Wednesday, 02 February 2011 09:52

“Green” Wind Power Devastates Environment

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Alternative energy production has often proven to be of dubious benefit to the overall economy, but it has served as an arena offering environmentalists the opportunity to feel better about living a modern lifestyle — at the cost of massive federal subsidies to less efficient forms of energy production. But an in-depth study of the horrific environmental costs associated with wind power generation is calling into question an entire branch of alternative energy.

An extensively researched report for the UK’s Daily Mail reveals one of the apparently-unavoidable byproducts of “green” wind power: a vast lake of toxic, radioactive sludge resulting from the production of the powerful magnets needed at the heart of every wind turbine. Thus far, the absurd contradiction at the heart of the expansion of wind power in the United Kingdom has been hidden from the public, because the pollution is far removed from the eyes of the public: the rare earths needed for making the wind turbines are processed in Mongolia, and it is alleged that corporate interests and environmentalists have either concealed that pollution, or attempted to downplay its effects, to avoid public backlash against the expensive and inefficient alternative energy. For years, Europeans (and Americans) have been subjected to a guilt trip to convince them to pay vastly higher energy bills to stop the supposed environmental effects of their material success. If, however, the public becomes aware of the fact that the environmentalists’ "solution" is vastly worse than the supposed problem, the damage to the credibility of the environmentalist movement could be substantial.

The reporters for the Daily Mail set forth in horrific detail the environmental waste which is the byproduct of mining for rare earths needed to produce the powerful magnets required in the manufacture of electric cars and wind turbines:

Hidden out of sight behind smoke-shrouded factory complexes in the city of Baotou, and patrolled by platoons of security guards, lies a five-mile wide "tailing" lake. It has killed farmland for miles around, made thousands of people ill and put one of China’s key waterways in jeopardy.

This vast, hissing cauldron of chemicals is the dumping ground for seven million tons a year of mined rare earth after it has been doused in acid and chemicals and processed through red-hot furnaces to extract its components.

Rusting pipelines meander for miles from factories processing rare earths in Baotou out to the man-made lake where, mixed with water, the foul-smelling radioactive waste from this industrial process is pumped day after day. No signposts and no paved roads lead here, and as we approach security guards shoo us away and tail us. When we finally break through the cordon and climb sand dunes to reach its brim, an apocalyptic sight greets us: a giant, secret toxic dump, made bigger by every wind turbine we build.

The lake instantly assaults your senses. Stand on the black crust for just seconds and your eyes water and a powerful, acrid stench fills your lungs.

For hours after our visit, my stomach lurched and my head throbbed. We were there for only one hour, but those who live in Mr. Yan’s village of Dalahai, and other villages around, breathe in the same poison every day....

Dalahai villagers say their teeth began to fall out, their hair turned white at unusually young ages, and they suffered from severe skin and respiratory diseases. Children were born with soft bones and cancer rates rocketed.

Official studies carried out five years ago in Dalahai village confirmed there were unusually high rates of cancer along with high rates of osteoporosis and skin and respiratory diseases. The lake’s radiation levels are ten times higher than in the surrounding countryside, the studies found.

Since then, maybe because of pressure from the companies operating around the lake, which pump out waste 24 hours a day, the results of ongoing radiation and toxicity tests carried out on the lake have been kept secret and officials have refused to publicly acknowledge health risks to nearby villages.

Such appalling effects on human life and the general environment ought to give environmentalists reason to pause before backing such ruination; but, as Daily Mail reporters discovered, such an impact was apparently calculated as an acceptable loss when it transpired half a world away: Craig Bennett of Friends of the Earth declared, “No way of generating energy is 100 per cent clean and problem-free.” Given the unreliability, expense and environmental and health problems associated with wind turbines, why not go back to the proven technologies which have well served the inhabitants of the United Kingdom for the past few generations?

That is where the European Union’s environmental regulations come into the story.

Because of an arbitrary declaration that every EU member nation would have to generate a substantial portion of its energy from renewable sources, the UK is faced with the burden of generating 30 percent of its electricity from such sources by the year 2020. This has resulted in wind turbines sprouting up everywhere, marring the natural beauty of the countryside, even as the toxic waste generated by the frantic production of the turbines despoils the farmland of another nation.

According to the Daily Mail, the absurd inefficiencies of wind power resulted in the UK’s 3,153 turbines producing a mere .2 percent — yes, that’s one-fifth of one percent — of the needed power during the bitter cold which blanketed the nation this past December. (Operating at peak efficiency, the turbines should have been able to provide almost ten percent of the needed power, but unreliable winds had the turbines functioning at less than 2.5 percent of their capacity.) And both private citizens and industry will be financially devastated for the sake of such an absurdly ineffective means of energy production, contends the Daily Mail:

By 2020, environmental regulation will be adding 31 per cent to our bills. That’s £160 green tax out of an average annual bill of £512. As costs rise, more people will be driven into fuel poverty. When he was secretary of state at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband decreed that these increases should be offset by improvements in energy efficiencies.

It’s a view shared by his successor Chris Huhne, who says inflation due to RO will be effectively one per cent. Britain’s low-income families, facing hikes in petrol and food costs, will hope he’s right. Individual households aren’t the only ones shouldering the costs. Industry faces an even bigger burden. By 2020, environmental charges will add 33 per cent to industry’s energy costs.

Clearly, neither human beings nor the environment should have to endure the impact of the triumph of the “green” ideology. Human beings and the beauty of the natural world are too precious to be made the playthings of globalists who are aiming to remake the economy according to their own agenda.

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