Clean (115/365)

by Lee Santiva April. 25, 2019 299 views
Clean energy from wind power and photovoltaic in southwest Germany. The wind turbine on the horizon can produce 1500 kilowatt per hour on average. The total output of the photovoltaic is about 20 kilowatt per hour.

Clean energy from wind power and photovoltaic in southwest Germany. The wind turbine on the horizon can produce 1500 kilowatt per hour on average. The total output of the photovoltaic is about 20 kilowatt per hour.

This week started with Earth Day and I'm dedicating today's blog to the topic of Clean Energy. I'll give you fair warning: it's a long blog with a lot of facts and statistics and a bias by the author.

Power generation is the leading cause of air pollution and global warming emissions.

According to the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory: coal’s carbon footprint (980g CO2 /kw) is almost 90 times larger than that of wind energy (11g CO2/ kw) and the footprint of natural gas (465g CO2 /kw) is more than 40 times larger. Even when you take the entire lifecycle from raw materials extraction, manufacturing and transportation of the wind turbines and their operations into account, they are still one of the top clean high-yield energy sources available today.

One megawatt of wind power means 2,600 fewer tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and saves 1293 million gallons of water.

On January 1, 2018, 100% of the electricity generated on that single day in Germany came from renewable sources, 85% of which came from wind power. Energy from renewable sources comprise approximately 36% of the power generation in Germany on an annual basis.

Thus, Germany has already reached its ambitious goal to achieve a 30% mix of renewable energy before 2020 and has been able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared to 1990 levels.

Self-sufficiency by generating own power on a farm in Germany. This wind turbine can produce 250 watt per hour.

Self-sufficiency by generating own power on a farm in Germany. This wind turbine can produce 250 watt per hour.

So how could politicians of the German Green party (the so-called environment party) possibly oppose installing more wind turbines here in southern Germany?

They site the numbers of birds and insects which are killed by the rotating blades. The fact is, domestic cats which people keep as pets are the biggest killer of birds by far (over 1 billion). What are the Greens thinking? That electricity comes out of a socket in the wall?

Every form of power generation has an environmental impact and most alternatives are much worse for the environment than wind power:

  • Nuclear power: has a low CO2 impact but an enormous risk to the environment because of the risk of disaster (Chernobyl, Fukashima) as well as that there is no safe place to store the used rods which will be radioactive forever. The extraction of uranium from just the Atlas mine in Utah left millions of tons of rock radioactive and contaminated rock leaches into the Colorado River today.

  • Coal-fired and natural gas power: Climate change due to greenhouse gases, affecting everyone on the planet. Damage to the environment in the extraction of the coal. In a region western of Germany, just last year, ancient forests were being destroyed to make way for strip mining. Legal action has since stopped it however much damage has already been done.

  • Photovoltaic: A great deal of electricity is needed to heat up the furnances (2750 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact) to melt the quartzite gravel or crushed quartz to produce pure silicon. Still more energy is required to coat it for use in the solar panels. Photovoltaic currently requires raw materials which are considered "critical" because they cannot be recycled and they are becoming more difficult to extract to meet the volume demands.

  • Hydropower has a low CO2 score, however, the dams can significantly alter the environment and they’re only effective if you've got enough water. The Hoover Dam in the US is drying up threatening the power supply to millions of prople. The summer of 2018 was so hot that the Rhine River had dried up and, if the drought had continued, the nuclear power plants would have been in danger because there wouldn't be enough water for cooling.

When I consider the alternatives, yes, it's terrible that birds and insects are killed, however, let's be glad it's not human lives and there's no chance of contaminating or destroying the environment where people live.

In conclusion, wind power is not perfect and cannot be the sole source of energy for power generation, but there is no reason to fight it, if you want to have Clean Energy.

Sources:

https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/renewables-cover-about-100-german-power-use-first-time-ever

https://www.smard.de/blueprint/servlet/page/bnetza-en/5790

https://www.factcheck.org/2018/03/wind-energys-carbon-footprint/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325264844_Critical_raw_materials_in_a_new_building_integrated_photovoltaic_system

1293 million gallons of water: http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/pdfs/economic_development/2009/ma_wind_benefits_factsheet.pdf

https://www.pv-magazine.com/magazine-archive/the-trouble-with-silicon_10001055/

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/250010691/Uranium-mining-left-a-legacy-of-death.html

Join the conversation
7
There are 7 comments , add yours!
Russell Smith 1 year, 6 months ago

I think energy conservation is one of the most important green/clean energies that we can use. All energy production methods have their negative environmental impacts from wind mills killing raptors and other birds to solar farm causing birds to combust while in flight. I think it is important to strike a balance in production and use. Do I really need to be able to sit on my street and be able to read a book just like it was 0800 ? Or If I am in NYC should I be able to shoot iso-200 or 400 at 2300hours? I also think one key piece that new energy tech is missing is batteries. It is a great thing until it gets cold then batteries go to pot and while I live in a state that 99.99999% of the time I will not be affected it is the exception to the rule in this country if you look at a larger picture of things. Most important we need to be honest with this is working and that needs fixed or this works here but it does not work there one size does not fit all. Anywho rant is over I hope you have a good day or had a good day.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Russell Smith 1 year, 6 months ago

Thanks for taking the time to contribute to this discussion, I don't think we pay enough attention to ithe topic of the environment.  
 You won't be able to run your refrigerator or oven on "conservation" so it's always a choice of the lesser of "two evils" when it comes to power generation.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Björn Roose 1 year, 6 months ago

Actually the only clean energy is the energy not used and thus not needed. And honestly - some philosophy in the morning - antropocentrism on a planet overpopulated with humans is not the way to go. I prefer more birds and less people. Maybe the Greens in Germany are thinking more logical than the Greens in Flanders, but I should read their programme on overpopulation and energy to be sure.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Björn Roose 1 year, 6 months ago

I‘ll agree with you only on energy conservation.

As a German, and you must know our history, I must strongly condemn any statements which do not value human life.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Björn Roose Replied to Lee Santiva 1 year, 6 months ago

Lee, I do not believe in guilt being inheritable, especially not on base of sharing a nationality. If I would believe that I would not value my life as an individual, I would be no more than part of the herd, which is exactly the role socialist dictatorships (be it national or communist) had and have in mind for their citizens. So as far as I, as an individual human being, am concerned you "must" not do anything based on what somebody else with the German nationality has done or still does.

As for the value of human life as such: how would that life be worth less if there were less people ? As an economist you know that the added value of anything becomes lesser if more of it is created and even negative at a certain point. Since the biggest part of the ever growing "humanity" is part of our "civilisation" and that civilisation is based on nothing but consumerism, killing of a hundred other species a day, using its energy (clean or not) to "produce" from nature unnecessary stuff that will never return to nature (unless one would take plastic oceans and other pollution as "returning"), that "humanity" is morally below every other species on this planet. It's even more stupid than any other kind on Earth, including birds, because it knows it's ruining its home (this planet) and despite continues to do so (while blaming it on politicians who are not smarter than them and of which no one even dares mentioning the word "overpopulation"). If this planet were not my home too, I would be happy to look on from the sideline how humans "value" human life so much that they are willing to ruin their home and in doing so themselves. Alas, I do really value human life and can not even stand aside silently.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Björn Roose 1 year, 6 months ago

HI Bjoern, thanks for taking the time to explain your position. My point is, considering all of the power generation alternatives, wind power has the lowest negative impact for the global climate and environment overall.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Björn Roose Replied to Lee Santiva 1 year, 6 months ago

If you leave not using energy out of scope, maybe smile Saw a video yesterday evening which is doubting - and the killing of birds and negative impact on the landscape were not main arguments - even that very moderate position ("lowest negative impact"), but, alas, it was mostly in Dutch.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Up
Copyright @Photoblog.com