It is interesting to note that the “greens” are both promoting saving forests and at the same time clearing forests on a large scale to give space to wind turbines. This does not make sense since the “greens” wants to reduce CO2 emissions and one of the best way is for forests to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. By cutting down forests the CO2 levels in the atmosphere will increase more than if the forests are left.
Since large amounts of coal is used to manufacture wind turbines and the foundations (to manufacture a 2 MW wind turbin with foundation about 600 tons of coal is needed for production of steel and cement) as well as to manufacture solar panels, the use of fossile fuel/kWh is 4 and 6 times larger for wind and solar power compared to nuclear power. Thus, wind and solar energy is not at all clean compared to e.g. nuclear and hydropower.
Information from: lca-brochure-2018.pdf (vattenfall.com)
An associated issue with solar and wind power is that the amount of energy gained/energy used to produce electricity from wind and solar is so small compared to that of e.g. nuclear/coal. The figures below show that for solar and wind energy only 2-4 times more energy is being produced than used for manufacturing. While for gas turbines, hydro and coal this ratio ranges from 28-35. Nuclear power is by far the best energy source with a EROI value of 75 (6 g from nuclear fuel corresponds to the energy produced by 1 ton of coal in current reactors). For the new generation IV reactors being developed now, the EROI values can reach 7 500 (6 g of nuclear fuel corresponds to the energy produced by up to 100 ton of coal in generation IV reactors).
This also means that there are very large amounts of wastes from wind and solar energy produced that is not taken care of today, contrary to e.g. nuclear power.
Germany is the leader in the world when it comes to replacing coal/nuclear with wind/solar energy. Germany has now over 30,000 windturbines across its countryside. As land for doing so has become increasingly scarce, the strategy has been to clear-fell forests that were once considered out of bounds.
The German state of Baden-Württemberg plans to build 1000 wind turbines – many of which would end up blighting the once idyllic Black Forest.
In November 2020, AGORA Energiewende, the think tank that advises the German government, called for the ban on killing protected species to be relaxed in the nature conservation law so that the spread of wind turbines in nature-sensitive areas can make better progress.
Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt here reports how The Greens and CDU have since firmly agreed on the first big loser – the forests of Baden-Württemberg – as they agree to build 1000 new wind turbines in the state. Many of them will end up in the Black Forest. According to Vahrenholt, 1000 turbines would mean having to space them “at a distance of 1.4 km from each other, with the corresponding access roads cutting through the forest.”