Michael Moore’s standing within the Left is such that many of his confreres were demanding a retraction of his controversial documentary Planet of Humans.
Moore, after all, is a paragon of leftist sentiment and a fierce opponent of capitalism.
The documentary was released fittingly enough on Earth Day and skewers proponents of renewable energy for the hypocrites they are and the underlying rapacity of the corporate backers who plan to make billions of dollars off solar, wind and whatever other “green” power concocted in the febrile mind of the radical environmentalists.
Moore shows that renewable energy is not green in the least. It involves the mining of rare earth minerals, concrete and, yes, plenty of fossil fuels.
You can watch yourself here.
In short, renewables are a scam.
Climate skeptics, of course, have been saying this for decades. The wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine – especially at night.
Because of the unreliable and intermittent nature of wind and solar, every single watt of power they can generate in theory must, in fact, be backed up by fossil fueled power plants. Those are mostly natural gas plants, but coal and even diesel fuel generators are used.
The need for redundancy is why countries which have invested heavily in wind and solar have seen their electricity rates rise so quickly.
If nations were truly interested in reducing CO2 emissions from the generation of electricity, they would be pushing nuclear power plants where the energy from the heat generated by the uranium is used to power turbines.
Uranium is an energy dense material, as are fossil fuels. And that is the issue.
Wind and solar are diffuse energy sources. That’s why their footprint is so large. Wind and solar panel farms can spread out over hundreds of acres of land. It takes considerable investment and expenditure of energy to collect useful amounts.
That is the Energy Return on Energy Invested – (ERoEI).
It’s an important concept that should guide energy policies.
If you have to expend more energy to produce energy, you are doomed to failure. You cannot support a modern civilization that way.
Euan Mearns has an excellent discussion of the concept on his blog. I recommend it to everyone interested in the subject.
It’s all about energy density. Uranium is the densest, followed by oil, natural gas and coal. Pound for pound, all these energy sources deliver more energy than it takes to extract them.
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