The Enormous Costs of Wind and Solar Electricity Generation

Ignorance-based plans such as the Green New Deal propose that we terminate electricity generation by fossil fuels and replace all of it with renewables such as wind and solar. Proponents of such plans have not considered the environmental and economic implications.

The footprint for enough wind and solar plants to replace all fossil fuel generation is enormous.

If all electricity was supplied by solar generation it would require solar farms with a footprint of 525,312 square miles.

If all electricity was supplied by wind generation, it would require wind farms with a total footprint of 1,808,166 square miles.

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Because wind and solar generation are unreliable, these methods still would require backup generation with is usually natural gas or coal generation.

On the other hand, if all electricity was supplied by nuclear generation, it would require nuclear stations with a footprint of just 4,619 square miles. (Source)

Such large land requirements are very detrimental to the environment, and will wreak havoc with agriculture.

A new study from the American Enterprise Institute (full reportone-page summary) estimates that meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources would cost $490.5 billion per year, permanently, or $3,845 per year per household. It would also require 115 million acres of land to build wind and solar farms.

If the plan to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to “net-zero” by 2050 is fully implement, it would cut the global increase in temperature by 0.083 to 0.173 degrees C by 2100, a number barely distinguishable from zero.

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Carbon dioxide is continually being emitted into the atmosphere and absorbed by the oceans, plants, formation of limestone, etc. According to the U.S. Department of Energy annual emission reports, humans are responsible for about 3% of total CO2 emissions; the rest is from natural sources. Carbon dioxide constitutes about 3% to 4% of total greenhouse gases by volume; therefore anthropogenic CO2 represents just over one-tenth of one percent (0.12%) of total greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere each year. The U.S. is responsible for about 18% of global emissions, so elimination of U.S. emissions will make a difference of about 0.02%. Is that worth spending trillions of dollars and disrupting our economy? Will that save the planet?

See also:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

The Broken Greenhouse – why CO2 is a minor player in global climate

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