Wind and solar will never fill the enormous needs for renewable energy


Dear Editor,

The International Energy Agency, a highly respected source of energy information, has released a devastating report concerning the viability of energy generated by solar and wind. The 287-page report, “The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transmission,” covers a large body of data which has been largely ignored until recently. It requires mining industries and infrastructure that don’t exist.

Wind, solar and battery technologies are built from an array of “energy transmission minerals” that must be mined and processed. In order to meet renewable demands, lithium mining would have to increase by 4,200 percent, graphite by 2,500 percent, nickel by 1,900 percent and rare earth metals by 700 percent by 2040. The world does not have the capacity to meet such demand and there are no plans to fund and build the necessary mines and refineries.

Another problem is that it takes an average of 16 years from the time a mine site is found to a production start, and mining and mineral processing require large volumes of water and pose contamination risks through acid mine drainage, wastewater discharge and disposal of tailings. Further, expanded mining will occur, to a large extent, in China and in countries with poor governance, corruption and other liability risks.

Radical increases in demand will raise commodity prices, which reverberate through the global economy. The costs involved in meeting these challenges could wipe out the value of much or most of the emissions saved. 

These headwinds clearly show that wind and solar will never fill the enormous needs for renewable energy and spending trillions trying to do so will be wasted.

Reality is slowly creeping into the climate change transition and the sooner the better.

Paul Conklin Quigg ~ Luray, Va.

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  1. Oh, dear. Another supporter of the “Ban Solar” in Page County Movement. I’m still recovering from the opposition letter a few months ago that says that solar panels contain toxic chemicals, despite providing no evidential information to support that invented nonsense. Just another Page County resident who continues to live in the 20th Century. The cited report is highly questionable, considering its main argument is that there are not enough minerals available (I guess in the world) to create the necessary technologies. What? I guess nobody told the U.S. Department of Energy, which still continues to support non-polluting solar energy, that solar is a waste of valuable resources. I hope our local opponents, some of whom might have asthma or lung cancer, haven’t looked at the electrical bills during this long, hot summer.

    I guess there must be plenty of minerals available to continue to fire up coal-burning power plants and continue to cause lung problems for millions of people and former coal miners, not to mention all those wonderful air pollutants that block our views of the skies out here in rural Shenandoah Valley.

    I wonder what the International Energy Agency thinks about wind energy. I’m not aware that God is charging for wind power yet.

  2. Paul Quigg, what will replace the power stations that use fossil fuels (natural gas, oil) that the Virginia Clean Economy Act will put out of business by 2045?
    We await your answer.

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