Thicker than Concrete, Dumber Than Dirt

David Cavena06 Apr, 2024 3 Min Read
There's a reason we stopped using them.

The climate hoax has a lot of moving parts, but I find ordinary, everyday concrete to be among the most fascinating. The base of every windmill? The pier of every solar-panel matrix in utility-scale solar farms? Soon, the onshore windmill towers, and the deep-water piers for offshore? All concrete. It's central to the operation of so-called "renewable energy."

Humble concrete is created via a carbon-intensive process. About a ton of CO2 is emitted for each ton of concrete manufactured. In fact, the cement industry generates 8 percent of global carbon emissions — triple the emissions of the aviation industry. As shown here, the base of the average onshore windmill uses about 520 cubic meters of concrete. A cubic meter of concrete weighs about 2.5 metric tons, making each windmill base weigh about 1,300 metric tons, the manufacture of each of which emits about 1,300 metric tons of CO2.

Back in 2019, a research team based in Scotland looked at the 3,848 commercial onshore windmills which had been installed in the country as of that year. If we assume 1,300 tons of concrete per windmill, that’s over five million tons of concrete emitting over five million tons of CO2! But that’s just in the manufacture. Concrete emits carbon dioxide as it cures (hardens). Hoover Dam, completed in 1936, still is curing, and is still outgassing CO2. And when a windmill falls over, breaks, or is on hiatus because the wind is too weak or too strong, that 1,300 tons of concrete base continues to expel CO2.

The Scottish research team "found 60 wind farms built on peatland produced as much CO₂-equivalent emissions as two million tons of coal." But those numbers are only part of what is added to the atmosphere when planting windmills:

Some of Scotland’s wind turbines create so much carbon pollution it will take a decade to repair the environmental damage caused, say researchers. Around 4.9 million tons of greenhouse gases have been released into the atmosphere as a result of digging up ancient peat bogs and felling trees to build wind farms.

Onshore windmill towers are passing height restrictions for which steel towers can be transported on roads, so concrete towers are being investigated to push larger turbine blades higher. These towers will use many tons of concrete in addition to the 1,300-ton bases that, as the tower gains height and load, also will increase in weight.

Tried and found wanting.

Why are taller towers desired? A longer radius blade sweep means more energy pulled from the wind as it passes by. Longer blades also consume more balsa, deforesting the Amazon rain forest, and kill more migratory birds and bats. As less atmospheric interaction occurs, the temperature of the land behind the windmill rises as a greater amount of atmospheric heat exchange is prevented.

And all this for a 14th-century technology that doesn't work at scale.

If you're wondering how it makes sense to destroy carbon sinks, you're not alone. The millions of trees felled and thousands of acres of peat bogs wiped out all were carbon sinks, as were the hundreds of thousands of birds killed and tortoises displaced/killed in order to reduce atmospheric carbon, while replacing these trees (the migratory birds and tortoises are irreplaceable, which is why they are “protected”) with millions of tons of concrete and steel, all the while heating the land downwind of the windmills.

Maybe -- just maybe -- this isn't really about the climate.

David Cavena is a native southern Californian exfiltrated to Arizona. An IT professional for 40 years, he has pushed cows in California, dudes and horses in Wyoming, and programmers in Los Angeles and Phoenix. An avid outdoorsman – skier, backpacker, water skier and scuba diver – David writes from Arizona.


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2 comments on “Thicker than Concrete, Dumber Than Dirt”

  1. Of course this is not about the climate! It is about the absorption of money.
    The "green" movement has always been about the hijacking of taxpayer dollars. You see, the
    "green" movement is strictly a wealth transfer mechanism, one of the most efficient and with so-called "moral superiority." Even though the public is largely wise to the swindle, elected officials continue to shovel money into "renewables" in order to "save the planet" just like they've been doing since the 60's. It makes them feel better about themselves, plus it pads their bank accounts.

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