Wind power sits comfortably alongside Alchemy and perpetual motion machines: ideas that were both superficially attractive and utterly impossible.
No country has ever powered itself entirely with wind power, and no country ever will.
Putting aside their unreliability and chaotic intermittency, the amount of energy and resources that go into building a single wind turbine is colossal.
The figures in the graphic above are based on a single 1 MW turbine.
These days, most onshore turbines are 3 MW or more, with the latest 240m (787ft) behemoths that can push out 4.5 MW – weather permitting, of course. Accordingly, their increased scale and bulk requires magnitudes more coal, iron ore, rare earths, fossil fuels (for the plastics and fibreglass), copper and much, much more.
The Wall Street Journal’s Mark Mills details just how much of our earthly treasures are required to build a wind turbine that will only ever deliver…
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