beast42 asked in EnvironmentGreen Living · 7 months ago

Why are solar and wind power considered renewable? ?

I understand in the time frame of humans both solar and wind will be abundant and available for ever. However both require invasive mining and finite lifespans - wind (with traditional turbines) it is copper, with solar it is with sand/ silicon. In this regard it seems to just be as renewable as nuclear which requires equally invasive mining. Especially solar which has a good deal of toxic chemicals at the end of a photovoltaic panel's lifespan. Anyhow I'm curious because the infrastructure of each requires a good deal of mining, and has a  finite lifespan. 

Also these two have awful EROI's compared to nuclear, the only exception is wind kites which have a much greater EROI than traditional wind. 

5 Answers

  • 6 months ago

    The cost of evolution is the exhausted energy left behind in the form of fused up fizzled out old atoms whose energy seems to be gone.  Oh, that was planet earth after we took off for other places?  I always wondered what happened to it.  Now I know. 

  • Anonymous
    6 months ago

    So you're right that wind turbines, solar plants, etc have an environmental impact in their construction.  However, those costs are less than the cost of constructing coal fired plants.  Not only do you have to mine a lot of stuff to make a power plant, but you have to continuously mine coal which has environmental consequences both when it is mined and when it is burned. 

  • 7 months ago

    The energy source itself has no limit.  I get where you are going, but renewable in this context does not apply to equipment used to capture the energy.  There is a limited supply of anything mined out of the ground.

  • 7 months ago

    You have to keep mining uranium as it gets "used up" and you have a disposal problem with the wastes. Copper is reusable or recyclable. And are you really comparing the mining of pitchblende to the mining of sand? Sand is regularly dredged out of inlets and considered a waste product.

  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • 7 months ago

    Because the energy sources for each don't have finite quantities that get "used up."

    The term has nothing to do with the production of the equipment needed to tap those energy sources.

    If it did, literally nothing would qualify as "renewable."  since no such equipment is.

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.