Letter to editor: Renewable energy is not so renewable | SkyHiNews.com

Letter to editor: Renewable energy is not so renewable

Carol Friesens letter on April 28 reminds me of comments from a very naive Democratic senate staffer several years ago, discussing the raising of CAFE car pollution standards.

When told there are “laws of physics and chemistry that must be dealt with,” he responded, “We (Democrats) control the presidency and the Congress so we’ll just legislate those rules out of existence.”  This comes from someone who makes the rules that govern our lives.

Reduction of pollutants  from internal combustion engines is a worthy goal and much has been done to accomplish this: catalytic converters, low sulfur, lead-free gasoline and optimizing fuel use.

Going to all electric cars would be wonderful IF we had free electricity.  Making solar panels and wind turbines generates waste and pollution – hydrocarbons to make the resins for windmill blades, greases and oils, plus the metal components and concrete. 

After their useful life, they must be disposed of and very few can be recycled.  And we haven’t even discussed the birds killed, nor the excessive cost of EVs and EV battery disposal.

Expansion of today’s  modest level of green energy – currently about 4% of the country’s consumption (versus 56% for oil and gas) will create an unprecedented increase in global mining, radically increase environmental/labor challenges in emerging markets and dramatically increase US imports and the vulnerability of our energy supply chain.  Also, factor in child labor and the unregulated environmental degradation where battery minerals are located.

An all electric economy is a noble goal but its naive to think this can be realized by legislation. No energy system is actually “renewable” since all machines require mining, processing tons of materials and their inevitable disposal.  Compared with hydrocarbons, green machines on average entail a 10 fold increase in quantities of materials extracted to produce the same amount of energy.

Pete Peterson

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