Preface. Electricity simply doesn’t substitute for all the uses of fossil fuels, so windmills will never be able to reproduce themselves from the energy they generate — they are simply not sustainable. Nor can electricity generate the high heat required in manufacturing for smelting of metals, glass, and other components. Consider the life cycle of a wind turbine – giant diesel powered mining trucks and machines dig deep into the earth for iron ore, fossil-fueled ships take the ore to a facility that will use fossil fuels to crush it and permeate it with toxic petro-chemicals to extract the metal from the ore. Then the metal will be taken in a diesel truck or locomotive to a smelter which runs exclusively on fossil fuels 24 x 7 x 365 for up to 22 years (any stoppage causes the lining to shatter so intermittent electricity won’t do). There are over 8,000 parts to a wind turbine which are delivered over global supply chains via petroleum-fueled ships, rail, air, and trucks to the assembly factory. Finally diesel cement trucks arrive at the wind turbine site to pour many tons of concrete and other diesel trucks carry segments of the wind turbine to the site and workers who drove gas or diesel vehicles to the site assemble it.
Here are the topics covered below in this long post:
- Windmills require petroleum every single step of their life cycle. If they can’t replicate themselves using wind turbine generated electricity, they are not sustainable
- SCALE. Too many windmills needed to replace fossil fuels
- SCALE. Wind turbines can’t be scaled up fast enough to replace fossils
- Not enough rare earth metals and enormous amounts of cement, steel, and other materials required
- Not enough dispatchable power to balance wind intermittency and unreliability
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