What’s Best at emissions control; Trees, Wind Farms or Solar Farms?

It is amusing to do a Google search with the simple words:  trees cut down to have solar farms, or trees cut down to have wind farms. The former generates over 26 million hits and the latter over 88 million.  Examining just a few dozen from either search alerts you to how convoluted and twisted the eco-warriors are about the either/or arguments in respect to; clearing trees or not clearing them to erect those IWT (industrial wind turbines) or lay down solar panels!

Leading to the searches was an article out of India titled:  “Felling of trees for solar power plants in Jodhpur raises hackles of locals, environmentalists”.  What catches the eye is the sentence: “While solar parks are being encouraged for providing clean energy, environmentalists and local communities in Rajasthan are concerned over their impact on the natural vegetation of the desert state.”  Wow, are people finally catching on?

A few of the Searches Catching the Eye on Solar Farms

A Korea Herald article from April 2019 noted “Since the government strongly pushed for solar power business in 2017, 4,407 hectares of forest have been damaged, 15 times the space of the Yeouido area of Seoul,”. It noted 2 million trees had been cut down to make way for solar panels and went on to state it was the opposition politicians of the Liberty Korea Party’s view that renewable energy shouldn’t be a replacement for nuclear energy.  Interestingly enough a recent announcement indicated Korea will expand its nuclear power in order to meet its climate targets.

Another article from May 2015 said Six Flags amusement park were seeking to clear-cut 90 acres for a solar farm in Central New Jersey to power their park but they received push-back from several environmental groups including the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. Those environmental groups even filed a lawsuit against Six Flags and the solar developer.  Amusingly the article went on to note; “The lawsuit was filed on the same day as a legislative panel in Trenton approved an aggressive ramping up of how much electricity in the state must come from renewable energy, a goal endorsed by most environmental groups.” The lawsuit was somewhat effective and wasn’t settled until 2018 and Six Flags was only allowed to clear-cut 40 acres so had to cover some of their parking lots with solar panels.

Yet another article from February 7, 2019 announced Georgetown University of Maryland was planning to get nearly half of its electricity power from solar power and went on to note:  “However, the university drew ire when it was announced that the solar farm it would construct in Nanjemoy, Maryland, would require clearing 210 acres of forested land on a peninsula near the Potomac River.  That raised the hackles of the environmentalists resulting in push-back. As a result; “Bonnie Bick, the political chair of the Southern Maryland Sierra Cluban organization famous for fighting for emission reduction with renewable energy – said, “I’m very much in favor of solar, but the solar needs to be properly sited. The question is not forest or solar, it’s where is the proper place to install solar?”  The push-back worked and Maryland blocked the project which resulted in the University instead contracting with existing solar farms in Maryland to purchase power from them under a PPA (power purchase agreement).

 A few of the Searches Catching the Eye on Wind Farms

One of the early finds in the Google search was one titled “A green paradox: Deforesting the Amazon for wind energy in the Global North” and curiosity piqued; it was viewed. The sub-heading was more enticing as it stated: “A shift to wind energy is leaving a trail of destruction in Ecuador, with a brutal impact on Indigenous communities and fragile ecosystems”. Reading the article, one discovers that the “trail of destruction” has been caused by the demand for balsa wood, a major component in the construction of wind turbine blades due to it being flexible and yet hard, while also being both light and resilient.  The article states: “The increased demand led to the deforestation of virgin balsa in the Amazon basin, in what came to be known as ‘balsa fever’. Balseros began to illegally deforest virgin balsa from the islands and banks of the Amazonian rivers in an effort to overcome the shortage of cultivated wood. This has had a terrible impact on the Indigenous peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon,” The demand for balsa has come from both Europe and China.  The article claimed; “In 2019, Ecuador exported $219m worth of balsa wood, up 30% from the previous record in 2015. In the first 11 months of 2020, it exported $784m worth.”  It sure appears the push by eco-warriors and their political followers to reach “net-zero” is “leaving a trail of destruction” and the Indigenous communities on the Amazon basin by clear-cutting those balsa wood trees.

A series of articles about Scotland’s push to create wind power also disclosed how it resulted in clear-cutting 17,283 acres and wiping out 14,000,000 trees to save the planet.  The foregoing claim was also backed up by a citizen inquiry to the Scottish Forestry arm of the Government who provided a partial response which stated “The area of felled trees in hectares, from 2000 (the date when the first scheme was developed, is 6,994 hectares. Based on the average number of trees per hectare, of 2000, this gives an estimated total of 13.9M.” For privacy reasons Scottish Forestry would not disclose the clear-cut trees or acres affected on private property.  An attempt to determine how many IWT (industrial wind turbines) were located in Scotland only seemed available on Wikipedia which said as of June 2020 they were 8,366 MW (megawatts). If the average IWT was 2 MW it suggests a total of 4,183 IWT. In order to secure the bases of those turbines scattered throughout the Scottish countryside those bases would need about 500 tons of concrete to secure each of them. That results in over 2 million tons of cement scattered underground throughout Scotland’s countryside. We should all wonder how that will save the planet from “global warming”?  There has been lots of push-back from Scottish anti-wind groups for years but without much success until very recently when ministers actually refused planning permission for a 39 turbine wind farm in the Highlands’ Monadhliath mountains as it would have a “significant visual impact”.

Perhaps the Scottish politicians were enamored by the fact it was a Scottish engineer, James Blyth who first generated electricity via a wind turbine back in 1887 to power the lights in his cottage but we will probably never know why they bought into the concept?

Conclusion

It seems obvious that not only are wind and solar generation intermittent and unreliable but are also costly and detrimental to forestry and all the nature existing in the forests they decimate.  They have done absolutely nothing to alter the climate under the pretext of saving the planet from climate change.

One should surmise, trees; not solar panels or IWT, are much better at reducing emissions so, STOP the push to replace the world’s forest with those unreliable energy sources!

Author: parkergallantenergyperspectivesblog

Retired international banker.

2 thoughts on “What’s Best at emissions control; Trees, Wind Farms or Solar Farms?”

  1. In Ottawa, one of the city’s climate change managers boasted to the IESO that there were “vast rural areas” available for wind power development. One assumes he is quite ok with chopping down trees, subsuming valuable farmland, killing wildlife and introducing noise pollution into the environment. All in the name of “climate action.”

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: