The Push for More Wind and Solar Is Already Costing You Money & Damaging the Environment

by | Jun 4, 2019 |

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Even for those who believe that humankind’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are causing dangerous global warming, it is clear that the aggressive push to replace fossil fuels with solar and wind energy throughout America is having no impact on the supposed problem. According to the World Bank, the U.S. is responsible for only 14% of global CO2 emissions, behind China which emits 30%. We now generate only 5% of our energy from wind and 1% from solar. Collectively, it is safe to say this has had essentially no impact on our CO2 emissions.

Once we produce the cement required and mine and refine the steel and aluminum and mine the rare earths that wind turbines use, Industrial Wind Turbines (IWT) cannot be considered even remotely green. Paul Driessen, senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), writes:

“Replacing coal and gas-generated electricity with wind and solar would require millions of turbines and panels, on tens of millions more acres, billions of tons of rare earth and other metals, and hundreds of billions of pounds of lithium-ion batteries. China controls all those rare earth metals [our note: according to this article, The U.S. Geological Survey says that China’s part is closer to 80 percent] and most of the lithium, cadmium and cobalt needed for all that pseudo-renewable, pretend-sustainable energy. They are produced in China and Africa, often with child labor and near-slave labor, and with virtually no health, safety or environmental safeguards.”

The health impacts of IWTs are serious as well. In “Infrasound: A Growing Liability for Wind Power,” Sherri Lange, CEO, NA-PAW (North American Platform Against Wind Power) writes:

“More than just audible sound, grinding, whomping, blade pass whooshes, an ever-present hum, industrial wind turbines have a silent, below audible impact. It is not like a day contamination/harm at work where people can go home at night for relief. With industrial wind projects literally engulfing homes and rural areas, there is little or no escape.

Yet at least 23 states require that their electric utilities obtain some portion of the electricity they sell come from renewable sources, which in all cases in our nation means wind and solar farms. In most cases this energy costs at least three times more than that generated by conventional fossil fuel power plants. Were they not subsidized by the Federal government (i.e., your taxes) and often state subsidies, these renewable sources of power would cost 6 or 7 times more than natural gas and coal. When wind and solar costs are folded into your electricity bill, it is raised considerably for most Americans.

The argument in favor of these state-enforced Renewable Energy Standards is that they encourage competition with fossil fuel power plants. This is equivalent to forcing people to eat in an expensive restaurant when they could get a fine meal at a mid-priced family restaurant, but the government will pick up part of the bill at the expensive restaurant, making it only 50% more expensive instead of twice the price.

To properly appreciate the situation, we should understand where America gets its energy. The United States Energy Information Agency provides the following data:

  • Natural gas plants supply 34% of our electricity
  • coal plants supply 30%
  • hydro-electric power plants supply 7% 
  • nuclear power plants supply 20%
  • wind and solar supply 6%.

In every jurisdiction where wind and solar provide significant power, home electricity costs are significantly higher than in regions that do not foist these inefficient, intermittent sources on the population.

In other words, home-owners are paying high prices for the government’s mistaken belief that it is doing something beneficial for the environment or the Earth’s climate.

The government’s actions are based on their nonsensical stance that human CO2 emissions have become the dominant controller of Earth’s climate. Canadian historical climate Dr. Tim Ball explained how ridiculous this is:

“Many years ago, I compared the claim that human CO2 was causing global warming was analogous to determining what was causing your car to falter. To simplify the analysis, you decided to not look at the engine, the transmission, the gearbox, the drive shaft, the differential, the axle, and the wheel, to focus attention on one portion of the thread of one bolt of one nut on the right rear wheel.”

Dr. Ball expanded on this further in a more recent article:

“When the leaders learned that carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, was increasing and global warming was inevitable, they didn’t know enough to even ask the right questions. They didn’t know that it was only 4% of the total greenhouse gases and the human portion was only 0.4% of that. They didn’t know the people presenting this information deliberately limited themselves to only looking at human causes of climate change, thus ignoring all natural, that is, non-human, causes.”

Here are some of the non-CO2 causes of climate change:

  • reflectivity of dark earth as compared to snow
  • evaporation of water
  • condensation
  • reflectivity of clouds
  • infra-red radiation by water
  • methane content of air
  • other greenhouse gases
  • gross movement of air
  • deep ocean currents
  • salinity of the oceans
  • deforestation
  • crop growth
  • cities
  • volcanoes
  • highways
  • strength of the Earth’s magnetic field
  • strength of the sun’s magnetic field
  • solar storms
  • solar ultra-violet light
  • cosmic rays
  • the solar wind
  • the location of the Earth within our galaxy, the Milky Way
  • cloud cover leading to warmer nights. 

This is just a partial list. Do we have your attention yet?

All of the increases in living expenses associated with renewable energy are a disproportionate toll on low-income families. It has essentially no impact on the wealthy since power costs represent such a small proportion of their overall living expenses. But the impact on the poor and those living on fixed incomes can be exceptionally difficult to manage. In fact, the term ‘energy poor’ has arisen to describe households forced to spend more than 10% of their income to cover energy costs. Even in the U.S., G.T. Rochelle wrote in Science Magazine in September 2009 that one in four households are now energy poor due to expensive renewable energy policies. The situation is much worse throughout most of Europe. In the United Kingdom, environmentalists gleefully point out that higher energy prices have had the desired effects of lowering energy consumption and emissions. However, Dr. Bruce Bunker reports in his 2018 book The Mythology of Global Warming, that, in the winter of 2014-2015, an estimated 15,000 people in the U.K. died because they could not afford to heat their homes. 

In the U.S., the government subsidizes all home solar installations, so those who do not install them are paying vast sums of their tax money to those who do. But those costs are minor in comparison with the billions of dollars the government grants solar energy and other ‘green’ companies.

The only winner in the renewable energy sweepstakes is BIG Government.  Under the guise of ‘saving the planet,’ governments are now trying to micromanage entire economies. The socialist movement paints a picture of a utopian future in which a benevolent and infallible government oversees all aspects of energy and the economy. Hopefully the public will soon come to understand that such a political philosophy has never worked before and never will.

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Dr. Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute. He is an internationally renowned scientist, author, and speaker who has testified before Congress on dozens of occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the national government and many foreign countries. After graduating from Princeton University at the age of 20 with a degree in Geological Engineering, he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona. He later became executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. He has 40 years experience as a mechanical engineer/project manager, science and technology communications professional, technical trainer, and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic in Canada’s Parliament.

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