Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Dark Side of Solar Energy

I promise, this will brighten up your day. It will shed a ray of sunshine into the gloomy corner of your world.

We all know that the holier-than-thou chorus is prostrate before solar panels. Renewable energy is clean energy. Fossil fuels pollute. What a horror. What a gross violation of the pristine beauty of Mother Nature. 

Now they tell us, in the What’s Up With That blog (via Maggie’s Farm) that all those solar panels pose a potential threat to the environment. Disposing them will not be a lark. The batteries that are needed to store the energy are anything but environmentally friendly. Backup power generation, as the ever so virtuous Germans discovered, will usually be provided by coal furnaces.

But, you will say, natural gas burns cleanly. Why not use natural gas? Well, we are informed, sunlight is cheaper than natural gas. This is not true, and it does not count the government subsidies for renewables, but, let’s ignore that for now.

The WUWT blog explains:

So when you read that solar energy is already cheaper than natural gas, don’t be fooled. They are omitting the pollution and disposal costs, as well as habitat losses, solar heat islands, and the need for backup power generation or batteries – to lowball the true costs of intermittent, season, latitude and weather-dependent solar. We need some honest math now, before it’s too late to turn back.

You can feel consoled by the thought that our competitors in the Far East are happily building coal and nuclear plants-- because they would rather not have rolling blackouts.

Anyway, the problem now is solar panel waste:

The problem of solar panel waste is now becoming evident. As environmental journalist Emily Folk admits in Renewable Energy Magazine, “when talking about renewable energy, the topic of waste does not often appear.” She attributes this to the supposed “pressures of climate change” and alleged “urgency to find alternative energy sources,” saying people may thus be hesitant to discuss “possible negative impacts of renewable energy.”

Ms. Folk admits that sustainability requires proper e-waste management. Yet she laments, “Solar presents a particular problem. There is growing evidence that broken panels release toxic pollutants … [and] increasing concern regarding what happens with these materials when they are no longer viable, especially since they are difficult to recycle.”

Toxic pollutants… difficult to recycle-- who could have imagined such a thing. In truth, no one imagined such a thing. So, no one made any effort to figure out how to manage the problem:

The near-total absence of end-of-life procedures for solar panels is likely a byproduct of the belief (and repeated, unsupported assertion) that renewable energy is “clean” and “green.” Indeed, Mississippi Sierra Club state director Louie Miller recently claimed that unlike fossil fuels and nuclear energy, “Sunshine is a free fuel.” Well, sunshine is certainly free and clean. However, there is a monumental caveat.

Nothing quite like “free” to set the socialist heart atwitter. 

Still, no one has noticed the waste disposal problem:

No government grants require that solar companies set aside money to dispose of, store or recycle wastes generated during manufacturing or after massive solar “farms” have ceased functioning and been torn down. Solar (and wind) customers are likewise not charged for waste cleanup, disposal, or reuse and recycling. This and the massive subsidies distort and hide the true costs of solar power.

Guess who is going to pay for waste disposal? You guessed it: You!

But reality is starting to catch up. Disposal (or recycling) costs will have to be paid, ultimately by consumers. The more solar panels we have (likely billions within a few years), the higher those costs will be. Consumers in states like California that have committed to heavy reliance on solar (and wind) energy (and already have the nation’s highest energy bills) will have to pay even more.

And then, there is this problem. Solar farms eat up crop land. This causes there to be less crop land. And fewer crops. And even less habit for wildlife.

We are not even talking about the amount of land that wind farms eat up. Or the amount noise pollution that they generate, while they are murdering millions of innocent birds. Where's your empathy, pal. Don't you feel for all the of the dead birds?

California is also facing a secondary problem from the proliferation of subsidized industrial solar installations. A 2015 study by Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for Science found that nearly a third of the state’s solar development is occurring on former cropland, where many farmers are shifting from growing crops to using their land to generate electricity – rather than letting it become wildlife habitat. As Big Solar also moves into natural areas, California is losing even more habitat and scenic land, while the integrity of state and national parks suffers from the nearby glare of countless solar panels and towering transmission lines to distant cities.

The best part, the part that will surely make you smile, is that solar power plants produce-- global warming. How about that?

Other research has found that these large-scale solar power plants raise local temperatures, creating a significant solar heat island effect. Temperatures around one solar power plant were 5.4o-7.2 °F (3o-4°C) warmer than nearby wildlands. Imagine such manmade “global warming” across 20 million acres (South Carolina) or 160 million acres (Texas), to meet California or U.S. greenhouse gas reduction goals!

I told you this would make you smile.


urbane legend said...

Guess who is going to pay for waste disposal? You guessed it: You!
All costs are paid, eventually, by consumers. Or, as someone more famous than yours truly
said, " There's no such thing as a free lunch. "

When I point out the long and short term failures of progressivism, I ask people, " How many times do you have to hit your finger with a hammer to know it hurts? " Climate change answers are hit yourself in the head.

Sam L. said...

There's a dark side to everything.

Sam L. said...

And there is NO SOLAR energy when the sun in gone.