Reader question: Why do I say solar and wind aren’t clean, green, or renewable?
A reader wrote:
You said that wind and solar ” are not clean, green or sustainable”. I am surprised, they seem to be better than the alternatives. What is the reason they are not sustainable?
The short answer:
- The mining required will destroy and pollute ecosystems (and displace people from their homes, plus we can’t seem to mine without sending children in them, which I consider inhumane)
- Solar and wind require fossil fuels to manufacture, transport, install, and decommission
- They need to be replaced every 20 years, so their problems persist
- Their end-of-life materials pollute
The long answer is in articles like these:
- The Dark Side of Congo’s Cobalt Rush
- The Hard Math of Minerals by podcast guest Mark Mills.
- Why mining to make renewables will destroy the planet by Alice Friedemann
The most comprehensive answer I’ve found is the book
- Life After Fossil Fuels, by Alice Friedemann
I prefer them to fossil fuels, nuclear, and fusion, but only as part of a plan to phase them out too, which I described in my post
I should also note that some believe renewables can be renewable, as in
- A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030 by podcast guest Mark Jacobson
- and his book 100% Clean, Renewable Energy and Storage for Everything
though I consider his results overly optimistic.
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