The looming ecological crisis of renewable energy

RE policy is already a disaster for humans and other living things due to the calories taken out of the human food chain for fuel, the carnage of birds and the devastation of forests and grasslands to clear the ground for windmills and solar factories. Not to mention increasing the cost of power and destabilizing the grid.

“Cheer up!” they said, “Things could be worse.” Well they are going to get worse. This is just the solar panel story, the news with worn-out windmills could be worse still. But nobody ever said that saving the planet would be easy.

Consider the following statements:
•The problem of solar panel disposal “will explode with full force in two or three decades and wreck the environment” because it “is a huge amount of waste and they are not easy to recycle.”
•“The reality is that there is a problem now, and it’s only going to get larger, expanding as rapidly as the PV industry expanded 10 years ago.”
•“Contrary to previous assumptions, pollutants such as lead or carcinogenic cadmium can be almost completely washed out of the fragments of solar modules over a period of several months, for example by rainwater.”

Were these statements made by the right-wing Heritage Foundation?
Koch-funded global warming deniers? The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal?

None of the above. Rather, the quotes come from a senior Chinese solar official, a 40-year veteran of the U.S. solar industry, and research scientists with the German Stuttgart Institute for Photovoltaics.

h/t hzhousewife. More research required on the comparative maintenance costs of windmills and coal-fired stations.

This entry was posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to The looming ecological crisis of renewable energy

  1. Leo G

    Renewable energy unrenewables?

  2. stackja

    Someone made easy money.
    That’s what.

  3. I’m doing my bit to save the environment by not installing solar panels. I must remember to raise that point every time a local Green blabbers about coal etc.

  4. C. Paul Barreira

    Thalidomide.

    On steroids.

    Yet another story . . . to come.

  5. Dr Fred Lenin

    Worse than turnbulls funny light globes which Im told contain mercury ,disposal is an ongoing problem . Ivan he terrible was poisoned with mercury ,a check of his remains hunreds of years later showed he had absorbed mercury . Never mind there is plenty of money in turnbulls tax dodging account in the Caymans to pay fir the correction , after all he and goldman sachs probably owned the company that made them ,nice little bonus for turnbull from howard .
    As Arthur Daley used to say “nice little earner, Innit?

  6. teddy bear

    They will simply blame all of those problems on global warming and ensure anyone who attempts to expose the truth is silenced, which is pretty much what they are doing already.

  7. “Contrary to previous assumptions, pollutants such as lead or carcinogenic cadmium can be almost completely washed out of the fragments of solar modules over a period of several months, for example by rainwater.”

    Take it from a chemist:

    Cadmium salts are a nasty poison, statistics on human deaths are not good due to people suffering the effects choosing to suicide.

    If PV are a source of environmental cadmium, we need bans in place. Now.

  8. Allen

    Solar panel waste will be harder to dispose of than nuclear waste

  9. The federal environment department has ‘producer responsibility’ schemes for a wide range of materials such as tvs, phones, tyres, mattresses etc. But not for solar panels and windmills which will soon need to be recovered and recycled. About time they did.

  10. BoyfomTottenham

    Gerard said: “The federal environment department has ‘producer responsibility’ schemes for a wide range of materials such as tvs, phones, tyres, mattresses etc. But not for solar panels and windmills which will soon need to be recovered and recycled.” So why aren’t the MSM asking the obvious question – ‘why not’? They might as well be &^%$# public servants for all the good that they do!

  11. Beachcomber

    teddy bear at 4:06 pm

    They will simply blame all of those problems on global warming and ensure anyone who attempts to expose the truth is silenced, which is pretty much what they are doing already.

    Pretty much sums it up. There won’t be be word about any of this from the ABC-TASS media.

  12. egg_

    Renewable energy unrenewables?

    Fossilised windmills on the landscape?

  13. egg_

    Renewable energy unrenewables?

    Fossilised windmills on the landscape?

    We dedicate this Wally World Theme Park to Bill Shorten.

  14. mem

    egg said:

    We dedicate this Wally World Theme Park to Bill Shorten.

    But if you live in Victoria you are about to get the double whammy. Andrews thinks that giving jobs to yellow vest CFMEU workers to despoil our hinter land with huge turbines and solar farms that will supply only 15% of our energy when the wind blows and the sun shines, is hip new tech stuff. Someone needs to tell Danny and Billy Boy that life and electricity is a bit more complicated and whilst they might think they are having fun they are grinding this country to a stop. But they they are not listening now and perhaps never will. https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/donmclean/vincentstarrystarrynight.html

  15. •“Contrary to previous assumptions, pollutants such as lead or carcinogenic cadmium can be almost completely washed out of the fragments of solar modules over a period of several months, for example by rainwater.”

    I guess that applies to anything really but where does the water end up and what are the (pun) downstream effects?

    Regardless, we all know what will end up happening to defunct solar panels. They will be shipped off to the Third World to be smashed to bits by 6 year old slave labour in The Congo to trade in scraps for enough to eat a meal a day. Until they drop dead a few years later after suffering years of agonising slow death.

    Ahhh, the left. Egos and compassion and do goodyness sat on top of a pyramid of skulls.
    They never change.

  16. RobK

    Recycled lithium is 5 x the cost of mined lithium.
    https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/the-afterlife-of-electric-vehicles-battery-recycling-and-repurposing/

    The Afterlife of Electric Vehicles: Battery Recycling and Repurposing

    BY IER

    MAY 6, 2019

    By 2040, more than half of new-car sales and a third of the global fleet—equal to 559 million vehicles—is projected to be electric. This poses serious challenges. Electric vehicle batteries typically must be replaced every seven to 10 years for smaller vehicles and three to four for larger ones, such as buses and vans. Declining performance for an electric vehicle battery is evidenced by fewer miles of driving per charge and more frequent plug-ins by owners.The global stockpile of these batteries is expected to exceed 3.4 million by 2025, compared with about 55,000 last year. This is almost a 62-fold increase in 7 years. Automobiles have overtaken consumer electronics as the biggest users of lithium-ion batteries.  Because batteries contain toxic chemicals that should not be placed into a landfills, they need to be either recycled, which involves an intensive manufacturing process, or repurposed for other uses.

    China has the largest electric vehicle market in the world and the largest number of electric vehicle manufacturers. Electric cars make sense in China because of its dense and crowded cities that often mean shorter driving distances. China, where about half the world’s electric vehicles are sold, has made carmakers responsible for expired batteries and the European Union also has regulations on battery disposal.

    Recycling

    Batteries can be recycled, but recycling them is not easy due to the sophisticated chemical procedures involved. If not handled properly, the heavy metal contained in the battery can lead to contamination of the soil and water.

    Batteries can be recycled through smelting, direct recovery, and other, newer processes. A smelting process is used to recover many minerals (e.g. lithium, cobalt, nickel) contained in the battery. After a battery is smelted, the lithium ends up as a mixed byproduct and extracting it is costly. While the cost of fully recycling a lithium-ion battery is about €1 per kilogram, the value of the raw minerals reclaimed from the process is only about a third of that.Another way to look at the cost of extraction of lithium from old batteries is that it is 5 times more expensive than mined lithium.

  17. Herodotus

    The climate scam will not have a stake driven through its dark heart until the mainstream media stops pushing it.

  18. Rohan

    I rekon when this hits with full regulatory force, those who haven’t installed these environmental monstrosities on their roof will see a significant increase in value in their property.

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