Chasing The ‘Green’ Energy Dream: Or ‘How I Wasted 20 Years of My Life’

Plenty start out as fans of wind and solar power and turn against it, but it’s hard to find opponents who later become supporters.

Present the facts to reasonable people, and they’ll want to know how the wind and solar scam got started in the first place and why it hasn’t been stopped in its tracks already?

On that score, there has been plenty of ‘road to Damascus conversions’ amongst environmentalists, originally hoodwinked by the allure of energy sources designed to run on nothing but sunshine and breezes, and meant to save the planet from every possible threat, not least a (naturally) changing climate.

Michael Shellenberger – who started out as a passionate eco-warrior – has since become one of the wind and solar scam’s loudest critics, and the most forceful advocate for nuclear power, there is. He has slammed intermittent renewables as worse than useless – and has gone to great lengths to expose the climate industrial complex for what it is: Michael Shellenberger Exposes Climate Industrial Complex in ‘Apocalypse Never’.

Michael combines common sense, logic and reason, in an era when those attributes have become scarce commodities.

Now, another American eco-warrior has entered the fray. Like Shellenberger, Brian Gitt started out with stars in his eyes and a warm gooey feeling in his heart. Like Shellenberger, Brian Gitt has seen the light and, once seen, there is no turning back.

Chasing Utopian Energy: How I Wasted 20 Years of My Life
Real Clear Energy
Brian Gitt
26 June 2022

I wasted 20 years of my life chasing utopian energy.

Utopian energy is an imagined form of energy that’s abundant, reliable, inexpensive, and also clean, renewable, and life-sustaining. But utopian energy is as much a fantasy as a utopian society. Seeking the fount of perfect energy allows us to pretend there aren’t real-world tradeoffs between, say, banning fossil fuels and helping people in impoverished nations or between using solar and wind power and conserving natural habitats.

For years, I chased utopian energy. I promoted solar, wind, and energy efficiency because I felt like I was protecting the environment. But I was wrong! Feeling like you’re doing the right thing doesn’t mean you are. I just couldn’t admit it. My sense of identity was tied to my false beliefs about energy—myths that blinded me to what really does—and doesn’t—help the planet.

I’ve loved the outdoors since I was a teenager. I led mountaineering expeditions in Alaska, spent months backpacking in the Rockies, and climbed in national parks. My wilderness experiences led to my desire to protect these beautiful areas. I saw that a lot of people who tried to solve environmental issues worked in academia, nonprofits, or government, but they often failed to understand what it actually took to get things done in the real world. I didn’t want to be one of those people. I wanted to make a real difference.

I believe that to fix something, you need to understand it and that hands-on experience is the only way you can gain understanding. So I started building my knowledge and skills from the ground up.

I went to work in construction to build energy-efficient homes, and I started a company that built composting systems for cities and businesses. I became executive director of an organization that championed green building policies and became CEO of a consulting firm that commercialized clean energy technologies and ran energy-efficiency programs. I then founded a software startup to help promote green home upgrades, and I led business development for a company making wireless power technology.

I learned how to see things not just the way environmentalists do, but also the way utilities, governments, builders, engineers, lenders, and manufacturers see them.

But by 2008, I started to see cracks in my beliefs. The Obama administration had earmarked billions of dollars in federal funding to create jobs in the energy sector, and my company won multi-year contracts valued at over $60 million. Creating jobs and making buildings more energy-efficient were worthy goals. But the project was an utter failure. It didn’t get anywhere close to achieving the goals that the government had set. But what was really shocking to me was how the government refused to admit the project had failed. All of its public communications about the project boasted about its effectiveness.

I started to realize that I had accepted as true certain claims about energy and our environment. Now I began to see those claims were false. For example:

I used to think solar and wind power were the best ways to reduce CO2 emissions. But the biggest reduction in CO2 emissions during the past 15 years (over 60%) has come from switching from coal to natural gas.

I used to think that the world was transitioning to solar, wind, and batteries. This, too, was false. Trillions of dollars were spent on wind and solar projects over the last 20 years, yet the world’s dependence on fossil fuels declined only 3 percentage points, from 87% to 84%.

I used to believe nuclear energy was dangerous and nuclear waste was a big problem. In fact, nuclear is the safest and most reliable way to generate low-emission electricity, and it provides the best chance of reducing CO2 emissions.

It’s now clear I was chasing utopian energy. I was using green energy myths as moral camouflage, and I was able to believe those myths as long as I remained ignorant about the real costs and benefits of different energy sources.

I’ve dedicated most of my life to protecting the environment. But I was wrong about the best ways to do it. I thought I was acting morally and protecting the well-being of people and the planet. In fact, I was harming both.

If we’re serious about tackling climate change, protecting the environment, and helping people climb out of energy poverty around the world, we need to stop chasing utopian energy. Instead, it’s time to be honest about all the costs and benefits of every energy source—wind, solar, natural gas, coal, oil, and nuclear.

Here are eight principles that can help us evaluate energy options that will give us the best chance to bring about successful energy reform that protects both people and the planet.

  • Security: Does an energy source enable a country to maintain its autonomy? Controlling access to critical minerals and natural resources to make affordable, reliable energy is a precondition for liberty and self-determination. Relying on energy imports or minerals from other countries puts a nation at risk.
  • Reliability: Can people and businesses reliably access energy when they need it? A reliable energy system provides power 24/7/365.
  • Affordability: Is the energy source easily affordable for households and businesses? The cost of energy affects the cost of everything else. If energy is not affordable, businesses can’t make the products we want, and people will freeze to death in their own homes.
  • Versatility: How many different kinds of machines can the energy source power? We need energy to power machines that mine, drill, pave, fly, cut, pump, filter, transport, compact, excavate, grade, and lift.
  • Scalability: How many people can use the energy source across how many places? Wind, solar, and water resources are often located far away from where people live and work, making it difficult and expensive to transport the energy to where it is needed.
  • Emissions: What are the energy source’s effects on air pollution, GHG emissions, and water quality? Sources of emissions include mining, transportation, and electricity production.
  • Land use: What are the energy source’s effects on wildlife, habitat, farmland, viewsheds, and coastlines? For example, a typical 1,000-megawatt US nuclear power plant needs little more than 1 square mile to operate. Solar farms need 75 times more land to produce the same amount of energy. Wind farms need 360 times more.
  • Lifespan: How long will a source produce energy? Nuclear plants can operate for over 80 years and run for 100 years if they are well-maintained. By contrast, solar panels and wind turbines last only about 20 years.

I’m still on a mission to protect the beautiful landscapes I fell in love with when I was a young man. And I’m still committed to raising worldwide living standards, reducing pollution, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. But my firsthand experience has exposed the futility of chasing utopian energy sources. I’ve learned the mainstream narrative about what we should do to protect the environment will never accomplish those goals.

Now, my mission includes sharing what I have learned to promote energy sources that can be truly productive and lead to a path of actual, effective change.
Real Clear Energy

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. I believe all the above is true. Except the continued fear of CO2. It’s been a thousand times higher in our geological past. And life kept living. No one remembers that one of the first people to point out the possibility of warming by CO2, Arrhenius, said it would be good for the planet, making it more “fecund”

  2. Why did it take Brian Gitt 20 years to understand that unreliables are useless as a power source? He was essentially working at “the coal face” of this scam. He had an insight that very few people have. Was money an over-riding factor?
    I think that money and greed are at the heart of this scam. The gullible public having been indoctrinated by the meejia have bought into it hook,line & sinker.
    The politicians who have fallen for this scam will never admit that they were wrong. They will continue to double down on this utopia of “free power from wind & the sun”. $$$Trillions more will be wasted on this pipe dream.
    It is going to get much worse before sanity prevails.
    Good luck everyone, we are going to need it!

  3. Well, he’s halfway there. Now he needs to learn that CO2 is not pollution, and the Earth needs more of it, not less.
    Imagine if all those trillions had been spent on nuclear power and especially fusion research. By now the whole world would be well on the way to cheap, reliable energy.

  4. Reblogged this on Crawfordgold's Blog.

  5. ronaldsteinptsadvancecom says:

    Utopian energy is only electricity.

    Today, wind turbines and solar panels cannot manufacture anything for society.

    Utopians are unaware of the reality that the products manufactured from fossil fuels were the primary reasons the world populated from one to eight billion in less than 200 years. The major unintended consequence of divesting in crude oil is that efforts to cease the use of crude oil could be the greatest threat to civilization, not climate change.

  6. Stop the green Levy and constraint payments,
    Save the country side wildlife!

  7. Firstly a few facts on solar and wind…. carbon emission per kWh is 2-3 times higher than for nuclear…. so despite what Greta Tunberg argues if carbon emissions are dangerous we have to go for nuclear.Also the costs are still 3 times higher for wind thannuclear…
    Solar panels can be lower cost BUT will be first commissioned on the deserts in Sahara et. al. 12h sun 12h moon and usually you need less electric light when sun shines BUT low cost solar supplying factories with electricity in desert type environment Now to your listSecurity: Firstly the grid has to be national but with a transnation option for a “just in case” situationReliability: The Swedish combo Hydro & Nuclear worked well and we had 16GW+ hydro and 11-12 GW nuclear….. a very robust system…Affordability: The cost, LCC, is 3 times higher at plant leven and 6x higher when the back up systems are in playVersatility: Electricity can thru wires supply a lot…. machines (big ones) railways, and of course all non moving thongsScalability: In Sweden again we have the hydro plants 1.000 km and more away from the users…. yes wires are essential when small scale nuclear reactors are still far too much…. BUT if a submarine can host a reactor, or more, other things can use it… BUT there are excess costs in a lot of casesEmissions: What are the energy source’s effects on air pollution, GHG emissions, and water quality? Sources of emissions include mining, transportation, and electricity production.Land use: What are the energy source’s effects on wildlife, habitat, farmland, viewsheds, and coastlines? For example, a typical 1,000-megawatt US nuclear power plant needs little more than 1 square mile to operate. Solar farms need 75 times more land to produce the same amount of energy. Wind farms need 360 times more. YES BPF that could be relevant in Sweden the Forsmark nuclear plant has about the same footprint sp then we are with wind at 1.000 times and solar 200 times although thasin mid summer time in winter we get cold and the nuclear in Ukraine is furthermore a factor 2 ahead 6 reactors att the same spot Lifespan: How long will a source produce energy? Nuclear plants can operate for over 80 years and run for 100 years if they are well-maintained. By contrast, solar panels and wind turbines last only about 20 years.YES if you go bottom line nuclear rules and we have had some castrofic things Three mile island NO casualties, Tjernobyl a military thing tha had a series if incidents in order to stress the plant and Fukushima sorry to say many drowned in the Tsunami a few died from radiation and the consequences got more severe due to non secure design and a lack of care  
    AND BTW briljant post……

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