Green Energy Isn’t What It’s Cracked Up To Be

Being good stewards of the earth is noble, but to prematurely prioritize the ineffective green energy at the cost of people struggling in this economy is wrong-headed.

January 15, 2024

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP

green energy

In manufacturing, you have engineers, and you have machinists. The engineers conceptualize different innovations and build blueprints. The machinists who actually have to build those ideas out are the realists who confront all the impractical blind spots the engineers missed.

User Interface and User Experience teams do something similar for web designers and coders as the machinists do for engineers.

But in nearly every profession there’s the idea team and the execution team and they work together to move forward seamlessly. Such is not the case for climate fanatics.

The green agenda has the entire brain trust of economic illiterates in high gear, dreaming up all sorts of ideas and ignoring any moral hazard. Moreover, they’ve prioritized this agenda over all else.

If you asked the average man on the street in Brooklyn, NY what that city could put $25 million toward, you might hear responses like: feed and shelter the indigent, improve the schools, or even make the subway system safer. How many do you suppose would say: “More charging stations for electric scooters”?

Even if we somehow agreed that these charging stations were important, how many folks in Brooklyn, NY do you think would say, “The need for these charging stations has risen to emergency levels”?

No one in Brooklyn is saying any of this. But someone in Washington D.C. is. These batteries are cheaply made and apparently catching on fire. The Department of Transportation received a $1.5 billion grant, for “emergencies” just like these, and $25 million of it is going to Brooklyn for charging stations for electric scooters.

People are struggling economically, and watching as millions and billions are being spent on everything and everyone else but them.

These policy makers’ and fear mongers’ focus is not so much on the costs of production, their longevity, their cost to repair or replace, nor what happens to them when they are done. No. Their focus is strictly on how clean they operate while they operate.

An electric car, as it operates, is indeed zero emissions. The electricity from solar panels and turbines indeed are not generated from coal excavated from the earth.

But if you pull back the curtain, it’s quite gross. There are several dystopian movies with these sorts of plots such as Cloud Atlas, The Island, or The Giver. The way in which the illusion of good is propped up is grotesque.

Like many political agendas, it is forced. In the case of the “green agenda”, it’s painfully premature if it’s even helpful at all toward the goal of environmental friendliness; never mind the economic tolls.

Rowan Atkinson, famously known for his stage character Mr. Bean, articulated his observable drawbacks of EVs namely the bulk of the battery, and it’s relatively short lifespan of ten years. He argues that the battery is so large and heavy, it’s an impractical solution to solving any ecological problem.

What he doesn’t discuss is the replacement cost of said battery which runs around $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the size and the model car.

Atkinson also walks up to the line but doesn’t say the quiet part out loud which is where these batteries go when they expire. They go to the same place the busted wind turbine propellers go: the landfill.

Electric cars also weigh roughly double that of their gasoline powered counterparts which means the more there are of them, the more wear and tear on the roads, making very little contribution to their upkeep. EVs don’t use gas which means they don’t pay gas taxes which is used to maintain the roads.

The waste alone is considerable. Waste that would not have existed if we simply found more efficient ways to work with what we have. CNBC calls out:

A wind turbine is recyclable, from the steel tower to the composite blades, typically 170 feet long, but most ends up being thrown away, a waste total that will reach a cumulative mass of 2.2 million metric tons by 2050.

Currently, about 90% of end-of-life or defective solar panels also end up in landfills, largely because it costs far less to dump them than to recycle them.

It’s not that the components aren’t recyclable. They are. It’s just very expensive, so in the interim, this is what the projections look like for solar panels:

Considering an average module lifetime of 30 years, 9.8 million metric tons (Mt) of PV waste are expected between 2030 and 2060. Of this, 6.6 Mt are PV modules, 2.7 Mt are BOS, 0.3 Mt are inverters, and 0.2 Mt are transformers. PV panel waste alone will grow from 1.3 Mt in 2040 to 5.5 Mt by 2050.

And here’s the projection for wind turbines.

The current U.S. fleet of wind turbines includes more than 190,000 blades that will have been in service for at least 20 years by 2040. Based on a 20-year lifetime, a total of 235,000 blades will be decommissioned by 2050. The annual rate of retirements will be between 3000 and 9000 blades for the next 5 years, increasing to between 10,000 and 20,000 until 2040

If these companies are compelled to recycle them, then rather than the $2-$3 to dump them, they will pay ten times that amount, and that cost will be passed on to the consumer.

EVs are already a losing proposition for such companies as Hertz:

The company will sell off a third of its electric fleet, totaling roughly 20,000 vehicles, and use the money it brings to purchase more gasoline-powered vehicles.  Electric vehicles have been hurting Hertz’s financials, executives have said, because, despite costing less to maintain, they have higher damage-repair costs.

The article goes on to say:

Hertz expects to take a loss of about $245 million due to depreciation on the EVs, an average of about $12,250, per vehicle the company said in an SEC filing.

The academics and politicians were so worried about the problem of waste and emissions, they didn’t stop to think if their proposed solutions could move the needle in a net positive way, rather than redistribute the problem differently.

This is what goes into building turbines and solar panels:

The construction of wind turbines requires significant amounts of steel, concrete, and rare earth metals. These materials are necessary to build the tower, nacelle, and rotor blades that make up a turbine. The extraction and processing of these materials can have considerable environmental impacts, including habitat disruption and pollution from mining activities.

On the other hand, solar panels primarily require silicon, which is abundant in the Earth’s crust. However, it’s the extraction and purification process of silicon that poses environmental challenges. This process consumes large amounts of energy and water while also generating hazardous waste. Furthermore, solar panels use rare metals like silver and indium, whose extraction also has environmental implications.

Here are the environmental impacts of the EV batteries:

The International Energy Agency (IEA) tells us that an electric vehicle requires six times the mineral inputs of a gasoline-powered vehicle. EV lithium-ion battery packs are made with materials that are expensive, and in some cases, toxic and flammable. Primary materials include lithium, nickel, cobalt, and copper. The mining of these rare materials, their manufacturing processes, and their eventual disposal all pose very real environmental challenges.

While 90 percent of average gasoline-powered vehicle batteries are recycled, only five percent of EV lithium-ion batteries are recycled. While oil is exclusively mined underground in specific areas, the components for lithium-ion batteries are obtained through open pit mining that damages wide areas of the natural environment.

There’s still the matter of information and privacy protection when it comes to the disposal and repurposing of these EVs, since it tracks how it’s used, by whom, and everything about the trips made in those cars.

There are better solutions than this. And if there aren’t, then wouldn’t we all be better served to just do what we’re doing with fossile fuels now than keep digging new holes to get out of? The idea that people are forced to pay into a system that neglects them is cruel to say the least.

I don’t know if there are countries where you can escape this nonsense entirely, but you can find places that aren’t as ridiculous about it.

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