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Cornwall Alliance / March 26, 2020

Renewable Enthusiasts Push for Dangerous Policy Amidst Coronavirus Crisis

Even in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, renewable-energy enthusiasts are trying to convince people to abandon fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy.

By Vijay Jayaraj

Even in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, renewable-energy enthusiasts are trying to convince people to abandon fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy.

A new article by the International Energy Agency calls for countries to “Put clean energy at the heart of stimulus plans to counter the coronavirus crisis.”

But such a move would send us back to the dark ages!

Here is why.

Apathy towards the coronavirus is pronounced in climate doomsday circles.

After the outbreak in Europe, Greta Thunberg led a public climate protest in Brussels, showing no concern towards the public health emergency.

And now, IEA calls governments to include renewable energy in the proposed coronavirus recovery stimulus packages. In fact, IEA wants renewable energy to be at the heart of these packages.

“Governments are drawing up stimulus plans in an effort to counter the economic damage from the coronavirus. These stimulus packages offer an excellent opportunity to ensure that the essential task of building a secure and sustainable energy future doesn’t get lost amid the flurry of immediate priorities," reads the article.

It is good to look for opportunities in the midst of a crisis. But there is one major problem: A secure and sustainable energy future is not possible with heavy reliance on wind and solar, and neither of them is clean.

A Call to Destruction

Fossil fuels are the major energy sources that run engines, industries, and homes. Fossil fuels — including oil, natural gas, and coal — made up 80% of the total energy consumed globally (2015).

In layman’s terms, abandoning fossil fuels would be abandoning the majority of dependable and affordable energy sources.

Wind turbines can only generate electricity when the wind is blowing, and solar panels only when the sun is shining. Currently, we have no affordable battery technology to make up for the sporadic energy produced by wind and solar.

For example, if a state like California needed to rely completely on renewable energy, a battery storage system would cost around $5 trillion, which is more than the full annual GDP of California. 

This is why Bill Gates said that renewables, on their own, cannot even power a single city like Tokyo. They can provide energy, but only intermittently and at a high cost, which is unsuitable for energy-intensive cities and industries.

Consumer prices across the world have shown that increasing renewable energy in the electricity mix causes overall energy prices to rise.

Moreover, neither wind nor solar is a "clean” energy source. Wind and solar pose a big disposal problem. Countries even bury wind-turbine blades underground, as they cannot be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.

Demand for wind turbines has caused a surge in extraction of rare earth minerals, in turn polluting water bodies to dangerous levels in China. Besides, wind turbines kill millions of birds every year, causing governments to issue “killing quotas” around the world.

Renewable enthusiasts seldom acknowledge these dirty facts. Renewables are not capable of supporting our current energy needs at an affordable price or on a steady basis.

Making renewable energy part of the post-coronavirus economic recovery, based on the suggestion of opportunistic climate doomsayers and renewable enthusiasts, will only worsen the economic depression already well underway due to the virus and business-killing measures taken to curb its spread.

Policymakers must resist the inclusion of renewable-energy funds in stimulus packages. 

Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England) is a research contributor for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

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