Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar. Which is easiest on water, land, and wildlife? Um. Keep it quiet, but that would be gas.

Here’s an analysis you won’t see trumpeted very widely – The Dickenson Press carries an article by Deroy Murdock – Fracking outgreens “green” energy.

After describing the unobtrusive scene of five producing gas wells running from a three-acre pad he previously visited in the middle of drilling, he describes the ecological footprint of gas versus the ‘green’ energy sources.

He compares different industries in terms of a common size.  Here is his data:

Water used to generate one million BTUs of energy output:

  • Gas                           3 gallons
  • Nuclear                   11
  • Coal                        23
  • Corn ethanol    15,800
  • Soy biodiesel   44,500 gallons

Um, that means fracking for natural gas is a radically more efficient use of water than ethanol or soy biodiesel.

Land used to provide electricity to 1,000 homes:

  • Gas                  0.4 acres
  • Nuclear            0.7
  • Coal                 0.75
  • Wind                6.0
  • Solar                8.4 acres

So wind and solar disrupts fifteen or twenty times more land than gas for an equal amount of energy output.

Wildlife? Do we really need to explain that nobody anywhere has a complete count on how many golden eagles, bald eagles, other raptors, and protected migratory birds are sliced and diced by turbine blades? Journalists are just starting to look at the annual death count from solar and regulators haven’t addressed the issue. Nobody knows how many tens of thousands or millions of bats are killed annually by wind turbines.

Mr. Murdock has a new phrase for wind farms: Cuisinarts. I like it. (Might be a trademark issue, so I’ll leave that term with him. I’ll keep using slice-and-dice. Same concept.)

So, which goes easier on the earth? Natural gas, slice-and-dice avian-focused Cuisinarts, or wing-toasting solar farms?

In terms of impact water, land and wildlife, even nuclear has a lighter touch than solar and wind by Mr. Murdock’s calculations. It is not a good thing when nuclear plants win a comparison to wind and solar farms.

Hat tip to Million Dollar Way, as is often the case. I wouldn’t have seen the article until the morning.

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