Green energy advocates are celebrating in light of the Global Wind Energy Council‘s latest report, which boasts:
…the proliferation of wind energy into the global power market continues at a furious pace, after it was revealed that more than 54 gigawatts of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market last year.
And indeed, the growth has been furious: the production of wind energy grew by 24.3% per year since 1990.
Solar energy’s grown even faster, averaging 46.2% per year since 1990.
Yet despite the “furious pace” of renewable energy development—and the never-ending government subsidies—wind energy still only meets 0.46% of the Earth’s current energy demands.
Yes, you read that right.
Rounded to the nearest whole number, wind power meets 0% of the Earth’s energy demands.
Wind energy is trivial to the point of irrelevancy. It doesn’t matter.
This is according to data supplied by the International Energy Agency’s 2016 Key Renewables Trends Report, which details Earth’s aggregated energy use.
According to the same data, solar energy is even further behind: solar and tidal energy (which are lumped together) provide a mere 0.35% of the Earth’s energy.
Together, wind, solar, and tidal energy met less than 1% of global energy consumption in 2014.
How is this possible? Aren’t we investing billions into green energy?
But the problem is that green energy advocates trick us by myopically focusing on electrical energy, which only represents one-fifth of humanity’s energy requirements. The bulk of the energy is consumed as liquid fuel for transportation, cooking, heating, and heavy industry—that is, oil.
Another trick green energy advocates use is to imply that most of the Earth’s renewable energy is wind and solar—this makes it seem like some 14% of the Earth’s total energy demands are met by them.
However, the vast majority of humanity’s renewable energy consumption is traditional biomass—wood used by people in developing countries to cook with, and heat their homes.
Again, wind and solar energy are functionally irrelevant.
But that’s the past—what’s the future for wind and solar energy?
There isn’t one.
How Many Wind Turbines Would it Take to Power the Earth in 2017?
Humanity should abandon its dreams of running on wind energy. Why? It’s impossible. It’s never going to happen.
Let’s look at the numbers.
Between 2013 and 2014, using IEA data, global demand for energy grew by 2,000 terawatt hours.
Let’s figure out how many wind turbines we’d need to build to meet this growing demand—we’ll ignore the fact that “environmentalists” would like us to simultaneously replace existing generating capacity.
Given that a standard two-megawatt wind turbine can produce 0.005 terawatt-hours per year, we’d need to build some 350,000 wind turbines to meet this demand.
And it gets worse: at a standard density of 1 megawatt per 50 acres of land, we’d need to cover an area the size of the British Isles (the UK and Ireland together) with wind turbines—and that’s just to meet the demand for one year.
Our energy demands increase every year—at an accelerating pace.
And of course, better turbines won’t save us: the Betz limit imposes a physical restriction on the potential efficiency of a wind turbine.
Likewise, there’s only so much energy that can be harvested from a fluid anyways—and each additional turbine (imperceptibly) reduces the efficiency of every other turbine in the region. Each turbine adds resistance.
Putting all that aside, it’s impossible, in practical terms, for us to erect enough turbines to meet our growing energy demands—even if we wanted to.
A two-megawatt wind turbine weighs some 250 tons. It’s made of steel
Given that it takes half a ton of coal to make a ton of steel (a source of carbon is needed), and add to that the coal needed to make the cement, each turbine requires some 150 tons of coal to build.
Multiplied by 350,000 turbines, this means we’d need some 50 million tons of coal per year—nearly half of Europe’s annual coal production.
Given all that, I think we can answer our initial question: how many wind turbines would it take to power the Earth in 2017?
It doesn’t matter—we couldn’t build enough turbines even if we wanted to.
There is No Future for Wind Energy
Wind is not the energy source of the future. It’s just not possible.
Beyond that, it’s not even desirable—the inherent volatility of wind power endangers the power grid itself, and greatly heightens the risk of systemic collapse.
And solar energy is even worse. Why?
Because they consume copious quantities of rare-earth metals—we’d need the mineral resources of 7.2 Earths to power our civilization with solar energy.
Wind and solar energy just aren’t feasible, and green energy isn’t about the environment, it’s a wealth-redistribution scheme.
Read more at National Economics