Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy would inflict major land, wildlife, resource damage By Paul Driessen ~ Demands that the world replace fossil fuels with wind, solar, and biofuel energy …
A few articles have noted some of the serious environmental, toxic/radioactive waste, human health, and child labor issues inherent in mining rare-earth and cobalt/lithium deposits. However, we now need quantitative studies – detailed, rigorous, honest, transparent, cradle-to-grave, peer-reviewed analyses.
The back-of-the-envelope calculations that follow provide a template. I cannot vouch for any of them. But our governments need to conduct full-blown studies forthwith – before they commit us to spending tens of trillions of dollars on renewable energy schemes, mandates, and subsidies that could blanket continents with wind turbines, solar panels, biofuel crops, and battery arrays; destroy habitats and wildlife; kill jobs, impoverish families, and bankrupt economies; impair our livelihoods, living standards, and liberties; and put our lives under the control of unelected, unaccountable state, federal, and international rulers – without having a clue whether these supposed alternatives are remotely economical or sustainable.
Ethanol derived from corn grown on 40 million acres now provides the equivalent of 10% of US gasoline – and requires billions of gallons of water and enormous quantities of fertilizer and energy. What would it take to replace 100% of U.S. gasoline? To replace the entire world’s motor fuels?
Solar panels on Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base generate 15 megawatts of electricity perhaps 30% of the year from 140 acres. Arizona’s Palo Verde nuclear power plant generates 900 times more electricity, from less land, some 95% of the year. Generating Palo Verde’s output via Nellis technology would require land area ten times larger than Washington, DC – and would still provide electricity unpredictably only 30% of the time. Now run those solar numbers for the 3.5 billion megawatt-hours generated nationwide in 2016.
How much food could be grown on that 140 acres?