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A Dose of Reality for Alternative Energy

Posted by greg2213 on May 5, 2013

And that dose of reality is the fossil fuel that needed to make it real. The rare earths that are required which just switch our dependencies from one country to the other. The large amount of diesel fuel that’s required to ship pieces from one place to another.

Checxk this our from

Consider this oddball energy scheme. A tree is cut down in British Columbia with a diesel-fueled chainsaw. The trunk is transported on a truck, also running on diesel, to a sawmill. An automated production line makes a load of woodchips for a 5,000-kilometer delivery by diesel train or truck to an East Coast port.

Then more fossil fuel-burning transportation machinery ships the chips across the Atlantic Ocean and Europe to a power plant which is mandated to produce 20 per cent renewable energy. These wood chips are officially considered carbon neutral and the energy they produce is called clean.

It’s being done because under current regulations it makes sense economically. But as a way to attain environmental goals that inspire policies like the 20 per cent renewable energy requirement, it is a disaster. Not only is the wood-chip scheme far from carbon neutral, it is not going to improve energy security and only deepens the dependence on the fossil fuels it is supposed to replace.


Of nine challenges that he describes, one of the biggest is the dependence of renewable energy technology on non-renewable natural resources such as the lithium used to produce car batteries or the rare earths used in LED lights, magnets on windmills and PV panels. Switching energy forms just means trading dependence on Middle Eastern oil for reliance on lithium from Bolivia or Chinese rare earths. China saw its opportunity and has curtailed exports of rare earths in order to force the alternative energy equipment industry to locate there.

Excellent article. Here’s the rest: How to exacerbate a fossil-fuel addiction

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