in February which poses the question “Can You Make a Wind Turbine Without Fossil Fuels?”

The answer to the question is NO, as a moment’s reflection will reveal to anyone with common sense and a rudimentary knowledge of construction. Windmills don’t grow from seeds planted on windmill farms.

“Various scenarios have been put forward showing that 100% renewable energy is achievable. Some of them even claim that we can move completely away from fossil fuels in only couple of decades. A world entirely without fossils might be desirable, but is it achievable?”

“The current feasibility of 100% renewable energy is easily tested by asking a simple question. Can you build a wind turbine without fossil fuels? If the machines that will deliver 100% renewable energy cannot be made without fossil fuels, then quite obviously we cannot get 100% renewable energy.”

“What is it made of? Lots of steel, concrete and advanced plastic. Material requirements of a modern wind turbine have been reviewed by the United States Geological Survey. On average 1 MW of wind capacity requires 103 tonnes of stainless steel, 402 tonnes of concrete, 6.8 tonnes of fiberglass, 3 tonnes of copper and 20 tonnes of cast iron. The elegant blades are made of fiberglass, the skyscraper sized tower of steel, and the base of concrete.”

Fossil Fuels - Windmills from Pixie DustThat’s right, it takes lots of steel, concrete, and advanced plastics made with the help of fossil fuels to build and transport wind turbines. Not one anti-fossil fuel ideologue has been able to tell me how we build them if we ban the use of fossil fuels. This applies to all forms of renewable and non-renewable energy sources, not just wind turbines. It just simply can’t be done without using fossil fuels. Do they really believe windmills grow from wind turbine seeds? Or, do they believe renewable energy comes from a wave of a magic wand ? Maybe they believe that it comes from pixie dust.

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12 thoughts on “Fossil Fuels or Pixie Dust?

    • To agree with Donald’s comments are, at the very least, silly. I know of no “greenie” advocating for the complete abolition of fossil fuels. Instead, they promote the idea that NG should be used as a bridge fuel that gets us to enough renewable energy to run our transportation and industrial systems. Were we to replace the transportation, energy and industrial uses of fossil fuels with renewable, clean energy sources the remaining use of oil and gas would have minimal impacts on the environment. This is the true position of responsible environmentalist: not the trumped up position put forth by Donald, Tom Costell, and Tom Shepard. It is time for a rational discussion about the future extent and use of fossil fuels which are rapidly destroying our ability to survive on this planet.

      • There’s plenty of greenies advocating for complete abolition of fossil fuels. Your position is reasonable, of course, but reason doesn’t prevail in the greenie world. It’s not even respected in most quarters.

      • So pointing out that renewables can’t be built, right now, without fossil fuels and causes environmental damage isn’t rational ??

    • So do the magnets in your wave energy generation. And your wave energy generator also requires fossil fuels to build. But people like you want us to ban fossil fuel use. So how do we build your wave generator without the use of fossil fuels ??

  1. Cliff, are you really Vera? those magnets are flown in on eagles and hawks from China. Then the nasty looking windmills chop the poor raptors up.The only real good part of it all is the fool things catch fire and burn to the ground very often! Have you ever seen one on fire? The firemen have to stand way back and watch because even if they could reach them it is almost impossible to put out burning fiberglass. The nasty smoke is very dangerous even at very small amounts.

    I saw a news clip of the air in China being so bad young children and the eldery were not allowed to go outside for any reason for days. Ya see Clifford the coal they burn is real dirty. Maybe no one has told you Cifford but mercury in coal aint good for you either. Please tell us Cliff, did your mom and dad heat with coal? They say it slows a brain down in a big hurry

  2. I did simple comparison. Of the imoact of solar cell production from an energy imput to make the tihngs . I was the manager of the Planetarium on board the Queen Mary two for the first year so I used the Queen Two as a weight .PV solar cells take four years of their name plate wattage to produce the cells. The fuel in china to make those is coal.
    A mere two megawatts of solar panels producted would emit in Cabron the Steel wieght of the QM2 or 75000 tons of steel. With the steel from thrnQM2 one could have built 3000 megawatts of GE Jenbacher engines that run on Natural gas 24 7

  3. So, Donald, let me get this straight…

    Because trying to find other ways to run our society is so hard, we should forget about it and be happy to pollute the planet?

    • I heavily edited this comment to take out your vulgarity, which speaks volumes. Any more of that and I’ll block all your comments.

      • I can think of a good way to help our planet, stop buying Duncan Hines products. If they favor windmills that kill flocks of migrating birds and raptors such as eagles and hawks, stop the money at the source. Then, maybe more monarch butterflies will survive their journey south, too? Nothing beats a good old fashion boycott to help mother earth. So many of you antis spew junk science but exhibit no common sense.

    • Did you even read the article ?? What is your solution to provide energy without using fossil fuels ?? What is your solution to the environmental damage caused by these so called renewables. The REM mining pollution in China is just one example of the environmental damage being created by renewables.

      Here’s something else for you to read:

      The Dirty Little Secret About ‘Clean’ Energy
      By Jason Stverak

      “Proponents of solar panels say they’re a clean source of power with minimal environmental impact, but that couldn’t be further than the truth. The rare earth metals used to build solar panels are mined through a chemical process that releases a multitude of toxins into the environment. A concentrated mix of chemicals is pumped into ground to push out rare earth metals, heavily polluting water supplies and the air near mining sites. It’s no wonder the U.S. hasn’t pursued these resources, despite large deposits located domestically.”

      “But the pollution doesn’t stop at the mine. According to California state records, the solar panel manufacturers in that state have produced nearly 50 million pounds of toxic sludge and contaminated water over the past five years. This waste then has to be transported by truck and rail to toxic waste dumps, sometimes thousands of miles away. Disposing the waste created by one solar panel burns as much energy as that panel can generate in three months!”

      Here’s another one for you:

      Bankrupt solar panel firm took stimulus money, left a toxic mess, says report

      “A Colorado-based solar company that got hundreds of millions of dollars in federal loan guarantees before going belly-up didn’t just empty taxpayers’ wallets – it left behind a toxic mess of carcinogens, broken glass and contaminated water, according to a new report.”

      “The Abound Solar plant, which got $400 million in federal loan guarantees in 2010, when the Obama administration sought to use stimulus funds to promote green energy, filed for bankruptcy two years later. Now its Longmont, Colo., facility sits unoccupied, its 37,000 square feet littered with hazardous waste, broken glass and contaminated water. The Northern Colorado Business Report estimates it will cost up to $3.7 million to clean and repair the building so it can again be leased.”

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