The following article talks about some of the severe ecological damage that is caused by the wind turbine industry. Saving the planet seems to require degrading the environment to an extraordinary degree.
Among the interesting things I learned from reading this account is the large amount of balsa wood that is used is modern wind turbines — I thought they were all metal and plastic.
Many thanks to Hellequin GB for translating this piece from Boris Reitschuster’s website:
The ugly face of the energy transition: tropical wood for German wind turbines
Green double standards lead to massive collateral damage
By Daniel Weinmann
Corona and the climate crisis are the holy grail for the traffic light coalition [Red (socialists) — Yellow (FDP) — Green]. Former Chancellor Angela Merkel did a lot of preparatory work: She not only cemented the lack of alternatives to a rigid Corona regime as acceptable, but also laid the seeds for a repressive climate policy, the fruits of which the new government can now reap.
The fact that the CO2 neutrality, which is strived for by all means, leads to serious ecological collateral damage, obviously does not play a role in this context. On the contrary: While the enormously increasing demand for green energy is causing serious environmental problems elsewhere, in this country people rub their hands with a clear green conscience.
An oppressive example that is representative of many more: Ecuador. The country on the west coast of South America provides balsa wood, a very light, hard and resistant material that is used in the construction of rotor blades for wind turbines. Around 15 cubic meters of wood are built into an 80-meter-long rotor blade alone, and blades up to 100 meters in length are to be used in future offshore wind farms.
Because the demand for the precious tropical wood cannot be met in the long term, some plant manufacturers are already using recycled plastic as an alternative. The management consultancy Wood Mackenzie predicts an increase in the proportion of PET in rotor blades from 20 percent in 2018 to 55 percent in the coming year. Nevertheless, the experts see continued high demand for balsa wood.
Trace of ecological horror
However, not only animals are affected by massive deforestation in Ecuador, which provides almost 75 percent of the balsa wood traded worldwide, as the biologist Álvaro Pérez from the PUCE University reports to the Ecuadorian media. The prospect of a rich foreign exchange blessing also has devastating consequences for the indigenous population: Some want to count dollars, while others worry about the ecological balance. The mood is heated by unscrupulous loggers who illegally cut balsa wood, which occurs naturally on the islands and banks of the rivers in the Amazon basin.
In January of last year, the highly respected British weekly “The Economist” even looked at the problems that the illegal logging was causing for the Waorani community in Yasuní National Park. There the lumberjacks left a trail of ecological horror: plastic and aluminum rubbish, gasoline and oil residues, machines — and the used chainsaws. They also drove out parrots, toucans and other birds that feed on the blossoms of the balsa trees — with irreversible consequences for the biodiversity and ecological balance of the region.
Another serious problem of a long-term nature: the rotor blades have to be disposed of. By 2023, around 14,000 rotor blades will be dismantled in Europe alone, predicts Professor Ramón González-Drigo, who teaches structural engineering and structural engineering at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Since they are made of different materials and can only be dismantled again with a great deal of effort, this proves to be particularly difficult.
Green conscience disappears towards people and nature as soon as it comes to saving the climate
Wind power is still in vogue for German politicians. An example of this is the first decision by the Baden-Württemberg state government made up of the Greens and the CDU to expand renewable energies after the state elections in May last year. After that, 1000 wind turbines are to be built in the Black Forest.
Here, too, it was ill-thought-out: for each individual wind turbine — depending on the source — the clearing of 0.2 (Pro Windkraft) and 0.5 (TopAgrar) square kilometers of forest is required. If you take the mean of 0.35 square kilometers or 35 hectares, with 1,000 wind turbines this corresponds to 70,000 football fields. In this area, the forest is irretrievably lost as a CO2 and moisture store. In addition, if such large areas are cut down on the ridges and sealed with gigantic concrete foundations, the water sluices down the valleys when it rains heavily, pulling everything with it.
All of this — along with other serious problems such as the death of birds and the health problems of local residents — shows that relying on wind power is not a sensible energy policy. Rather, it is a green ideology that — no matter the cost — has to be implemented in order to maintain the ecologically sustainable etiquette externally. The pure, green conscience disappears towards people and nature as soon as it comes to saving the climate.