Using too much land to produce energy

Caroline posted our “chart of the week” which demonstrates succinctly why Bill Gates refers to the politically correct “renewables” as energy farming. Energy density really does matter.

The below chart from Rutgers University Professor Clinton Andrews sums it up. Clearly, the more land used, the more disruptive to ecosystems an energy source is, to the point that electricity from biomass would eclipse all current human use of land and use 60% of the earth’s total land area in order to produce 100% of global demand. Wind land use to produce 100% of global demand would be par with all worldwide land area currently used for crops.

LandUseforEnergy-ClintonAndrews.jpg
Percent of Earth’s land area taken for energy production for different energy sources. Taken from: Alternative Energy and Land Use paper from Clinton Andrews et al. Land intensiveness data from McDonald et al (2009), land area data from Melillo et al (2009), global energy demand data from EIA.

One thought on “Using too much land to produce energy

  1. Frank Eggers

    One of the problems is that wind energy advocates assert that wind farms have little effect on available farm land because the towers themselves take little space thereby making it possible to farm around them. The actual truth is somewhat different.

    The area used by wind farms greatly exceeds the area used by the towers. It is necessary to have access roads because wind generators require regular service, sometimes with heavy equipment. Also, the presence of the turbines and their towers complicates farming because the farm implements have to go around the towers.

    I don’t have the numbers, but they should be available somewhere. It would be helpful to write an article on exactly how wind farms impact farming.

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