Today’s ‘green’ industry, tomorrow’s rust belt


It is a well-known and proven axiom: History repeats, but not exactly.

Once again, we are hearing promises of vast rewards and riches, and we should be reminded that the road to hell is paved with (promised) good intentions.  The promise of good paying jobs, a cleaner environment and plenty of money for the county government to burn seems too good to be true.  That is because it is too good to be true.  Solar and wind energy projects are being promoted by snake oil salesmen as the fuels of the future.  Maybe someone should look into these claims more closely.

Maybe, the Washington politicians who originally foisted these ideas on the American public were secretly being influenced by powerful special interests.  As far as I know, nobody to date has pointed out that in order for solar and wind power to fully come into their own, it will require the largest expansion of mining the world has ever seen and would produce unimaginable amounts of waste.

Wind and solar machines and batteries are made from non-renewable materials.  One of the end results of widespread expansion of these energy sources will be the requirement of hundreds of additional hazardous material landfills. 

Nobody has yet observed that, when electricity comes from wind and solar machines, every unit of energy produced or mile traveled requires far more materials and land than fossil fuels.  A wind or solar farm stretching from horizon to horizon can be easily replaced by a handful of gas-powered turbines that could easily fit into tractor trailers.

The building of one wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concreate and 45 tons of plastic, much of which will ultimately end up buried in place or end up in countless landfills.  These statistics are quoted from the Wall Street Journal.  Our Earth will be seriously defiled to produce these “towers of clean air, and, upon the end of their productive lifespan, it will again be defiled to dispose of them.

The mining, fabrication and shipping required of solar and wind requires the consumption of massive amounts of hydrocarbons, and the industry bills itself as “green.”  They have go to be kidding!  They are, but their joke is on a gullible public.

America has abundant examples of how industry abandons and walks away from its outdated industries.  The term “rust belt” certainly comes to mind.  It is my fear that today’s “green” industry will be our tomorrow’s rust belt.

Paul Williams