The dream of an all wind and sun powered future is more like a recurring nightmare: chaotically intermittent, critically dependent upon massive and endless subsidies and environmentally destructive, the idea that millions of giant industrial wind turbines and seas of solar panels will somehow benefit the planet beggars belief.
In two detailed and well-crafted videos (transcript appears below each) Jan Smelik demonstrates why the claim that we’re well on our way to an all wind and sun powered future is complete and utter nonsense.
The Impossibility of Windmills
8 September 2020
In this video I try to explain in simple terms why a 100% production of energy using windmills is impossible and unpayable in practice, despite all the positive information coming from green power advocates.
Because of the political choice to reduce the CO2 emissions of the Netherlands, so-called green technologies are currently widely used. Bio-mass this respect has been discarded because people have come to realise that this is not really green. But what about the main other intended energy sources, wind and solar energy?
I want to be brief about solar energy. The amount of space it takes is such that it can never be used on a large scale. Also with solar panels, the ground is completely filled so you can’t do anything else with it. Even trees or wind turbines shouldn’t be around because of the shade. And the fact that the sun only shines during the day is already problematic but at our latitude solar energy in the three winter months actually delivers close to nothing. If you depend on it on a large scale, you would have to be able to store power for months.
Totally unfeasible. Currently we have over 2,300 windmills in our country and at sea, but how much does it take to really replace all the energy we currently use with CO2 poor generation? We take the current energy consumption in the Netherlands in 2019 of 2,440 petajoule because we assume that this will not decrease rapidly in the future. The share of electrical energy was 379 petajoule. Convert it to the better-known kilowatt hours, this is rounded off to 106 billion kilowatt hours. Supposed to be erect wind turbines of five megawatts each. How much do we need to meet our electricity needs? Well, five megawatts, 5,000 kilowatts of power theoretically provides 5,000 times 24 hours times 365 days equals 44 million kilowatt hours on an annual basis. If we divide this by the amount of energy we need, that makes 2,420 wind turbines. When placing wind turbines, there should be some distance between them, otherwise the next turbine will be in the wind shadow of the first one.
In practise one takes five to six times the height. Turbines with this power are over 200 metres tall so the distance between them should be about one kilometre. In order to place these 2,420 wind turbines, a square surface area of about 50 by 50 kilometres is needed. But for this calculation we have used the maximum power for these turbines that are supplied from wind force five and higher, except when the wind is too strong from such a wind force eight, they are turned off for safety reasons to prevent damage and overload.
Most of the time of the year, there’s less wind and correspondingly less power. In practise wind turbines deliver about 25% of their nominal power during the year. The number of wind turbines must therefore be four times greater in order to produce sufficient power.
This brings the required number up to 9,680. This requires an area of 100 by 100 kilometres. Unfortunately, we’re not there yet because now we have enough power on average, but not at all times. If the wind isn’t blowing hard enough, we’re still out of power. For this it is necessary to temporarily store power because the quantities involved are enormous, batteries are not the solution for the time being.
According to green thinkers, hydrogen is the ideal medium for this. What you don’t want good to hear is that in the conversion process of electricity to hydrogen and back, most of it is lost in that conversion. Count for the loss of more than two thirds of this energy in the chain of converting to hydrogen compressing and storing it in tanks, and then converting it back into electricity. As a result, we need even more wind turbines to compensate for these losses. If we can use the generated power directly 25% of the time, we have to compensate for the remaining two for its loss.
This leaves about 40% so the required number of wind turbines rises to more than 24,000. Required surface area for this is just over 150 by 150 kilometres. So far, we have only looked at replacing the amount of electricity needed. However, a lot of other energy is used as well, gas to heat houses, oil to make petrol and diesel for transport, et cetera, et cetera. All these forms of energy together account for as much as 84% of our total energy consumption. If we want to generate all this CO2-less, we need more than six times as many wind turbines. This brings us to the astronomical number of 157,000 and that takes up an area of 400 by 400 kilometres.
You can see that even in the Dutch part of North Sea, there is no sufficient amount of space for this, not to mention the space required by the many factories that have to convert electricity into hydrogen, the enormous storage field full of tanks, not to mention the astronomical costs of these 157,000 wind turbines.
Roughly speaking, the five megawatt wind turbines we used in this calculation cost around 5 million euros, including land use and installation. All in all, this would require an investment of almost 800 billion euros without the facilities to produce and store hydrogen and the power plants to later turn it into electricity again, and still without the electricity grid, which would have to be greatly increased in order to bring all this electricity to the users. To illustrate, one junction at sea with the underground cable to bring the power to shore cost 7 billion euros. So there are still several hundreds of billions more to come.
To add to the misery, the life span of wind turbines is 20 years at sea due to the stronger wind and salt. In more favourable conditions on land, up to 30 years. So all the wind turbines we have now, which we will have in place by 2030 will have to be replaced by 2050. So all these costs will keep repeating themselves in a relatively short period of time. And I probably don’t have to explain what this would mean for the nature in our country.
Estimates vary, but it is clear that each windmill grinds up several dozen birds a year. So that’s going to run into the millions each year. And in Germany with only 30,000 windmills at present, it is estimated that more than 100,000 bats are killed each year. And on top of that, the environmental disaster that is taking place in countries like China and Congo during the extraction and refining of the necessary, rare, raw materials.
This is well-known in environmental circles and in politics. But of course these people prefer not to talk about it. So they tried to sell you fairytales in the Hague and Brussels. Apart from the fact that the so-called green solution is priceless, our country would have become completely uninhabitable.
The entire country plus a large part of the North Sea would be full of wind turbines and solar panels. Six times as many high voltage power lines as we already have, large hydrogen production plants, huge fields of hydrogen tanks for weeks of energy storage and still dozens of power plants to convert this hydrogen back into electricity – unpayable and unfeasible.
Climate or Environment?
21 September 2020
The black side of so-called green energy is somewhat underexposed. In this video, I try to shed some light on that dark side.
Many measures taken to save the climate are often at expensive of the environment. The advantages of green techniques are usually widely measured and often exaggerated. Here I want to talk about the mostly underexposed drawbacks of green energy. Biomass is already under fire now that it has become publicly clear that forests are being felled on a large scale for it. If this is done in Brazil to free up land for agriculture, all kinds of green organisations are on their hind legs. Now that forests are being cut down for energy generation it has been quiet for some time.
World energy consumption is currently about 13.5 billion tonnes of oil equivalent, or 567 times 10^18 joules. According to the FAO, there are about 500 billion tonnes of woods in the form of trees worldwide, with a thermal value of 19 megajoules per kilogram, that gives 9.5000 times 10^18 joule of energy.
If you divide one of the other, you will see that within 17 years, you’ve already burned all the trees in the world to meet this energy need not really feasible. Of course, real bio waste can be used on a small scale to generate heat, but therefore it can never become a substantial part of our energy supply.
Another form of biomass is growing plants that can, for example, produce oil or alcohol. In itself, this works fine, but the downside is that this land could not be used to grow food, or it is at the expensive of our scarce nature. The worst example of this are the endless oil palm plantations for rich huge areas of tropical jungle have been destroyed. The disadvantages of bio-diesel clearly outweighs the advantages and now green organisations are telling you not even to buy food products that contain palm oil.
There are several drawbacks to solar energy. Is the land around the wind turbine still usable for agriculture? With a field full of solar panels you can’t do much more. Precious agricultural land or nature thus becomes worthless. Land that we desperately need for more useful things. Solar panels should only be allowed on roofs. In terms of the environment, there are still two major problems with PV panels. Production requires large quantities of rare earths that are currently produced in a very environmentally polluting way. In for example, Congo.
Inhumane working conditions and child labour also occur on a large scale. Western countries have minimised the excavation of their own raw materials with the result that we in our clean Western world can enjoy the proceeds of an environmental destruction in other countries. Not very green. And the same substances that end up in the solar cells cause problems at the end of their lifespan.
Due to the construction of a solar panel, the various elements are difficult to separate, and the practise is currently that they are shredded. The glass and metal are recycled, and the remnants dumped. In this way, the toxic, harmful substances end up in the environment. Because the substances are literally baked in solar cells, recycling is many times more expensive than the value of the raw materials themselves. Economically unprofitable, and therefore often unfeasible in practise.
The only solution would be to impose this on the manufacturer or owner at the end of the lifespan. Wind turbines have completely different problems. In the first place, sulphur hexafluoride is used in their electronics. This is used for insulation, but it is a very strong greenhouse gas and worldwide many thousands of kilos leak into the atmosphere every year.
A bigger environmental problem is the massive slaughter of insects, bats and birds. German studies point to the wind turbines as a major contributor to the decline of the insect population. The smell of large quantities of dead insects on the turbine blades attracts bats and birds that thus have an even greater chance of being hit by the blades.
In Germany, with only 30,000 windmills at present, it is estimated that over 100,000 bats are killed every year. Bats are able to avoid these blades with their radar, but because of the under pressure behind the rotor blades, their lungs are almost literally pulled out of their bodies. A horrible death.
Exactly how many birds are killed is difficult to determine. Estimates vary widely, but it is clear that each windmill chops up several dozen birds per year, that will therefore run into the many millions each year. A large wind farm was put into operation in the Irish Sea in 2017. And since then the bird population has fallen by tens of percent. And this decline continues year after year.
Furthermore, the generators of wind turbines contain large amounts of rare earths for, among other things, the strong magnets. Their extraction and refining in China causes enormous environmental pollution. The constructions of wind turbines requires large amounts of material, mainly steel and concrete. In themselves, these materials are not harmful, and they’re also used in the construction of power plants. The difference, however, lies in its quantities. In order to produce the same amount of energy with wind turbines, more than 10 times as much raw material is needed. Considering the relatively short lifespan of 20 to 30 years compared to the conventional power plant, which easily lasts 40 to 50 years, they also need to be replaced much sooner.
The steel of course is easy to recycle, but the huge reinforced concrete pedestals in the ground are almost impossible to remove. Nevertheless, a solution will have to be found.
We cannot leave hundreds of thousand of concrete blocks in the ground in a centuries time, just like the enormous numbers of blades that will be discarded within two to three decades. Numbers will soon run into the many tens of thousands. And the blades are made of fibreglass reinforced epoxy and are very difficult to recycle. In America, they are now often simply buried. Furthermore, in the immediate vicinity of windmills, all trees are often cut down to provide free wind. Ever heard of protest of nature conservation about this? Because good places for wind can often be found on hills. Large roads are regularly constructed to make transport there possible. In turn for this, a lot of nature is damaged.
Another underexposed problem is subsonic infrasound. These are inaudible very low frequency vibrations that can propagate through the ground and make homes unlivable. But at sea, it also disrupts life there. Dolphins and whales that work with sonar themselves suffer a lot from it. And underwater these frequencies propagate much further and disturb the fish stock.
All in all, green energy is not that green at all and we need to think carefully before we roll out these techniques on an even larger scale. After all, the damage will continue for decades.
You can already see that because of the damage to our immediate environment there is increasing resistance to the installation of green energy generators. So if we find it necessary to save the climate, we will have to do this in such a way that leaves nature intact. Otherwise, we’ll throw the baby out with the bath water.
via STOP THESE THINGS
October 11, 2020 at 01:31AM