China is not an obvious environmental leader. It is beleaguered by severe pollution and generates more carbon emissions than any other nation. Yet many have trumpeted it as an emerging "green giant" for its non-carbon-based energy production and its aggressive promises to cut carbon ...the facts do not support this "green" success story.
While the Liberals insist it's all about clean energy, a recent article in a British newspaper shows wind turbines are anything but green.
A story by Simon Parry and Ed Douglas in the Daily Mail, Jan. 29, describes a horrific toxic stew brewing in China as a result of our search for the great, green holy grail.
While Friedman and others bally-hoo China's investments in green energy, Beijing is rapidly expanding its investment in fossil fuels. Michael Economides, an energy expert at the University of Houston, wrote recently on Forbes's website of the "utterly massive level of spending that the Chinese have embarked upon in pursuit of expanding their traditional energy portfolio."
An article in the Nikkei recently may well spell trouble for the fledgling alternative energy industry-and particularly for the wind power generation sector, where most energy investment has taken place in Japan. Apparently residents in the town of Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, have petitioned a wind turbine farm operator (Nikkei doesn't mention who) to close down their plant in the evening hours-on the basis that low frequency noise emanating from the wind farm is causing residents in the area serious health problems.
Another disturbing threat to Taiwan's Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphins Sousa chinensis is the development of wind farms within their existing habitat. Despite the obvious fact that the construction of wind farms will result in loss of habitat for the already struggling population of Taiwan's Humpback dolphins, one also has to consider what other impact the construction of these proposed offshore wind farms will have on the Humpback dolphins and other cetaceans in that area.
On a small scale, where a turbine directly supplies the user and the fluctuating production can be stored or "net-metered" on the base grid, wind can contribute to a home, school or a small factory's electricity. But this simply does not work on a large scale to supply the grid. Even the small benefits claimed by their promoters are far outstripped by the huge negative impacts.
Abundant, reliable, affordable electricity is thus a critical priority for developing nations. Hydroelectric projects offer one solution, coal-fired power plants another. They aren't perfect ecologically, but neither are wind turbines, which require extensive acreage, kill birds, and provide inadequate amounts of intermittent, expensive electricity that cannot possibly sustain modern societies.
Now a revolutionary nuclear energy technology is being designed and built in South Africa, but with suppliers and partners in many other nations. The 165-megawatt Pebble Bed Modular Reactors are small and inexpensive enough to provide electrical power for emerging economies, individual cities or large industrial complexes. However, multiple units can be connected and operated from one control room, to meet the needs of large or growing communities.
Abundant, reliable, affordable electricity is a critical priority for developing nations. Hydroelectric projects like Bujagali (Uganda), Narmada (India) and Three Gorges (China) offer one solution; coal-fired power plants another. They aren't perfect ecologically, but neither are wind turbines, which require extensive acreage, kill birds, and provide inadequate amounts of intermittent, expensive electricity that cannot possibly sustain modern societies.