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The Renewables Farce

The Renewables Farce

The renewals transition is a lie. Here’s why.

The Renewables Farce
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP / Unsplash
Let me say this loud for the people in the back:


Sure, wind, solar or geothermal energy might reduce carbon intensity per unit of output. Indeed, an EV, for example, emits less carbon than an ICE vehicle.

Unfortunately, it’s more complicated. It always is.

Let me stop right here for a second. I am no fossil fuels apologist. And I’m not trying to thwart the efforts to improve the planet. However, I am a realist and observer of human and political behavior. In this article, I describe what will likely happen, as opposed to what I wish would happen.

First, renewables must be evaluated from a birth-to-death perspective. This includes the manufacturing processes, inputs and raw materials extraction. Accounting for these, the tradeoff is less black-and-white and often highly influenced by the longevity of the renewable alternative.

Break-even estimates vary wildly, and are highly dependent on what you’re measuring – e.g. financial cost or carbon emissions. I think it’s fair to say any renewable used to replace fossil fuels must have a lifespan across decades to be a viable alternative.

Studies show conflicting information – potentially influenced by inherent biases – with one recent study suggesting the breakeven between EVs and ICE vehicles is beyond normal usage.

Other studies show carbon parity can occur much earlier, depending on the underlying energy source.

My point is there are hidden complexities beneath the renewables transition, which has been misused as a soundbite to appease the citizenry.

Looking longer-term, those hidden complexities worsen. Transitioning to alternative energy sources requires massive consumption of copper, nickel, lithium and other metals. Research by Simon Michaux, Associate Professor at Geological Survey of Finland, suggests at current production rates there simply won’t be enough raw materials to feed the transition.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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