Re: I'll take the bait
What about all the slagheaps from underground coal mining? Or the damage caused to the ecology by open-cast mining of coal? Why arent there huge outcries from the public about that/
What about the ecological effects of manufacturing, transporting, maintaining and decommissioning all of those wind turbines, solar cells and come to think of it, solar furnaces?
I've had a long term interest in methods of power production (and by long term I mean over 4 decades), and when you look into them properly not one of them causes zero problems whatsoever. In general, it's notionally a case of considering the pros and cons of each method of energy generation right from manufacturing the components needed through to recycling decommissioned kit, or dealing with the waste generated if it cant be decommissioned. And those in favour of more widespread use of "greener" energy (like me) can be just as prone as those in favour of nuclear power (also me) to ignore, or not know about the cons of non-nuclear energy production.
The thing that opened my eyes to this was when I finally got around to looking into hydroelectric power, which is bad in multiple ways! First there's destruction of habitat to create a lake where none existed before. Secondly, there's all that concrete used to build the dams. Thirdly, the earthquakes caused by some of the larger dams are of some concern. Fourthly the amount of methane created by anaerobic decomposition of organic material drowned by the dam of . Fifthly, the ecological disturbance caused to rivierine creatures by building a ruddy great dam they can't get past. Fifthly, the effect on silt deposition at the rivers mouth, and the impact on nutrients entering the sea. Sixthly - if the water trapped by the dam isn't managed carefully, water supply to places downstream can be badly affected. And finally - water-table levels can be changed due to the effects of dams. If you happen to rely on wells to provide your water needs, this could be quite the problem if the water table drops significantly.
I was once in the Green Party for a few years bt left mostly due to becoming fed up with the dogmatic anti-nuclear fanaticism I encountered from some. Technologies generally improve over time, and the nuclear power industry is no different from any other in that respect. The failings of some of the first generation nuclear powerplants should indeed be taken extremely seriously; but that does not ea that all future nuclear powerplants will have exactly the same failings - indeed, there are designs of nuclear power generation in which it is physically impossible to have the kind of runaway event that happened at Chernobyl, not because of clever and intricate warning and shutoff mechanisms but because of clever and simpler design of how the things actually work making it such that there actually is no way that an explosive situation could happen short of strapping some actual explosives to the thing! (which I don't recommend, it'd void the warranty).
So far as I can see, it's likely to be difficult to provide enough power through to the end of this century without at least some nuclear power in the mix to supply a reliable base load. Unless, of course, humanity decides to drastically cut its use of energy. Call me a cynic, but even though I think that could be done, I'm betting it won't be, because history.
So yes, wind farms, solar farms solar furnaces, solar furnaces, solar thermal, wave power generation, tidal flow power generation, geothermal geenration, rethinking of homes to include better use of heat pumps for both cooling and heating of homes (plus, possibly, refrigeration and cooking purposes). We do not have the time to f**k abut trying one, seeing how well it does, then trying another, then another, etc and then finally pick one or two for the long term. The best option is to hedge ur bets and have a sensible mix of everything we can think of - AND do our best tocut down on our power usage.
Happily, the energy storage scene has seen several major breakthroughs in recent years, so the erratic nature of the supply of power from wind and solar may be less of an issue within a couple of decades - but it's unlikely to completely disappear for quite a while after that, barring the unforseen.