A leading environmentalist told The Epoch Times that California’s plan to generate energy using wind is harmful to the ecosystem.
While Gavin Newsom and the government in Biden are considering the benefits of offshore wind development off the coast of California, Michael Shellenberger, a leading climate and environmental activist, considers the technology expensive, unreliable and “incredibly disruptive” to the environment.
‘It’s ironic, because [they] says they care about the natural environment [and] they do not want to industrialize the oceans -[but] if you care about the environment, you should always look for ways to use less of it, ”Shellenberger told The Epoch Times.
‘During a heat wave – if you have to use a lot more energy for air conditioning – the energy will not come from that wind farm. So it will not help at all to deal with the shortage of energy we have. ”
Newsom het said that offshore wind development could be a “game changer for achieving California’s clean energy goals and addressing climate change – while strengthening the economy and creating new jobs.” However, Shellenberger says that weather-dependent renewable energy can do more harm than good.
Shellenberger is a bestselling author and founder of the non-profit environmental progress. His latest book, ‘Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All’, aims to provide a sober evaluation of the potential consequences of – and solutions to – climate change.
‘The problem is that we need power when the sun is not shining [and] if the wind stops blowing, ”he said.
‘We have long periods where there is no wind at all. [It’s] an inherent problem [with] trying to move towards renewable energy. They make electricity very expensive, very unreliable, or both. ”
Replacing nuclear power
The Biden administration’s development plan represents a coordinated process strive by National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy, Home Secretary Deb Haaland, Defense Minister dr. Colin Kahl, and Newsom to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy across the country by 2030.
The initial Pacific offshore development areas are expected to supply the network with an estimated 4.6 GW – enough energy to power 1.6 million homes in the next decade – along with thousands of well-paid unions, according to a May 25 Press release issued by the White House.
‘By following a government approach, the US can smartly develop our country’s world-class offshore wind energy resources [and] implement new technologies that have helped promote our government … all in the service of combating the climate crisis, ”McCarthy said.
Shellenberger argues that this will not be nearly enough.
“The idea was that they would use this large wind farm on the central coast of California to replace the Diablo Canyon power station,” he said, referring to the state’s last remaining nuclear power plant and its largest power station, which is planned become to be. closed begins in 2024.
‘[But] it will only provide half the power total of Diablo Canyon, [which] provides power for 3 million people. … You can not replace a trusted resource with an unreliable resource. If the wind is not blowing, you are not going to generate electricity. ”
Nancy Rader, executive director of the California Wind Energy Association, called the offshore project a “major breakthrough,” but also acknowledged it would be a “major challenge.”
“The offshore wind development at Morro Bay and Humboldt will require a large port facility in each area to build the floating platforms and assemble the turbines that require continuous proactive planning by the state and federal governments,” she said. said. tell the San Francisco Chronicle by e-mail.
Lessons from solar power
Shellenberger said that energy supplied by weather-dependent renewable energy is a paradox: ‘[They] do not generate electricity if you need it. ”
He pointed to lessons California must have learned because of the reliance on solar panels for energy. In 2020, the state will experience its first eclipse in nearly two decades.
‘We are the fifth largest economy in the world. … We may not experience power outages. And yet we are … because we have spent so much money on weather-dependent renewable energy sources, mostly solar power, ”said Shellenberger.
‘The sun goes down when people come home from work, and then the power tends to rise again. So it is not very good for our civilization. ”
Shellenberger said the problems posed by solar panels go even deeper: by using between 300 and 400 times more land than nuclear or natural gas plants, it ultimately causes more damage to the environment.
The complex also needs about 17 times more steel and cement to build, he added. ‘All the additional material becomes a waste at the back’, unlike uranium, which is easy to store, easy to care for and provides an optimal amount of energy.
“The state of California has been determining for almost a decade what they should do with all of these solar panels, because once you remove them from your roof, they automatically become hazardous waste,” he said.
Since solar panels cannot be installed on a landfill, they must be “specially processed”, which significantly increases the cost of solar energy.
Shellenberger refers to the floor lists of these problems as ‘greenwash’ – meaning that the industry creates the false impression that it is environmentally friendly, while looking at the ultimate waste problems.
At the end of the day, he estimates that solar panels produce about 300 times more waste than nuclear energy sources. In addition, he said the manufacture of solar panels takes place under ‘absolutely unethical conditions’.
“It appears that the vast majority of the solar panels we import into the United States are made under circumstances that the State Department calls genocide in Xinjiang province in China,” he said, referring to human rights violations against ethnic Uighurs.
“This is a place where 1 to 2 million ethnic Muslim Uighurs are in concentration camps and are offered the choice to work in solar panel factories, but it is forced labor.”
He added: “If you think forced labor is being used to change something that changes game, it means you can not continue to import the solar panels the way we have.”
‘Moving in the right direction’
Instead of focusing on “necessarily unreliable” weather-dependent energy sources that will result in “higher costs” than California residents already paid, Shellenberger suggests that civil servants and federal officials turn their attention to issues that are broader than climate change.
While he believes climate change is real, it is not the end of the world, he said. “We’re actually moving in the right direction in a lot of directions.”
For example, carbon emissions in the United States have declined more than they have in the last 20 years in any other country in the world, he said. ‘It was positive for the economy, production[ing] about $ 100 billion in energy savings each year. ”
Furthermore, humans adapt more effectively to their environments, as evidenced by the fact that deaths due to natural ramp has declined by more than 90 percent since their peak in the 1920s. “It’s a huge success,” he said.
While about 300 people died last year from natural disasters in the United States, Shellenberger noted that an estimated 90,000 deaths were caused by drug overdoses – a figure it increased from about 70,000 in 2019.
‘It’s impossible for me, since someone was a climate [and] environmental activist for so long, to look at the numbers and not think that the overdose crisis is significantly more important than climate change, ”he said.
‘This does not mean that climate change will have no impact – it can be very good—[but] the global warming we have is a side effect of our prosperity, of our prosperity, of our use of energy. And that is why we must always balance those things. ”
He added: ‘We need to get clarity on the things that really matter, [and] also get clarity on what are the sources of energy we should use to improve people’s lives and get everyone out of poverty, while also protecting the environment. ”