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Climate Cult Consequences - Part II, Solar, Wind, and Bugs
Are their cures worse than the disease? Part II of a series commemorating another failed climate cult "prediction" - the end of the world.
Part I, admittedly written nearly seven weeks ago, can be found here. This is a little long for an email, but you can connect to my Substack site to finish the last couple of paragraphs.
Growing up in rural Oklahoma, an early memory was stumbling across an old windmill on a cattle farm. Ranchers throughout the Midwest and elsewhere have used windpower on cattle farms for decades to pump groundwater to quench thirsty cattle.
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Farmers probably chuckled when the late energy mogul, T. Boone Pickens, best known these days for having his alma mater’s football stadium named after him, proposed a series of wind farms up and down the lower Great Plains. You may remember the “Pickens Plan.” Pickens, who made his ample fortune in oil and gas, became a pronounced investor in renewable energy (and Oklahoma State University college football) late in life. Pickens died at age 91 on September 11, 2019.
We’ll let the website, Energycentral.com, tell the story via this post from 2010.
In his plan, Pickens stated that America was home to the best wind corridor of any country in the world. In a promotional video, he explains, “For land size, compared to everybody else, we’re the best. We’re not using it. We have not used it.”
Pickens advocated that the development of this energy source would not only help solve America’s energy issues, but it would also stimulate the economy by creating jobs and revitalizing rural towns. To this end, he laid out plans to build a 4,000 megawatt wind farm — the world’s largest — in Pampa, Texas, and spent US$80 million promoting the Pickens Plan.
However, since the very beginning his wind plans have fizzled. From the outset, construction of the wind farm was hampered by a lack of transmission lines to transfer the energy to city centers. Even though the location of Pampa, Texas was no longer a possibility, Pickens was still on the hook construct a wind farm as he had already placed the order for 687 wind turbines. Last year, he reaffirmed his intention to build 4,000 megawatts of wind power.
Since then, speculation has run rampant that he had lost his fervor for wind power. Now, that speculation can be put to rest, as Pickens Plan is being revamped to focus exclusively on one resource, natural gas.
Oops. Picken’s early faith in wind power has produced similar results to his investment in Oklahoma State football. And many blades from those 687 or so wind turbines are likely found in landfills across the United States. Remember that solar fields and windmill farms take 300-400 percent more land than a nuclear or natural gas facility.
Relying solely on renewable energy won’t save the planet and might hasten its destruction.
To be sure, wind power’s contribution to America’s energy supply is increasing. Speaking of Oklahoma (“where the wind comes sweeping down the plain”), wind power now provides about 30 percent of the Sooner State’s electricity, as it does in Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa. It provides 10 percent or more power in 16 states, including Texas. The USA trails only China in wind power generating capacity, totaling 122,000 gigawatts of capacity as of the end of the Trump Administration, both off-shore and on. Some think wind power could provide 25 percent of our power in a few decades. China has about three times more generating capacity from wind.
The question is, how reliable is it? And what are the consequences? Are Americans really on board with this? The evidence suggests that Americans and Europeans have limits, especially with off-shore development. From the Wall Street Journal:
The wind business, viewed by governments as key to meeting climate targets and boosting electricity supplies, is facing a dangerous market squall.
After months of warnings about rising prices and logistical hiccups, developers and would-be buyers of wind power are scrapping contracts, putting off projects and postponing investment decisions. The setbacks are piling up for both onshore and offshore projects, but the latter’s problems are more acute.
In recent weeks, at least 10 offshore projects totaling around $33 billion in planned spending have been delayed or otherwise hit the doldrums across the U.S. and Europe.
As for reliability, especially in frigid or challenging weather conditions, let’s ask our friends in Texas who, in 2021, experienced not one but three severe cold weather events that caused energy shortages. Some quickly blamed a breakdown in wind energy, which now supplies nearly a quarter of the energy in the Lone Star State, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. The wind is fine, but you need an “all of the above” strategy that includes nuclear, natural gas (fossil fuels!), and maybe even coal. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said as much.
Someone forget to tell Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. They’re on board a very rickety ship for a carbon-free America (all renewable energy and no nuclear in their plan) by 2050, with the power sector going first by 2035. We might ask California, which is showing us the way to that future, how it’s working out for them (hint: not well).
Here’s a reminder of what gets made from petroleum (hint: fossil fuel) products. You better start stocking up on shampoo and deodorant.
As for offshore wind, there’s plenty of pushback, even in deep blue places like New Jersey. My friend and South Jersey lawyer Seth Goldman, through his website, Libertyandprosperity.org, (disclosure: I financially support the organization), is helping lead an effort to stop the installation of a massive wind energy farm off New Jersey’s shore. Bottom line - wind power is unreliable, unsafe for wildlife (so much for the old mantra, “Save the Whales”), and ugly. Backup or reliable alternative energy is essential, which means wind power complements, but cannot replace, reliable energy sources - like nuclear and natural gas.
And without massive government subsidies and tax incentives, it doesn’t get built because it doesn’t make economic sense.
But that hasn’t stopped 16 million trees from being cut down in very “progressive” Scotland, felled for a wind farm. So much for the term “tree huggers.” Now they’re hugging wind turbines that kill thousands of birds. I’m sure the neighbors won’t mind their change of scenery.
Offshore wind farms are not an answer.
And then there’s solar.
California quickly embraced solar power around 2006, and those early panels are reaching the end of their life cycles. What happens to them? Let’s consult the latimes.com:
Many are already winding up in landfills, where in some cases, they could potentially contaminate groundwater with toxic heavy metals such as lead, selenium and cadmium.
Sam Vanderhoof, a solar industry expert and chief executive of Recycle PV Solar, says that only 1 in 10 panels are actually recycled, according to estimates drawn from International Renewable Energy Agency data on decommissioned panels and from industry leaders.
The looming challenge over how to handle truckloads of waste, some of it contaminated, illustrates how cutting-edge environmental policy can create unforeseen problems down the road.
“The industry is supposed to be green,” Vanderhoof said. “But in reality, it’s all about the money.”
The United Kingdom has its own experiences with solar panels. This story from thisismoney.co.uk and their graphic speaks volumes.
At the moment, the number of dead solar panels is only a small scale.
But the first generation of solar panels is forecast to die within the next five or ten years and according to Professor Chris Sansom at the University of Derby, by 2050 we could have 300 million tonnes of scrap panels globally.
For comparison, the world currently produces a similar amount of plastic waste each year.
Currently, almost all PV panel waste goes into landfill and only very small numbers are recycled by labour-intensive and expensive means as they must be taken apart by hand, the professor added.
Speaking to the MailOnline, he clarified: 'Well, I think I think it's probably true to say that scrap panels at the moment do end up in landfill but there hasn't been that many of them to be honest.
Yes, efforts are underway to recycle solar panels. But they are nascent, expensive, and way behind the demand curve. Meanwhile, most of our solar panels come from China (although one US company has its hand out to the Biden Administration for mega subsidies), and taxpayer-subsidized federal programs are paying for them. And solar panels are three times more carbon-intensive than the vaunted Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a subsidiary of the United Nations, says it is. Just more evidence that you should not trust anything that any agency of the United Nations (or any other governmental entity) tells you.
Why is it that every time the federal government gets involved in matters like this, they distort the market with all kinds of consequences that smarter people could have foreseen?
The environmental crowd’s response to all this reality exceeds hysteria, although there’s little evidence that they are changing their lifestyles to confront the climate “crisis.” And their hysteria over things such as the recent Canadian wildfires and even the horribly tragic fires on the Island of Maui in Hawaii have fallen flat when confronted by facts and history.
Yes, the weather seems warmer this summer, although the record for the hottest day was set in Death Valley, California, in . . . wait for it. . . 1913 (134 degrees Farenheit), although climate cultists and their useful idiots dispute it given how temperatures are recorded now versus then (and debunk their methods in the process). But have you read much about the underwater Hunga Tonga volcanic eruption in the media, which in January 2021 pumped 50 million tons of water vapor into the atmosphere? I wonder why not? Planetary warming effects are anticipated to last for about seven years. Water vapor is a bigger greenhouse “gas” than CO2. Regulate that, Biden Administration. It’s going to take one very big cork.
Screaming “climate crisis” on every hot day or tragic wildfire doesn’t work anymore, at least with rational people. The hysteria has grown to include the end of summer vacations to reducing the use of ice cubes in your beverages. The Biden Administration’s envirokooks have gone hog wild after all your appliances, from gas stoves to ceiling fans, making them much more expensive. Experts are breaking away from the climate cult to challenge climate regulations.
The promises of the federal money spigot aren’t proving enough to silence real scientists, including climatologist Dr. Judith Curry. But the climate cult still has its useful idiots in the legacy media, like Melina Walling from Associated Press.
Let me end on a positive note. Nuclear is making a comeback. The first nuclear power plant in seven years will soon come online in Waynesboro, Georgia, eventually powering up to 500,000 homes. Worried about nuclear waste? It pales in comparison to toxic solar panels and wind turbine blade waste. Thoughtful and innovative governors like Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin want to populate southwest Virginia's impoverished former coal regions with modular nuclear production.
Youngkin isn’t alone. Most Americans agree with the promise of nuclear energy. Former progressive environmental activist Michael Schellenberger has spoken and written extensively about it.
There is hope, but you will need to push back. Otherwise, that order of Omaha Steaks may be replaced by Louisiana crickets (your pets seem to enjoy them) as you sit in your rented hovel, where you will own nothing and be happy. That’s the climate cult’s agenda, with them in charge of your life. Just exactly who will own and ultimately control my stuff? Shut up and do what you’re told!
I’m sure the framers of our Constitution would be fine with all this (sound of muskets loading).
Recommended reading: The Global Warming Scam: The Lie, Capital Research Center.
Recommended reading: The Grip of Culture: The Social Psychology of Climate Catastrophism, by Andy West
Recommended reading: Should We Celebrate Carbon Dioxide? By Dr. Patrick Moore, founder of Greenpeace.
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