The Pipe Dream of Renewables

“Building windmills and solar panels requires MORE mining than if we didn’t build them.” – Rosco Mac


The Pipe Dream of Renewables

Hundreds of thousands, even millions of solar panels, windmills and batteries will require disposal and replacement every 20 or so years
By Rosco Mac

No one has ever said mining has no environmental impacts, but the area affected is small compared to the areas which will be impacted by the pipe dream of renewables. And in a civilised country mining operations are required to re-vegetate the land once mining has ceased.

I have seen rehabilitated areas of a huge bauxite mine in Queensland where the only real noticeable difference between rehabilitated areas and virgin areas is the change in contours.

Thousands of acres of renewables are permanent – a coal fired power plant occupies a tiny fraction of the area.

I doubt we will ever have either viable hydrogen or fusion power – hydrogen requires more energy to make than you get back and controllable fusion is science fiction.

Thorium is possibly the energy source of the future.

And everyone seems to overlook the simple fact that building windmills and solar panels requires MORE mining than if we didn’t build them.

They require concrete, steel, rare minerals and hydrocarbon energy to build and maintain. Factor in the fact that their lifespan is one half or one third of conventional power plants and any rational assessment would conclude they are a stupid idea.

I once saw a ridiculous proposal to circle the moon’s equator with solar panels. The idea was that they would generate far more power than on Earth.

True – but what happens in 20 odd years when the panels begin producing so little power they require replacement ?




Electric cars require ten to fifteen thousand dollars of batteries which require replacement. Similarly for the battery banks used to store solar power. To setup your electric vehicle dream would cost in excess of $100,000 per household.

Then think about their end of life – hundreds of thousands, even millions of solar panels, windmills and batteries will require disposal and replacement every 20 or so years and this is a viable alternative? There will be little recyclable value.

24 thoughts on “The Pipe Dream of Renewables”

  1. Underwater turbines. No fuel needed, they run on water current to produce electrical current. Yes, maintenance is required. But no need for fuel combustion or radiation or heat of any kind and they will run all night long. …DUH!

      1. Given that there are two tides per 24 hrs period covering 16 hrs of water flow, plus 4 hrs of slack water at the top of each tide and 4 hrs at the bottom between each tide there should be a healthy gain in energy to be captured for storage so that the energy can be time sliced to suit demand.
        Storage and high power plants which turned at ten minutes notice to manage demand is required, it is these latter two technologies which haven’t has the exposure or the investment to bring them to commercial availability or usage.
        Equally methane gas CHP fuel cell for home used and export into the local grid is a much better way to manage low power domestic supply and demand. The feed in tariffs are all already in place and the CHP Fuel Cell components are already designed and in test in commerical usage.
        Thorium is a much better way to go for nuclear generation, but the Green terrorist groups, not only hates Carbon but any form of nuclear technology, based on their funding during the seventies and eighties by the failed Soviets Empire and the Ban the Bomb 5th columnists which support their political aims. As a consequence the UK Government is petrified to go against the 40 years of adverse propaganda and managed public opinion.

      2. Try putting them in the Japan or Caribbean currents, but there is a model made in England that flips with the changing tide, if that is where you want to put yours. The Japan current flows all day and all night, at a predictable rate. The naysayers say that the turbine blades will cause the earth’s rotation to slow! But I guess the world really is flat, after all. (…sigh!)

    1. How many sea creatures were you planning on slaughtering. Look what the giant windmills have done to the raptor populations. What about all the animals that use sonar to survive, like whales, etc. These underwater turbines could also affect the local wave patterns. Water is one of the most powerful forces on Earth so don’t think the oceans can’t destroy those turbines. Its a bad idea.

      1. So was ludditism, that particular, 19th century anti-technology movement that has morphed into the modern Green/ Global Warmist AGW lying movement.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite
        The, you cannot do this, cos you will hurt a fly, or walk on an ant, or divert a butterfly, and then cause a hurricane elsewhere on the planet brigade, otherwise known as Nimby’s are against everything and for nothing, other than to interfere in other people’s business, it’s an even greater sport for snow flake couch potatoes than watching neighbours or crap football using both types of balls.
        Quote: How many sea creatures were you planning on slaughtering?
        A significant amount less, than the Japanese whaling fleet has for the last 50 years and continues to do so. Far, far less than the EU policies of fishing the Blue fin Tuna to extinction, or decimating the world wide Albatross population when launching baited long lines in the Southern Ocean.
        Fishing is a slaughtering business, or have you not only given up fish on Fridays, but become a vegan as well?
        The fact of the matter is that sea life improves around oil and gas, wind and turbine installations.
        Why, because commercial trawling fishermen cannot trawl, particular bottom trawl in the prohibited areas. The installation in fact becomes a marine sanctuary. Check any of the Rod and Line fishing programs in Aus, US or GB they head for structures to fish, because the Eco-chain is self-sustaining.

  2. goodonya Rosco;-)
    see the twerp in sth aus J ditherall(weatherall for the non aussies here) is going to chat to musk the less than successful merchant of solar..
    take away the subsidies add the failed corps and hes not such a hot property at all.
    theres very little means to recycle anything in a pv solar setup
    theres stuff all happening with simple batteries and yet birdshredders and leccy cars use HUGE amounts of toxic to create batteries and magnets.
    but thats always ignored by the greenfraternity.
    Jamestown Sth Aus is the newest target for wind duds in SA
    they get huge winds there at times.oops it fell over scenario.
    targeting small rural communities and uneducated rural councils desperate for a few month labour for locals and a lot of lousy PR spin for a short time also.
    I wonder where and how they plan to get water and labour to clean solar panels on acreage?
    my tiny sensor light solar panel has to be wiped clean every 2 days or its not charging properly
    in the driest state on the driest continent already having issues thats a serious Q to be asked but no one does

  3. Lockheed Martin will supposedly showcase their “proportional containment” fusion powerstation in 2020 and with a share price of around $300 you can be fairly confident they have something. They will spin that off into a separate company so anyone who owns at least one LM share could qualify for the pre listing sale, could be bigger than Microsoft. Some say LM have had fusion for years and I say this is true disclosure. Typical that nobody sees it.

  4. Interesting article! The idea of building windmills on the moon sounds like something straight out of Don Quixote!

    I often think about the problems that come up with the new push for the much more toxic light bulbs. Don’t the Greenies EVER think thing through?

    And a new thing to consider – Accuweather has an article about some guy from Harvard who is trying to make a wooly mammoth in the lab (technically, a hybrid of a modern elephan and wooly mammoth… genetically engineered). To what purpose? Trying to keep the Arctic from melting or something… just what we need during an Ice Age, right? That is a little like doing it to bring Attila the Hun back… .something we do not need!

    1. Solar power plants, then microwave energy to the earth.
      Windmill don’t work without an atmosphere and heat difference to create turblence in that atmosphere to create the wind.

      The wooly mammoth story is a fake news item, even the BBC got taken in by that one.

  5. I will try and keep this short. They have been caught in a big lie and not that Solar and wind power does not work on a much smaller scale say for the individual home owner because it does.
    But on an industrial scale its a loosing proposition as it cost far to much to make it happen and not posable to do it and not charge 15X times the going rate for the electric in order to break even.
    So the more grandee the scale the more diminished the return, the more they have to charge to the product prodused and in this case it will cost far more than the market will bear.

  6. Another science denier. I’m sure the New England whalers said the same thing about that newfangled crude oil coming out of Pennsylvania back in 1859 as a replacement for lamp oil. And sure, the gigantic oil and coal industries don’t require huge amounts of disposable and replacement equipment. Or don’t they? LOL. And, of course, Roscoe is speaking as though the current renewable technologies won’t continue to improve in duration and efficiency as they continue to develop. Huh? You know, like computers and televisions and everything else.

    Back in 1910, the Model T Ford could run on either gasoline or alcohol. By 1920, thanks to prohibition, brought about in huge part by a massive campaign financed by John D. Rockefeller, this option for alcohol fuel, which farmers could generate on their own with after harvest waste, was outlawed. This is what happens to technologies which threaten established billionaire interests. Anything that makes the individual more independent from the system will be derided and labeled a pipe dream. Nothing new here.

    1. well its been over 40 years and the gains in solar or wind so far have pretty much been the costs TO the consumer
      for rather pathetic gains in output
      stated outputs are optimums and from what i see they rarely make anything near those figures.

      we have utter fools in Sth Aus rushing to buy more household solar pv
      thing is?
      if theyre gridconnected as they have to be to get so called discounts on install n price
      then regardles of that when the grid goes down so does your solar…unless you add 10K at least $au for teslas unobtainium batteries

  7. I am so tired of the “no common sense, no compromise ” approach to everything these days.
    I’d think there is a place for all the different forms of producing energy, we can use the energy.

    I have solar on my RV. Lights, computer power, water pump almost all the time ( I need sunshine) with zero effort. It’s magic!
    I also have a generator & often plug into shore power. Common sense tells me what to use … or not.

  8. Solar panels typically lose power over time in a linear fashion, 0.7%yr, hence, after 20 yrs they are >85% of their rated power. They should see many more yrs of productive service after that.
    I agree though that the mining and decommissioning aspects of renewables is ignored. It is costly (or will be) and requires petrochemicals to perform.
    The various materials of a solar cell are fairly separate, silicon solar cell, conductive metal paths, tempered glass and aluminum frame. I can envision large scale recycling of these elements in the future…but it will be expensive energy wise.
    Everything depends on coal and petrochemicals. I predict we will be burning coal for a long time.

  9. Solar panels would not last 20 years on the moon, because micro meteorites and radiation from the solar wind would make the panels wear out faster than on Earth. Space exploration and space colonization are super-expensive and super resource wasting boondoggles that consume more of Earth’s resources than they can return. Crazy people want to colonize space, when they haven’t learned to get along on Earth. Thumbs down to space exploration and space colonization.

    1. Never mind Osama, you won’t be around when other half of the words population wants to live in the only warm part left, the middle between the two Tropics and that part may well be radioactive as well.
      When everything north and south of 35 degrees lat. is at fridge or Freezer temperature, the biggest point is that people won’t get along while the world has competing political systems which will lie to them over global warming/cooling , or which will shoot down civilian airliners without warning, or invade other countries at the drop of a hat.
      Or, much worse, violent military religions which stone women for being raped because three men gave testomy against her, or practice slavery and butchery against other people and attack and take a village to kill everybody over 30 because they have no value as sex toys, or burn people in cages because it suites their political ends for their corruption of one of the great religions of the world.
      No, people won’t get along as you put it, while monsters like these walk the world, unless everybody is a slave of the state, as in Animal Farm.

  10. Excellet points… But as for fusion being science fiction, see this
    http://lppfusion.com
    Mainstream fusion approach fundamentally flawed, no less than mainstream climate ‘science’ is flawed.
    Fusion energy based on reality of plasma filled universe is alltogether different, and not far off.

  11. I remember reading a posting that these Italian gents has ran a factory in Bologna for several months successfully with what they called cold fusion using a nickle base and a hydrogen catalyst. It was then confirmed by a third party to operate within high output ratios of energy compared to the input materials.

    Then the scientific world got involved and politics buried these fellows somewhere in the shadows.

    Anyone know what happened to them? I know shortly after the test a large quake in Bologna wrecked havoc. Have not really heard much of them since.

    https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/191754-cold-fusion-reactor-verified-by-third-party-researchers-seems-to-have-1-million-times-the-energy-density-of-gasoline

    DARPA files show NASA had used cold fusion for years before the Italians got theirs up and running. If we never see the reactors for public use I believe it is politically incorrect to let the sheeple have access to modern advanced equipment that would enrich our lives and take away the pollution and personal costs of currently used fuels.

    These god wannabe so called elitist are the apple of their own eye. Darn em’.

    1. If cold fusion was real there’d be physicists all over the world doing it by now. If it can be done, it can’t be long before lots of people are doing it. Every university would be teaching cold fusion theory, every military, every government, utilities, would be using it for cheap energy.

      1. Gee Ray that would put the elite controlled and manipulated energy service suppliers i.e. oil, wind, solar, nuclear(can always use some enhanced uranium to sell on the open market eh Clinton’s excelled on that idea), scattered like wind drives dust. Like you said sir, what would these poor elite chaps do with no energy to control and suck up money from the dying middle class to accomplish the Agenda 21 set forth by our loving U.N. if “the elites” were to lose their grip on energy? I personally sir, would not lose one wink of sleep if these evil anti-human thriving money and control freaks were to lose their power over my purchasing and living means.

        Good Day

  12. Toyota, Honda, and GM, the three largest carmakers, are betting on hydrogen as the primary ground transportation fuel of the future.

    Assuming that oil and gas are finite resources, then it is most prudent to transition to other energy technologies well before the balance of supply and demand starts driving the prices up and up with terrible effects on all economies. Solar, wind, nuclear, hydrogen, all part of the matrix, the coming era of energy diversity.

  13. FACTS IN UK :
    A 400 ft wind turbine with 2 MW installed capacity generates 25 per cent ON AVERAGE = 0.5 MW.

    UK uses 60000 MW on a very cold winter’s day.Therefore 120,000 wind turbines 400 ft high are needed to supply the UK.
    BUT , the UK is only 95000 sq miles in area and 50000 sq miles of that is in England!
    Who live there, in the southern half ? Why ! The CHATTERING CLASSES of the COTSWOLDS, MALVERNS, CHILTERNS and SOUTH DOWNS…where there are £1 million houses…….BUT NO WIND TURBINES !! NO CHANCE !!!
    RICH NIMBYS LOVE WIND TURBINES………DUMPED ON OTHER PEOPLE !!
    83 per cent of the UK’s 65 million people live in ENGLAND !! But most of the wind turbines are often DUMPED on Scotland and Wales…to SUPPLY ENGLISH CITIES!
    They have no prayer of supplying the UK ! Not a chance!!
    When the wind does not blow, there is NO ELECTRICITY, so even if 120,000 x 400 ft MONSTERS were spread evenly on the UK’s 95000 square miles…….it would be IMPOSSIBLE!!

    THE COUNTRY IS FAR TOO SMALL !!

    ANYONE WHO SUPPORTS WIND ENERGY…….IS IMPRACTICAL, NON-TECHNICAL…………AND INNUMERATE!!

    HE/SHE PROBABLY HAS AN ARTS DEGREE IN ENGLISH LITERATURE, PSYCHOLOGY OR “MODERN BALLET”……BUT FAILED “SPECIAL ARITHMETIC ” AT GCSE !!
    SO HE /SHE WENT INTO POLITICS AND SPOUTS “WIND ENERGY” AT EVERY TURN [APART FROM THE TURN OF THE TURBINE BLADES !!]

    WIND ENERGY IS USELESS !!

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