Land Hunger Games: Biden’s Plan to Carpet America With Energy Diffuse Wind & Solar

It’s not just wind and solar power’s pathetic performance that makes the whole virtue signalling exercise so utterly pointless.

It’s also the fact that, to generate anything other than a trivial amount of electricity, you need the best part of a continent’s land area to do it.

To accommodate 2,000 MW of coal, gas or nuclear power generation plant requires the same area taken up by a couple of 18-hole golf courses. Whereas, accommodating 2,000 MW of wind power requires an area the size of Belgium.

Oh, almost forgot, and then you still need 2,000 MW of coal, gas or nuclear power to accommodate those hundreds of occasions each year when wind and solar power is producing absolutely nothing. Sound pointless to you? Then it probably is. Here’s Robert Bradley picking up the thread.

Land-Intensive Renewables: Three TW of Wind and Solar = 228,000 sq. miles
Master Resource
Robert Bradley Jr.
1 April 2021

“[Brian] Ross was stunned by his first look at a map of the Twin Cities region … show[ing] a hypothetical horizon in 2050 filled with new wind farms sprouting less than 40 miles from downtown Minneapolis…. Five other U.S. cities are similarly “mapped”…. ‘Holy moly,’ Ross exclaimed. ‘How on Earth are you going to get people not coming with pitchforks and tar to these siting meetings?’”

“Though [the Princeton] study concludes that ‘adequate land area exists’ to deploy enough wind and solar power … getting there will require building wind and solar units and power lines right now matching the highest annuals levels ever achieved in the United States. And development would only accelerate from there.” (E&E News.)

Sometimes even the mainstream media gets an inconvenient fact out there amid the hype of a narrative. (Maybe with Trump out and Biden in, such things can be discussed.) And so it recently happened in an E&E article last week by Peter Behr and Jeffrey Tomich, “Biden’s Dilemma: Land for Renewables” (March 24, 2021).

“Picture an area of land equal to the combined territories of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island — 228,000 square miles in all,” the article began. “That’s the space that could be required to site most of the massive deployments of wind and solar generation required to fulfill President Biden’s goal of a net-zero-carbon economy by midcentury, according to a recent first-ever project to attempt mapping that future.”

BOOM!

This estimate was produced in “Net Zero America: Potential Pathways, Infrastructure and Impacts,” a 345-page study released late last year authored by 10 Princeton researchers and 8 external collaborators.

Tucked way on page 172 of “this extraordinary study” (John Holdren, Foreword) is this summary.

Cumulative land use impacts of wind and solar deployment in the E+ case (2021-2050):

    • Total area spanned by onshore wind and solar farms is ~590,000 sq-km, an area roughly equal to the size of IL, IN, OH, KY, TN, MA, CT and RI put together. Offshore wind farms span 33,000 sq-km.
    • Wind projects drive total farm area, which is concentrated in the Great Plains and Midwest and primarily on crop, pasture, and forested lands.
    • Wind farms have large spatial extent and significant visual impact, but directly impact only 1% of total site area and can co-exist with farming and grazing.
    • Conversely, directly impacted land area is dominated by solar and greatest in the Northeast and Southeast; forested lands make up the largest directly impacted land cover type.
    • Solar farms are more compact but also more intensive, directly impacting ~90% of their area.
    • Wind and solar present different land use impacts, with particular advantages and challenges.
    • Cumulative total wind and solar farm area in E+ RE+ by 2050 is ~1 million km2, or roughly an area the size of AK, IA, KS, MO, NE, OK, and WV combined (with an additional 64,000 km2 of offshore wind); directly impacted lands total 70,000 km2, an area larger than WV.
    • Only 3% of Constrained solar candidate project areas are selected in E+ and 5% in E+ RE+, indicating potential to substantially reconfigure solar siting to minimize conflict.
    • Wind farms use 57% and >100% of Constrained candidate project areas in E+ and E+ RE+, respectively, and face shortfalls in some regions, indicating greater potential for wind to be constrained by siting challenges.

This is a battle at the grassroots, where renewables are at a distinct disadvantage with nature–and man. Behr and Tomich note:

For generations, the placement of energy infrastructure has pitted utilities and developers against protesting residents who want no part of it…. “People completely underestimate the scale of the challenge,” said Jürgen Weiss, co-author of a study by the Brattle Group on meeting New England’s clean energy goals.

Continuing:

Brian Ross, a vice president at the St. Paul, Minn.-based Great Plains Institute, knows firsthand how hard it can be for energy companies to secure land for wind and solar farms. He’s spent over two decades of his career working with local governments on sustainable development.

Ross was stunned by his first look at a map of the Twin Cities region from the Princeton study. It shows a hypothetical horizon in 2050 filled with new wind farms sprouting less than 40 miles from downtown Minneapolis, representing the scale of the required renewable power growth. Five other U.S. cities are similarly “mapped” in the analysis. “Holy moly,” Ross exclaimed. “How on Earth are you going to get people not coming with pitchforks and tar to these siting meetings?”

Continuing:

… the [Princeton] analysis offers an answer … by ruling out types of land parcels that don’t make sense geographically or politically, such as steep slopes, floodplains, protected wilderness areas and sites with concentrated populations….

The analysis does not hedge on the enormousness of the task. Though it concludes that “adequate land area exists” to deploy enough wind and solar power to meet a national zero greenhouse gas emissions target in 2050, getting there will require building wind and solar units and power lines right now matching the highest annuals levels ever achieved in the United States. And development would only accelerate from there.

Peter Behr and Jeffrey Tomich’s “Biden’s Dilemma: Land for Renewables” ends soberly by quoting Jesse Jenkins, coauthor of the Princeton study:

We need to build a lot of new things. We are not going to sustain a transition on the scale, magnitude and pace required to get to net zero unless we have in effect a social compact…. If we continue the ways we have of last several decades … I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere close to the pace required.

Final Thought
It is back to William Stanley Jevons, the father of energy economics. “We cannot revert to timber fuel,” he wrote in 1865, “for ‘nearly the entire surface of our island would be required to grow timber sufficient for the consumption of the iron manufacture alone.’” What is true for wood and plants is also true for dilute, intermittent wind and solar as modern energies.

Also remember the late Peter Huber, who memorably wrote (Hard Green: Saving the Environment from the Environmentalists [1999], pp. 105, 108):

The greenest fuels are the ones that contain the most energy per pound of material that must be mined, trucked, pumped, piped, and burnt. … [In contrast], extracting comparable amounts of energy from the surface would entail truly monstrous environmental disruption…. The greenest possible strategy is to mine and to bury, to fly and to tunnel, to search high and low, where the life mostly isn’t, and so to leave the edge, the space in the middle, living and green.

Master Resource

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. These views are my own.

    The absurdity of the situation we now find ourselves in, is perhaps well illustrated in this episode of the TV classic, The Good Life. Tom and Barbara’s self sufficiency efforts would be frowned upon by today’s Climate mafia! They eat meat, and power their off grid home with animal manure, leading to CO2 emissions! Tut, tut.

    The hard Left’s ideology of today has overshot the runway. It could even be argued that ‘they’ do not want to encourage self sufficiency, because ‘they’ could not control you. If ‘they’ can persuade you to hook up to a micro grid, for example, then ‘they’ WOULD have control of you!

    I think Tom and Barbara were more on the money. But speaking as a vegetarian of over 20 years, I could not raise animals for meat. The difference is however, I do not preach this to the next person. If they wish to eat meat, then that is entirely their decision. It’s called ‘free will.’

    Ah, the London of the 1970’s. Captured to perfection by the producers of The Good Life, even if Vyvyan from the Young Ones would disagree! Good luck to Laurence Fox in the coming Mayoral Election. Here’s hoping he can restore some sanity to the situation in London. A balance is what is needed. The UK should seriously consider putting a ceiling on immigration numbers, because the families who already live there, of all nationalities, need space to bring up their own children, and to have some quality of life. If the country is allowed to endlessly expand, everyone loses out, and reduced living standards will prevail. The World is a big place. Great Britain is not! The way things are currently going in the UK, how many families will even have the option of a garden to grow their own fruit and vegetables? Or get off the grid, as a life choice? A world of micro grids and low flying drones does not sound very appealing to me. Besides, drones can be lethal, if they drop on your head! I own a P3 drone, which weighs close to a kilo. Imagine if this were to be involved in a flyaway incident, or drop several hundred metres from the sky, in a crowded city! There are some seriously dumb arse proposals being thrown around at the moment, by some heavyweight influencers, who really should know better.

    The script writers of this episode of the The Good Life – ‘The Thing In The Cellar’ certainly touched on issues that were way ahead of their time, especially in the mid 1970’s!

    Thanks to the publisher of this slightly abridged version of, ‘The Thing In The Cellar’…

  2. I’ve been researching wind and solar energy for many years. These so-called renewable (ruinable), energy sources are part of the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind and environmentally and technologically illiterate politicians and the climate crisis cult crowd have got to be the most stupid or gullible people in the world.
    On the other hand, this scam is part of the New World Government’s great reset plan and it is using climate and the Chinese virus as tools to coerce and spread fear among the common people of the world in the elitists goal to destroy those same common people. Beware the coming Communist takeover by leftist politicians, big tech and the Billionaire wealthy all organized by the United Nations and the Davos World Economic Forum

  3. https://www.npr.org/2019/05/27/723501793/american-soil-is-increasingly-foreign-owned

    “Ohio, like Texas, also has no restrictions, and nearly half a million acres of prime farmland are held by foreign-owned entities. In the northwestern corner of the state, below Toledo, companies from the Netherlands alone have purchased 64,000 acres for wind farms.”

  4. Shouldn’t those solar panels be painted white to reflect the heat? The photo clearly shows they are GLOBAL WARMING FARMS not green clean anything. The climate nuts waste all our energy painting rooftops white which was done anyway by people especially in deserts which actually helps keep a house cooler, which was something to maintain a small environment to save energy effectively not as a global solution to non existent global warming without equal cooling, and using that as an example they go hyper proreactive and paint asphalt white, make laws to ban black paint, make everything sold be just white, then put these black panels in over vast acreage to cover open spaces that once was producing actual bonifide green energy made by plant life that absorbs, uses, lives on and recycles carbon, and even cools and maintains a balance including that of wildlife, insects, everything. Then they claim that towering windscrapers will save us which when they actually do create electricity, slow down the cooling breezes thus they add to global warming which those of us with a brain know does not exist as the entire planet is in balance and what man does is like throwing a stone in the ocean and claiming that since the scientist measured a wave in Hawaii’s north shore it was caused by that. The climate cult leaders do not care and they all know they are hustling.

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