Briefing Note 22.1 February 2022
Serious environmental issues arise at ten stages of RE production, from mining raw materials to the disposal of turbines, batteries and solar panels at the end of their working lives.
Critical issues at the phase of construction
RE facilities, including the poles and wires required to carry the power to market from remote locations, demand massive amounts of land, concrete, steel, and metals including the essential rare earths.
A single wind turbine contains around 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of nonrecyclable plastic. Transport of the materials adds to the environmental impact, as does the disposal of the components when the facility is decommissioned.
The AEMO Integrated System Plan to double our electricity supply using wind and solar power calls for a ten-fold increase in large-scale wind and solar capacity and more than 10,000 km of new transmission lines.
Environmental impact is the dirty secret of the RE industry and when environmentalists realise what is happening many will not tolerate that amount of damage.
Recommendation. Legislate for comprehensive environmental impact statements to support applications for RE development, taking account of the ten stages from exploration to waste disposal.
Mark Lawson. Journalist and author. Website Highly recommended (RC)
For more information on the ten stages of environmental impact see the paper by Bill Stinson that can be accessed at this link.
The ten stages
Phase 1 – Raw material sourcing – Environment Destruction.
Phase 2 – Raw material mining
Phase 3 – Raw material processing – Environment Destruction, Human Rights Abuse, Toxic Waste
Phase 4 – Approval – Supply Chains – Modern Slavery, Human Rights Abuse
Phase 5 – Fabrication – Large Scale Environment Destruction
Phase 6 – Transportation “Throughout the solar PV manufacturing process all of the materials and products must be shipped to and from more than a dozen countries around the world in large barges, container ships, trains or trucks – all powered by non-renewable oil.”
Phase 7 – Construction – Environment Destruction, Tenuous Supply Chain, Toxic Waste
Phase 8 – Operation – Environment Destruction, Flora and Fauna Destruction,
Phase 9 – Demolition and Rehabilitation
Phase 10 – Disposal – Environment Destruction, Toxic Waste