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)?”
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.”
That’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.