Commentary: Solar, wind energy have a dark side
The following is an opinion commentary submitted by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
By Daniel New, Alexandria, MN
It is time to unravel the myths surrounding green energy. Notice how China is building coal fired electrical plants at a record pace because they have seen the energy shortages that will occur as the West becomes more and more reliant on the promised euphoria of green shoots energy. The West is a driver of climate accords arid the sudden purification from coal and oil drove the mega use of natural gas and the related huge increased cost of natural gas. The short supply of natural gas and the increased cost generated a shortage in China for energy to operate manufacturing plants, power generation and home heating, thus the Chinese push for more coal fired power plants.
China is the primary source of the solar panels that are being installed in the U.S. Members of the U.S. government are all zealous regarding populations that the Chinese government has interned in concentration camps, but the very next sentence out of their mouth is “keep sending those cheap solar panels that you make with slave labor!” Truth is, solar energy would not be affordable if the panels were manufactured in the U.S. because of the cost of labor and the limited availability of the rare earth metals used in the construction of the panels.
As soon as a solar panel is installed, the power output of the panel is decreasing as the panels will lose 1-1.5% of the power generation efficiency per year. Now think about this, at the 20 or 30 year point in the life of the panel, the power output will have decreased by 25%. Additional power generation will have to take place in order to compensate for the power loss to the grid. The options are; continuous installations of massive solar farms, remove the inefficient panels and replace them with new panels, revert back to coal, oil and nuclear powered generators.
Some states are pushing back on the endless construction of solar farms as there is a concern regarding the covering of good land with solar panels plus the negative impact on wildlife. If the used solar panels are to be replaced, who will bear the cost of replacement? The replacement issue is a sticky one because what does the land owner do with the used panels? There are 100 million tons of solar panel waste that will have to be dealt with by 2050! Presently the solar generation energy system is an open system as there is no method of waste disposal or recycle. The recycle issue or proper waste disposal issue is not popular because the disposal or recycle costs are going to drive up the cost of solar energy production. The big fear is that the used panels are going to be dumped into a landfill or disposal will be in a 2000 acre trench like the one in Casper, Wyoming being used for disposal of used windmill blades. There are several internet sites that have excellent articles regarding "the dark side of solar and wind power."
Any system used for the generation of power will have waste. Coal fired generators have to deal with exhaust gasses and left over ash. Nuclear powered generators have waste that will take thousands of years to neutralize the radioactivity, so the waste is moved and stored in underground caverns. If solar energy is going to be viable the issues of decreased power over time, the replacement of panels and the disposal and recycle of the panels will have to be solved. Think about it, right now China has more and more control of our power grid every time a solar farm is installed!
I do not have any problem with the science of solar power; the science has been around since 1839 when Alexandre Bacquerel discovered that the electrical properties of certain metals change when struck by UV radiation. However, when academics, billionaires and government see green from both the environmental and financial perspective, there is disregard for testing and formulating a good closed-loop economical power generating system. The result is a knee jerk installation of an open-loop energy system that is going to add significant electrical costs for consumers as poker companies move to green energy.