The United States’ rapid switch to relying solely on renewable energy sources like wind and solar power requires far too much land, compared to keeping the country’s energy systems as they are.
Maxine Joselow, a climate-focused staff writer for the Washington Post, warned that the decision to focus more on land-intensive renewables like solar, wind and hydro means difficult decisions about land use need to be made because this will have a “profound impact” on the nation.
“Large-scale wind and solar farms require at least 10 times as much land per unit as coal- and natural gas-fired power plants, including the land used to produce and transport the fossil fuels, research shows,” noted Joselow. (Related: There is no climate emergency: Around 1,500 scientists and professionals oppose net-zero CO2 policy.)
“But only a fraction of all land is suitable for development. One site might have the wrong slope for solar panels, while another area might be home to an endangered species that development could doom,” she added.
In practical terms, to fulfill President Joe Biden’s goal of having an emission-free electricity grid by 2035, the U.S. needs to increase its carbon-free energy production capacity by at least 150 percent.
Today, only 81 million of the country’s 2.43 billion acres of land is used to power the country’s economy. The total footprint used up to generate hydro, nuclear, solar and wind energy is 16.13 million acres of land.
Meanwhile, land currently used for fossil fuels – oil and gas drilling and fracking-sand mining sites, petroleum and gas pipeline easements, coal mining, transport and waste storage operations and fossil fuel power plants – use up just 8.55 million acres of land. Slightly more than half of what the U.S. currently uses for hydro, wind and solar generation, despite producing so much more energy for the country.
Even if taking into account all of the land used for power lines to transmit the energy generated by fossil fuels across the country – 4.8 million acres – it still doesn’t use up the same amount
According to Princeton’s analysis of various pathways for Biden to achieve his goal of having a carbon-free American economy by 2050 and how much land it would take, the most land-intensive plan eliminates all fossil fuels and nuclear plants. Wind and solar would provide 98 percent of all electric power by 2050, with additional energy needs to be met by a mix of batteries, hydropower and combustion turbines that burn carbon-free synthetic fuels and hydrogen.
For this plan to make every single home, building, factory, electric vehicle and more in America run on clean energy, the U.S. energy footprint would need to quadruple in size, and wind farms alone would occupy land areas equivalent to Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma combined. This is equivalent to an additional 250 million acres of wind farms, 17 million more acres of solar farms and 15 million acres of offshore wind farms.
“Is there even enough uninhabited land to build 250 million acres of new wind farms?” asked Dave Merrill, writing for Bloomberg.
In Princeton’s most optimistic estimates in the highest renewables scenario, 11 percent of electric power could come from offshore wind farms and another three percent of power could come from rooftop solar panels. This still leaves around 84 to 86 percent of energy generation left to massive wind and solar farms.
Learn more about the government’s forced transition to green energy at GreenTyranny.news.
Watch this clip from InfoWars as host Owen Shroyer discusses why green energy policies will never work.
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