Micro Life Zone
Asked by jgiumelli to Arti, Dustin, James, Steven on 22 May 2012.
Keywords: electricity, energy, gas, greenhouse, solar, wind
Not directly, but remember that power stations of any type are built out of concrete, steel and other materials, which all require energy and therefore production of greenhouse gasses, to produce. All of the building materials have to be transported to the construction site in trucks, which use oil. So, renewable power stations do have a carbon footprint. However, it is mostly a one-off footprint as a consequence of construction. After that you should be producing energy essentially carbon free, and eventually you balance out the carbon used to build the station and you are making a carbon profit. certainly better than having the initial carbon footprint and then a continuous footprint by burning fossil fuels.
I actually hosted a panel about this last night!
Yes and no is the answer. Wind and solar have a small carbon outlay but a large carbon maintenace. This means you use produce only a small amount of greenhouse gas in the production but the maintenance, cleaning etc. needs to be done for a long time and is very expensive from a carbon persepective.
The best option is probably the new small and modular nuclear power stations that are being built in China. A very large carbon outlay but very minimal carbon maintenance.
Also the financial cost is worth considering, nuclear will give you back more power for every dollar you invest in it.
The others have answered this question, so i might just mention something else that is a concern for ecologists.
There is a little bit of work looking at how alternative energy sources affect the environment in other ways. When a wind turbine is set up, it can affect bird and bats directly, by there being something in their way when they are flying.
But it will also likely affect plants and seed dispersal. Wind power works by taking energy out of the system to power turbines to generate electricity. This means there is less wind in the system that once dispersed seeds of plants.
So now some are working on the question of how these power sources will change the ecology of a system ‘down stream’ from it.
Great answers by the others – covered many things. 🙂
By BRIDGE8 under license from Mangorolla CIC 2018