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Destroying the Environment to Save It ^ | May 30, 2020 | Paul Driessen

Posted on 05/30/2020 4:19:04 AM PDT by Kaslin

“We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” The infamous Vietnam era quotation may or may not have been uttered by an anonymous US Army major. It may have been misquoted, revised, apocryphal or invented. But it quickly morphed into an anti-war mantra that reflected the frustrations many felt.

For Virginians and others forced to travel the “clean, green, renewable, sustainable” energy path, it will redound in modern politics as “We had to destroy the environment in order to save it.”

For example, weeks after Governor Ralph Northam signed a “Clean Economy Act” that had been rushed through a partisan Democrat legislature, Dominion Energy Virginia announced it would reach “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To do so, the utility company will raise family, business, hospital and school electricity bills by 3% every year for the next ten years – as they and state and local governments struggle to climb out of the financial holes created by the ongoing Coronavirus lockdown.

Just as bad, renewable energy mandates and commitments from the new law and Dominion’s “integrated resource plan” will have major adverse impacts on Virginia and world environmental values. In reality, Virginia’s new “clean” economy exists only in fantasy land – and only if we ignore CO2 emissions, air and water pollution, and other “clean energy” environmental degradation around the world.

Dominion Energy plans to expand the state’s offshore wind, onshore solar and battery storage capacity by some 24,000 megawatts of new “renewable” energy by 2035, and far more after that. It will retain just 9,700 MW of existing natural gas generation, and only through 2045, build no new gas-fired units, and retire 6,200 megawatts of coal-fired generation. This will reduce in-state carbon dioxide emissions, but certainly won’t do so globally. The company intends to keep its four existing nuclear units operating.

To “replace” some of its abundant, reliable, affordable fossil fuel electricity, Dominion intends to build at least 31,400 megawatts of expensive, unreliable solar capacity by 2045. The company estimates that will require a land area some 25% larger than 250,000-acre Fairfax County, west of Washington, DC. That means Dominion Energy’s new solar facilities will blanket 490 square miles (313,600 acres) of beautiful croplands, scenic areas and habitats that now teem with wildlife.

That’s almost half the land area of Rhode Island, eight times the District of Columbia, 14 times more land than all Fairfax County parks combined – blanketed by imported solar panels. Still more land will be torn up for access roads and new transmission lines. All this is just for Dominion Energy’s solar panels.

The panels will actually generate electricity maybe 20-25% of the year, once you factor in nighttime hours, cloudy days, and times when the sun is not bright enough to generate more than trifling electricity.

Dominion and other Virginia utility companies also plan to import and install 430 monstrous 850-foot-tall offshore wind turbines – and tens of thousands of half-ton battery packs, to provide backup power for at least a few hours or days when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. The batteries will prevent the economy from shutting down even more completely during each outage than it has during the Corona lockdown. Similar policies across America will impact hundreds of millions of acres.

Most of these solar panels, wind turbines and batteries – or their components, or the metals and minerals required to manufacture those components – will likely come from China or from Chinese-owned operations in Africa, Asia and Latin America ... under mining, air and water pollution, workplace safety, fair wage, child labor, mined land reclamation, manufacturing and other laws and standards that would get US companies unmasked, vilified, sued, fined and shut down in a heartbeat.

But it is those minimal to nonexistent laws and regulations that govern most of the companies and operations that will supply the “clean” technologies that will soon blight Virginia landscapes and serve the new “clean” Virginia economy. As Michael Moore observes in his new film, Planet of the Humans, other states that opt for “clean” energy will face the same realities.

Thus far, no one has produced even a rough estimate of how much concrete, steel, aluminum, copper, lithium, cobalt, silica, rare earth metals and countless other materials will be needed. All will require gigantic heavy equipment and prodigious amounts of fossil fuels to blast and haul away billions of tons of rocky overburden; extract, crush and process tens of millions of tons of ores, using acids, toxic chemicals and other means to refine the ores; smelt concentrates into metals; manufacture all the millions of tons of components; and haul, assemble and install the panels, turbines, batteries and transmission lines, setting them on top of tens of thousands of tons of concrete and rebar.

No one has tallied the oil, natural gas and coal fuel requirements for doing all this “Virginia Clean Economy” work – nor the greenhouse gases and actual pollutants that will be emitted in the process.

Nothing about this is clean, green, renewable or sustainable. But neither Dominion Energy nor Virginia government officials have said anything about any of this, nor about which countries will host the mining and other activities, under what environmental and human rights standards.

Will Virginians ever get a full accounting? Just because all of this will happen far beyond Virginia’s borders does not mean we can ignore the global environmental impacts. Or that we can ignore the health, safety and well-being of children and parents in those distant mines, processing plants and factories.

This is the perfect time to observe the environmentalist creed: think globally, act locally. Will that be done?

Will Dominion and Virginia require that all these raw materials and wind, solar and battery components be responsibly sourced? Will it require independently verified certifications that none of them involve child labor, and all are produced in compliance with US and Virginia laws, regulations and ethical codes for workplace safety, fair wages, air and water pollution, wildlife preservation, cancer prevention and mined lands reclamation? Will they tally up all the fossil fuels consumed, and pollutants emitted, in the process?

Science journalist, businessman and parliamentarian Matt Ridley says wind turbines need some 200 times more raw materials per megawatt of power than modern combined-cycle gas turbines. It’s probably much the same for solar panels. Add in the millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels and billions of backup batteries that would be required under a nationwide Green New Deal, and the combined US and global environmental, human health and human rights impacts become absolutely mind-boggling.

If you ignore all the land and wildlife impacts from installing the wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and transmission lines – you could perhaps call this “clean energy” and a “clean economy” within Virginia’s borders. But not beyond those borders. This is a global issue, and the world would likely be far better off if we just built modern combined-cycle gas turbines (or nuclear power plants) to generate reliable electricity – and avoided all the monumental human and ecological impacts of pseudo-renewable energy.

When it’s time to select sites for these 490 square miles of industrial solar facilities, will Virginia, its county and local governments, its citizens, environmentalist groups and courts apply the same rigorous standards, laws and regulations that they demand for drilling, fracking, coal and gas power plants, pipelines, highways, timber cutting and other projects? Will they apply the same standards for 100-foot-tall transmission lines as they do for buried-out-of-sight pipelines?

Virginia’s Clean Economy Act will also plunge almost every project and jurisdiction into questions of race, poverty and environmental justice. Dominion Energy and other electric utilities will have to charge means-tested rates (even as rates climb 3% per year) and exempt low-income customers from some charges. They will have to submit construction plans to “environmental justice councils” – even as the companies, councils and politicians ignore the rampant injustices inflicted on children and parents slaving away in Chinese, African and Latin American “clean energy” mines, processing plants and factories.

Government officials, utility industry executives, environmentalists and anyone else who promotes wind, solar, battery and biofuel energy need to explain exactly how they plan to address these issues. Future town hall meetings and project approval hearings promise to be raucous, entertaining and illuminating.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: climatechange; govagencies; greenenergy

1 posted on 05/30/2020 4:19:04 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Put Democrats in control and this is what you get. People in the United States need to wake up and see where Democrats are leading us. I watched the riots last night with both anger and sadness as people in Democrat controlled cities thought it was their right to burn and steal the property of others. And what did the administrations do? Fail to adequately address the situation and make excuses for rioters, in essence pandering for their future votes.

2 posted on 05/30/2020 5:01:20 AM PDT by Boomer One ( ToUsesn)
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To: Kaslin

When you start to make economic decisions to serve political ends you put yourself on the road to poverty.

3 posted on 05/30/2020 5:45:30 AM PDT by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit)
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To: Kaslin
This insane "renewable, sustainable energy" idea, done on a large scale makes zero economic or environmental sense.

Done on a small scale, building by building, it can make sense both ways in the long run.

But to make economic sense, it would require individuals to learn plumbing electricity, and some electronics.

I have been converting our house and mobile equipment to solar slowly for years.

For over 30 years we have heated all of our hot water in all but 3 to 4 months in the winter with solar, maybe 50% or so in the winter, with some house heating on sunny days.

It paid for itself in 3 months and has saved us $40,000 to $50,000 or perhaps more over that time.

I bought used collectors and did all of the work myself.

Buying new and paying a professional, it would have taken a lot longer to pay for itself.

This winter, added a 3KW pure sine inverter, and have been running 560 watts through 4 deep cycle batteries into it, taking a few things off grid.

It is NOT cost effective or reliable due to few hours of sun.

However, those panels are mounted on our Unimogs and Excursion, keeping their batteries up, which has paid off in not having to bother with trickle chargers and the batteries being properly maintained.

It's handy to take your power with you for ham radio equipment, induction cookers, Engel fridge/freezers, lighting, etc.

I wish people would focus on heating water with solar rather than generating electricity.

If everyone who uses electric hot water heaters, and had a way to do solar would make the switch, it would save a huge amount of electricity, be cost effective, and good for the environment as no exotic materials are required.

However, with few Americans having the skills or motivation, it's not going to happen.

4 posted on 05/30/2020 5:51:07 AM PDT by Mogger
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To: Kaslin
select sites for these 490 square miles of industrial solar facilities

The Democrat majority that vote for wind and solar projects always select sites in Republican majority areas to build their monstrosities, with zero reserved for decommissioning costs. The local Republicans get neither the construction jobs nor any of the "free" electricity, but will inherit the mess left behind. Almost all solar cells and wind turbines are products of the CCP.

5 posted on 05/30/2020 6:09:44 AM PDT by Reeses (A journey of a thousand miles begins with a government pat down.)
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To: Kaslin

If accurate, this is complete insanity. Even if somehow accomplished, it won’t work. The only hope is that within a few years the people of Virginia will revolt and overthrow everyone involved, before the devastation is irreparable.

6 posted on 05/30/2020 6:21:02 AM PDT by hinckley buzzard (Power is more often surrendered than seized)
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To: Kaslin

The real tsunami is the coming American pension shortfall. Democrats know this but want to bankrupt the system anyhow. They are closer to the ChiCom Revolutionaries than Americans.

7 posted on 05/30/2020 7:59:06 AM PDT by Jan_Sobieski (Sanctification)
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To: Kaslin

Seems to me that the state might also one day be able to announce “net zero energy effiency/sufficiency” if they proceed with this harebrained scheme. Haven’t these people (starting with their governor) learned anything yet about energy efficiency & sufficiency? I guess if you are setting out to ruin a state’s growth this might be a good place to start. At least they are apparently planning to keep their nuclear facilities. Good. They are going to need them. Maybe, if they are lucky, this will only mean badly overpriced electricity as far as the eye can see. If they choose to go ahead with this, it is my hope that other states planning something similar would have the forethought to adopt a wait & see attitude toward this plan.

8 posted on 05/30/2020 8:39:47 AM PDT by oldtech
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To: Jan_Sobieski
The real tsunami is the coming American pension shortfall.

That is why we have our own business in addition to our pensions.

So far it is doing well keeping up with inflation plus a little.

Allows us to travel if we want, or not.

9 posted on 05/30/2020 12:47:23 PM PDT by Mogger
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