Shepstone Management Company, Inc.
[Editor’s Note: It’s about the land and the species that depend on it, including our. Biodiversity demands we increase energy density to use less land.]
Far too much of the campaign against fossil fuels and for renewables such as wind and solar in the name of fighting global warming is really all about green eggs and scam. Lost in the process is all perspective on the broader environmental impacts, specifically including the loss of natural biodiversity. There can be no doubt, though, that is threatened because wind and solar are both require massive amounts of land to generate the tiniest bit of electricity and then only for limited periods. Our friend, Mark Mathis, at the Clear Energy Alliance, has produced yet another powerful video explaining it all.
Here is the video:
As you know, when Mark posts his videos YouTube, he always includes the transcripts, too. Here is the one accompanying the above video, with some emphasis added on the most relevant parts of the story:
Environmental activist groups claim they are trying to save the planet by changing how we produce and use energy. But are they really?
The activists are focused on carbon dioxide emissions which may, or may not, be a problem.
At the same time, they often ignore the environmental consequences of putting wind turbines and solar panels in ever-shrinking areas of high biodiversity.
The reality is that wind turbines and solar arrays take up enormous amounts of land, far more than conventional power plants. And the expansion of renewables is rapidly moving into biologically sensitive areas.
This expansion fractures wildlife habitat and endangers threatened species.
A new study, published in Global Change Biology, explains that growing renewable development is impacting three categories of sensitive biodiversity.
The numbers are concerning. Current and future developments are, or will be, degrading 886 protected areas, 749 key biodiversity areas and 40 wilderness areas. The study’s authors claim that the coming wave of wind, solar, and hydropower development could compromise these important regions by an astounding 60 percent. This is important because these biodiverse
regions are home to large cross-sections of threatened species. Birds and bats as well. That’s a big sacrifice for installing technologies that only provide about 2 percent of the world’s energy supply.
The spread of industrial wind and solar development into sensitive areas is currently most prevalent in Western Europe. But future expansions are moving into Southeast Asia and Africa, where biodiversity is more concentrated and valuable to the planet’s health. Additionally, these regions, as well as the Middle East, lack strong land-use planning that helps reduce impacts.
The inherent problem with all renewables is they lack energy density.
Because they must capture energy from the wind or sun, they are inefficient in turning that energy into usable electricity. Therefore, they take up a lot more land than coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. In fact, wind and solar require far more land than the study’s authors have estimated because of a flaw in the researcher’s assumptions. The study claimed that renewables require “up to ten times more land area than fossil fuel thermal facilities.”
But more detailed analysis shows the real land use difference is much larger than that. Physicist David MacKay, author of “Sustainable Energy,” estimated
wind turbines require 700 times more land to produce the same amount of energy as oil and natural gas drilling. Energy analyst Robert Bryce calculates we would need 1,300 times as much land from wind power to replace
electricity generated by only one 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects global energy consumption will grow by 50 percent in the next 30 years. Most of the growth will happen in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the key areas of biodiversity concern. How can eco-activist groups be so blind to the problem of land use that comes with wind and solar? It’s probably because the stated goal, saving the planet, isn’t the actual goal.
If activist groups were really concerned about the health of the planet, they would be greatly concerned about the loss of threatened species and the unnecessary destruction of critical biodiverse areas where these species live.
Thanks, Mark! Power on!
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