(From November 9, 2014)
It would be elegant if wind and solar energy capturing devices could actually maintain a modicum of the wonderfully rich lifestyles many of us live. I believe this is a false dream and that BAU (business as usual) is not sustainable or “green” nor really desirable for the future of the earth or even our species.
Prove This Wrong
Many people believe wind and solar energy capturing devices can replace a substantial percentage if not all of our fossil fuel usage. Below you will find pictures and charts detailing the necessity of the fossil fuel supply system and the massive industrial infrastructure in this “renewable” dream.
Wind, Water, and Solar Power for the World
By Mark Delucchi/ SEPTEMBER 2011
Nix nuclear. Chuck coal. Rebuff biofuel. All we need is the wind, the water, and the sun
“We don’t need nuclear power, coal, or biofuels. We can get 100 percent of our energy from wind, water, and solar (WWS) power. And we can do it today— efficiently, reliably, safely,
sustainably, and economically.
We can get to this WWS world by simply building a lot of new systems for the production,
transmission, and use of energy. One scenario that Stanford engineering professor Mark
Jacobson and I developed, projecting to 2030, includes: 3.8 million wind turbines, 5 megawatts each, supplying 50 percent of the projected total global power demand.”
Mark Z. Jacobson Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University was coauthor of another article. It can be found in Scientific America – “A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030”.
They proposed that starting in 2012, 50% of the worlds needs could be supplied by 3,800,000 five megawatt wind capturing devices to be installed by 2030. Here are the numbers:
3,800,000 5 megawatts each supply
50% of the world’s energy needs in 18 years
211,111.11 Machines a year
578.39 Machines a day for 18 years
24.10 Machines each hour each day for 18 years
EACH ONE INSTALLED EACH DAY
I am choosing wind energy capturing devices because they have a higher Energy Return on Energy Invested than solar energy capturing devices. I continually use the phrase “capturing devices” for what are usually called solar panels and wind machines because these are devices that capture the sun or wind energy. It is misleading to not realize they require energy and natural resources.
Let me cut right to the results of this study. The base of this 2.5 megawatt turbine in the pictures that follow (half the megawatts in the Jacobson/Delucchi study) used 45 tons of rebar and 630 yards of cement. This computes in barrels of oil and in tons of CO2 for each base:
For the Concrete
478.8 Barrels of oil in 630 yards of concrete.
409.5 Tons of CO2 released for 630 yards of concrete.
For the Rebar
Taking a conservative 3 barrels of oil per ton the rebar would require 135 barrels of oil for the base of the 2.5 MW Turbine.
89 tons of C02 released for 45 tons of steel for the base.
The concrete and steel together for one base use
613 barrels of oil for each base alone.
Each base release 498 tons of CO2
(A barrel of oil is 42 gallons)
Before looking at two of the energy requirements to install these 3800000 machines here are some interesting pictures of installing a wind energy capturing device from http://www.cashton.com/North_Wind_Turbine_Const-DM-CS-SB-2-reduced-in-size.pdf .
The machine we are looking at is only 2.5 MW turbine not the larger 5 MW proposed by Jacobson and Delucch.