How Green Is This?: Millions of Toxic Solar Panels & Wind Turbine Blades Destined for Landfill

The millions of solar panels being dumped in landfills are a veritable toxic cocktail of gallium arsenide, tellurium, silver, crystalline silicon, lead, cadmium and other heavy metals.

Then there’s the landfill legacy being created by wind turbine blades, with the First World cynically using the Third World as its dumping ground: ‘Green’ Energy’s Poisonous Legacy: Millions of Toxic Turbine Blades Destined for African Landfills

Thousands of 45-70m blades (weighing between 10 to 25 tonnes) are being ground up and mixed with concrete used in the bases of other turbines erected later or simply dumped in landfill. Which should worry locals: the plastics in the blades are highly toxic, and contain Bisphenol A, which is so dangerous to health that the European Union and Canada have banned it.

At a time when renewable energy rent seekers and their political promoters are still raving about the benefits of so-called ‘green’ energy, here’s a sobering account of where this insanity will end: a landfill near you and yours.

Turns Out Green Energy Is A Dirty Business
Climate Change Dispatch
Editorial
27 August 2020

We argued last week that California’s blackouts offered a grim preview of the left’s energy agenda. But that’s only part of the carefully concealed truth about renewables.

Those solar panels so precious to the you-must-conform green-shirts are a particularly nasty environmental menace.

“The state, once known for its plentiful, cheap and reliable energy supplies, is now dealing with rolling blackouts as its green energy infrastructure buckles under the strain of summer heat,” we said Thursday because the wind sometimes refuses to blow and the sun isn’t always shining, not even in California.

Of course, a few virtue-signaling commenters charged to the table in their electric vehicles to praise the virtues of renewable energy, which in California will be limited primarily to the wind and solar.

Hydro sources, responsible for more than 12% of the state’s electricity, won’t be included in the portfolio in 2045, the year power is to be by decree generated by renewables only.

Other renewables, such as geothermal, maybe 5%, and biomass, not much more than 2%, provide such minute portions of California electricity they are hardly worth mentioning.

Left out of the often mistaken, never-in-doubt assertions of renewables’ unalloyed goodness is the fact that the hardware used is hardly renewable. It wears out and needs to be replaced. Then what?

“The problem of solar panel disposal ‘will explode with full force in two or three decades and wreck the environment’ because it ‘is a huge amount of waste and they are not easy to recycle,’” writes energy analyst Michael Shellenberger, quoting a Chinese recycling official.

In his 2018 Forbes column headlined “If Solar Panels Are So Clean, Why Do They Produce So Much Toxic Waste?”, Shellenberger also quotes a four-decade veteran of America’s solar industry, who said: “The reality is that there is a problem now, and it’s only going to get larger, expanding as rapidly as the PV industry expanded 10 years ago”; and researchers from the Institute for Photovoltaics in Stuttgart, Germany, who found that “contrary to previous assumptions, pollutants such as lead or carcinogenic cadmium can be almost completely washed out of the fragments of solar modules over a period of several months, for example by rainwater.”

More recently, Hazardous Waste Experts reported worn-out solar panels are “a potent source of hazardous waste,” producing a “dilemma” that “is especially virulent in California, Oregon, and Washington, as those states started adopting solar energy earliest in the game – suggesting that eco-virtue mightn’t necessarily be its own reward.”

And just as solar and wind chew up immense tracts of real estate, so, too, will the retirement of solar energy’s constituent parts.

“If solar and nuclear produce the same amount of electricity over the next 25 years that nuclear produced in 2016, and the wastes are stacked on football fields, the nuclear waste would reach the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (52 meters), while the solar waste would reach the height of two Mt. Everests (16 km),” says Environmental Progress, which also tells us that “solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy than do nuclear power plants.”

Here’s more:

While nuclear waste is contained in heavy drums and regularly monitored, solar waste outside of Europe today ends up in the larger global stream of electronic waste.

Solar panels contain toxic metals like lead, which can damage the nervous system, as well as cadmium, a known carcinogen. Both are known to leach out of existing e-waste dumps into drinking water supplies.

Even Grist, a magazine that is surely read out loud in late-evening group sessions at Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional office, notes “solar panels are starting to die” and ponders “what will we do with the megatons of toxic trash.”

The environmental risk of renewables isn’t limited to solar, either. Those monstrous sails that spin on view-spoiling, bird-killing windmills have to be retired, too.

“Researchers estimate the U.S. will have more than 720,000 tons of blade material to dispose of over the next 20 years, a figure that doesn’t include newer, taller higher-capacity versions,” National Public Radio reported last year.

“It’s a waste problem that runs counter to what the industry is held up to be: a perfect solution for environmentalists looking to combat climate change.”

Of course, we haven’t even touched on the environmental damage caused by renewables before they’ve even produced a single watt of energy. We’ll cover that later.

For now, we’ll let stand as our argument the comment left by energy consultant Ronald Stein, who helpfully pointed out that much of the raw material used to build our “clean” energy equipment “comes from foreign countries” that mine “with no environmental regulations,” which leads “to unrecoverable environmental degradations.”

Clean energy sure is a dirty business.
Climate Change Dispatch

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Peter Pronczak says:

    Let’s talk about Greta…
    Because of a large number of Nazi refugees, the Swedish Society for Eugenics (Malthusian philosophy) forced sterilisation laws similar to Germany’s from 1934 to 1976.
    Green politics are based on Nazi environmentalism that determined ‘ordinary people’ incapable of truly appreciating the natural environment.
    To the ends of population reduction of the destructive ‘vermin of lower classes’ between 1965-1976 in US dollars was contributed; USA $876M, Sweden $134M, UK $25M, West Germany $23M, Japan $22M, Canada $34M, Denmark $19M, Belgium $2.4M, Australia $1.6M, OPEC countries $2.6M. Source: Julian Simon The Ultimate Resource 1981, quoted Robert Zubrin Merchants of Despair 2013.

    Deceived into believing global warming as an historical blink of human cause, rather than 5 billion years of weather creating land displacement sea level rise, renewable energy rather than safe reliable nuclear energy that can make the Bradfield Scheme and the rest including large water dam projects, obsolete, along with providing jobs, greening deserts, population dispersal, populist politics bow to their unregulated foreign masters.
    What’s not to understand?

  2. Graeme No.3 says:

    Bisphenol A would be there as part of the epoxy resins used to fabricate the blades now (originally polyester resin was used but not strong enough).
    The chances of it leaching into the surrounding soil are remote. It is reacted as an ether to make the epoxy resin, then further cross linked when the blade is made. The result would resist breakdown by boiling hydrochloric acid.
    As an example, epoxy cross linked with phenolic resin was used for can lining for at least 60 years without adverse results. Anything that can stand up to Coca Cola (pH 2) isn’t going to be bothered by any ground water.

    • Bet your life on it? What about your great grandkids? Millions of blades will go into landfill in the next 20 years. They will be there for centuries.

    • Colin Megson says:

      It’s probable the blades will have to be ground up which will mean the release of micro glass and micro epoxy resin particles that could be carried by groundwater.

      Not a pleasant thought, if it gets into drinking water or into water destined for food washing or preparation.

  3. Colin Megson says:

    Meeting thew National Grid’s FES 2020 Scenario (Consumer Transformation) means 83 GW of offshore wind operational by 2050. But if it’s started now, the first wind farms built will have to be decommissioned by 2045 and replaced by new wind farms.

    This will have to happen from 2050 onward, every year – Forever & Ever & Ever! By 2075, all 83 GW will have been decommissioned and 1,000,000 tonnes of GRP wind turbine blades will be heading for landfill sites. That’s 2,000,000 by the end of this century, then 4,000,000 tonnes every century thereafter.

    By the end of this century, a map showing the build-out of offshore wind ringing the entire UK coastline, demonstrates just how much seabed will be occupied year after year – Until the end of Time.

    Free green energy my bottom!

    Search for: “what is the environmental impact of offshore wind farms?”

  4. Sylvia Priest says:

    A huge solar panel area in Kent in UK has been approved. Any of the above information was not mentioned!

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