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Will green turn red? Robert Bryce shows why it should.
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• The concrete and steel requirements for windmills are 9.6 and 11.5 times as great as nuclear reactors and 32 and 139 times greater as natural gas plants. That is what makes wind so expensive.
• Gasoline has eighty times the energy density of the lithium-ion battery, the latest in battery technology. Even old newspapers have thirty times the energy density of batteries. This makes the widespread use of electric vehicles unlikely.
• In the Tesla roadster, the electric whose performance supposedly matches that of gas engines, one-third of the weight of the car is in the battery. The Tesla has a range of only 220 miles and requires four hours to recharge.
• One Kentucky coalmine produces more energy in one day than all the solar panels and windmills in the country.
• If the 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide from coal plants were captured and compressed to 1,000 pounds per square inch in order to be stored underground, its volume would match that of the world’s annual oil production.
• Capturing carbon adds a “parasitic load” to a coal plant equal to 28 percent of its output.
• Although Texas now leads the country in wind production, engineers at ERCOT, the state’s grid operator, estimate windmill electricity is available only 9 percent of the time.
• Constantly adjusting the power level of gas turbines to compensate for wind’s vagaries ends up burning more gas than if there were no windmills in the first place.
• When measured on per-output basis, wind and solar energy get 15 times as much in federal subsidies as nuclear power.
• Almost all “green” technologies, from solar panels to windmills to electric cars, are dependent on two rare elements, neodymium and praseodymium, which have unusual magnetic properties needed to amplify electric currents. China has a de facto monopoly on these rare earths. The lithium for lithium-ion batteries also comes from only three countries — Argentina, Chile, and China. By contrast, 90 different countries are producing oil and 21 produce more than a million barrels a day.
I could go on like this all day but suffice to say, Bryce has compiled a catalogue of hard facts and statistics that puncture just about every myth you will read in breathless accounts of the coming “Green Economy.”
As Bryce sums it up: “One of the greatest challenges in the making of a smart, forward-looking, no-regrets energy policy in American is the paucity of knowledgeable people in positions of power on Capitol Hill and in Washington who truly understand energy.” Or to put it more simply, nuclear has succeeded in France because “France is run by engineers. The United States is run by lawyers.”
After November, we may hope to have fewer lawyers and more engineers running our energy economy.