Thursday, September 03, 2020

President Trump's Entertaining New Take on the Green New Deal

Remember AOC's Green New Deal? The one that would require every single building in the U.S. to be retrofitted? The one that banned air travel? The one that demanded net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years. The one that singled out "emissions from cows"? At the time Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) released the plan, even some of her fellow Democrats were confused by it.

“I read it and I reread it and I asked Ed Markey, what in the heck is this?” Durbin told the "Morning Joe" anchors last year.

All the material was already there for President Trump during his wide ranging interview with Laura Ingraham Monday night. He really needed no punchline.

"The Green New Deal, which is done by a child," Trump noted. "That's the mind of a child. Because the Green New Deal is ridiculous. It doesn't work." Not only does it not work, he added, but it's going to cost $100 trillion.

Or, as Trump put it, "Let's rip down a building and build a new one w/no windows."

Try not to laugh.

Even the Democrats seem to secretly know it's a joke. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered to bring it up for a vote last year, but they declined.


Green Energy Isn't So Green

The often toxic waste produced by solar panels and wind turbines is piling up.

When you hear the term “green energy,” what’s the first word that pops into your head? Okay, the first word besides “fake,” “faux,” “false,” “fraud,” “fable,” or “fascism,” which are way too obvious. And besides “hockey stick hoax” or “polar bear hoax,” which aren’t single words. And besides “Goregasm” or “Solyndra,” which are made-up words.

If “dirty” doesn’t come to mind, it should. Because there’s an ever-growing landfill of evidence that the so-called Green Revolution is also an extraordinarily toxic and wasteful one.

Columnist Michael Shellenberger called our attention to green energy’s dirty little secret in 2018 when he asked a simple question: “If solar panels are so clean, why do they produce so much toxic waste?”

Shellenberger cited a 2016 International Renewable Energy Agency estimate that there were approximately 275,000 tons of solar panel waste worldwide at that time — a figure the agency says could reach more than 85 million tons by 2050. He also cited research scientists at the German Stuttgart Institute for Photovoltaics who wrote, “Contrary to previous assumptions, pollutants such as lead or carcinogenic cadmium can be almost completely washed out of the fragments of solar modules over a period of several months, for example by rainwater.”

Clearly, then, crushing these millions of spent solar panels and dumping them into landfills isn’t the answer. But what about — wait for it — recycling them? Well, as Shellenberger notes, the toxic chemicals within the panels can’t be removed without breaking apart the entire module. And, as San Jose State environmental studies professor Dustin Mulvaney notes, “Approximately 90% of most [photovoltaic] modules are made up of glass. However, this glass often cannot be recycled as float glass due to impurities” such as plastics, lead, cadmium, and antimony.

Besides, writes Shellenberger, “Recycling costs more than the economic value of the materials recovered, which is why most solar panels end up in landfills.” So we can scratch the recycling idea, too — except maybe in California, where fiscal realities have never once stopped an economically ruinous environmental policy from being enacted.

What’s that, you say? All this isn’t nearly as bad as nuclear waste? Uh, wrong. As the folks at Environmental Progress tell us, “Solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy than do nuclear power plants.” Then there’s the Chinese recycling official who says the solar panel disposal issue “will explode with full force in two or three decades and wreck the environment.”

So we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.

As for those gigantic wind turbines, they don’t introduce all the toxins that spent solar panels do, but these view-wrecking, bird-killing Cuisinarts in the sky have their own disposal problems just the same.

Even NPR has come clean. “While most of a turbine can be recycled or find a second life on another wind farm,” writes Christina Stella, “researchers estimate the U.S. will have more than 720,000 tons of blade material to dispose of over the next 20 years, a figure that doesn’t include newer, taller higher-capacity versions.”

“There aren’t many options to recycle or trash turbine blades,” Stella continues, “and what options do exist are expensive, partly because the U.S. wind industry is so young. It’s a waste problem that runs counter to what the industry is held up to be: a perfect solution for environmentalists looking to combat climate change, an attractive investment for companies such as Budweiser and Hormel Foods, and a job creator across the Midwest and Great Plains.”

Worn-out windmill blades are typically 100 to 300 feet long, are made of a durable but otherwise useless combination of resin and fiberglass, have to be cut up before being hauled away on specialized vehicles, can’t be crushed by most landfill machines, and take up an enormous amount of space that might otherwise be taken up by toxic solar panels.

Suffice it to say that we’re long overdue for an intervention between the Left and its unhealthy obsession with “green” energy.


Fact Check: Did Joe Biden Say He'd Ban Fracking or Not?

On Monday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden slammed Donald Trump for insisting that the Biden campaign wanted to "ban fracking" should they win their bid for the White House. The fossil fuel industry accounts for millions of American jobs, including a large number in Alleghany county, where Biden spoke from Pittsburgh on Monday.

"I am not banning fracking. Let me say that again: I am not banning fracking. No matter how many times Donald Trump lies about me," Biden said in response to the president and fossil fuel workers concerned with Biden's praise of the Green New Deal. However, his proclamation doesn't match what he's said in the past, as the Democratic Party has lurched toward the far-left and made several, varying vows to eliminate fossil fuel energy altogether.

In fact, Biden has said during several early appearances on the campaign trail that he would strive to eliminate fossil fuels, even at the potential expense of hundreds of thousands of energy jobs. It seems that his only argument in defense of his claim on Monday is over semantics, as he does not appear to have used the word "ban" to apply to currently existing fracking licensure.

But he has vowed, on multiple occasions and without apology, to prevent any new fracking, twisting his words even then to make himself seem more palatable for those opposed to fossil fuel energy.

In a debate last summer, in which the Democratic candidates battled over who had the better plan for the environment, CNN's Dana Bash attempted to gain some clarification from Biden.

"Just to clarify, would there be any place for fossil fuels, including coal and fracking, in a Biden administration?" Bash asked the former vice president.

"No, we would — we would work it out," he said. "We would make sure it's eliminated and no more subsidies for either one of those, either — any fossil fuel."

In September, Biden again avoided the use of the word "ban," but told an environmental activist that he would end all fossil fuel energy.

"I want you to look at my eyes," he told the 24-year-old woman. "I guarantee you. I guarantee you. We're going to end fossil fuel." That activist said she was still skeptical of Biden's vow to end all fossil fuels by 2050 and didn't like the fact that he called her "kiddo."

Biden has faced tremendous pressure from energy unions, particularly in states like Pennsylvania, for his non-committal answers on whether he would support the cutting of potentially 600,000 fracking jobs.

"Joe Biden is really one of us. I always loved the man," said Pittsburgh Democrat and union leader Jim Cassidy in July. "He scares me now. Is he embracing the new Green Deal or whatever they are calling it? He needs to get some stuff straight."


The Green Road To Blackouts

Viv Forbes

California leads the way to electricity blackouts, closely followed by South Australia. They both created this problem by taxing, banning, delaying or demolishing reliable coal, nuclear, gas or hydro generators while subsidising and promoting unreliable electricity from the sickly green twins – solar and wind.

All supposed to solve a global warming crisis that exists only in academic computer models. Energy policy should be driven by proven reliability, efficiency and cost, not by green politics. Wind and solar will always be prone to blackouts for three reasons.

Firstly they are intermittent, producing zero power when winds drops or sunlight fails.

Secondly, green energy is dilute so the collection area must be huge. Both solar panels and wind turbines are old technologies and now close to collecting the maximum energy from a given land area of wind and sun, so limited technology gains are possible.

Wind turbines generate nothing from gentle breezes and must shut down in gales. To collect more energy the green twins must collect from greater areas using a widespread scatter of panels and towers connected by a fragile network of roads and transmission lines.

This expensive, extensive but flimsy system is far more susceptible to damage from cyclones, hail, snow, lightning, bushfire, flood and sabotage than a big, well-built, centrally-located, well-maintained traditional power station with strong walls, a roof and lightning protection. Green energy also requires far more investment in transmission lines and inter-connectors that consumers must pay for, and the energy transmission losses are greater.

Thirdly, green energy is like a virus in a distribution network. When the sun shines, solar energy floods the network, causing energy prices to plummet. Coal and gas plants are forced to operate at a cash loss or shut down. Erratic winds make this problem worse as they are less predictable and changes can be quicker.

But when all green energy fails suddenly, like in an evening peak demand period after a still cold sunset, coal cannot ramp up quickly unless it has been kept on standby with boilers hot, waiting for an opportunity to generate some positive cash flow. Gas and hydro can fire up swiftly but who wants to own/build/maintain an expensive fair-dinkum power station that operates intermittently?

Currently hydro, or stop-start gas turbines on standby, or coal generators fired up but not generating are keeping Australian lights on during green energy blackouts. But no one will build new reliable generators to operate part-time. Soon we will have day-time where there is heaps of electricity producing no profit for any generator, and night-time when electricity prices will soar and blackouts will threaten.

Authorities have their solution – rationing. They will use a blackout crisis to grab the power to dictate rolling blackouts of whole suburbs, areas or factories or selective consumer blackouts using smart meters.

Naturally Green “engineers” also have a solution – “More Big Batteries”.

There are many contestants in the battery growth “industry” including pumped hydro, lithium batteries, compressed air, big flywheels, hydrogen storage, capacitors and molten salt. They all need to be able to cope with a few days without wind-solar, which makes them huge and expensive. And all are net consumers of energy as they go through the charge/discharge cycle.

Half-tonne Li/Co/Pb batteries are huge consumers of energy – energy for exploring/mining/refining metals and for concrete, battery manufacture, transport and construction; energy to charge them and absorb the inevitable losses in the charge/discharge cycle; energy to build battery warehouses and finally energy to recycle/bury worn-out batteries (which wear out far quicker than coal, gas, hydro or nuclear power stations).

Few people consider the extra generating capacity needed to maintain charged batteries. Solar energy at best delivers power for about 8 hours per day when there is no cloud, smoke or dust in the air. So a solar array needs batteries with a capacity of twice name-plate capacity just to cover the hours of darkness, every day. These batteries then need extra generating capacity to charge them during daylight hours.

But a solar system also needs to be able to cope with up to 7 days of cloudy weather. This needs 7 times more batteries plus the generating capacity to charge them.

The Big Battery in South Australia has a capacity of 150 MW and cost $160m. East Coast demand these days is about 22,500 MW which would require 150 SA batteries and adding a 10% factor of safety = 165 batteries. The cost could be 165 X $160m = $26.4bn.

No matter whether the battery is stored hydrogen or pumped hydro, the cost to stabilise 100% green energy would be prohibitively expensive. Before we leap over this green cliff, those who claim otherwise must be obliged to demonstrate a working pilot plant without coal, gas or diesel.

Wind power suffers the same problems but is far less predictable. Wind droughts are a common feature. At times wind turbines drain electricity from the grid.

To maintain grid stability, the generators must charge batteries which can then supply a steady stream of electricity to the grid. This requires many more transmission lines and battery connections.

At this point the maths/costs of zero-emissions with 100% solar/wind become preposterous. And the ecological disruption becomes enormous.

When Danish windmills stand silent, they import hydro power from Scandinavia. When German solar panels are covered in snow, they import nuclear electricity from France. And California can draw power from Canada.

But Australia is an island. When the grid fails, Tasmanian hydro or New Zealand geo-thermal are the closest reliable-energy neighbours.

The looming Covid Depression has no room for more green energy silliness. We cannot afford to mollycoddle an aging failing technology. A hard dangerous new world is coming. To survive we will need cheap reliable energy – coal, gas, nuclear or hydro.



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