Wind Is Champion at Consuming Steel and Concrete
Windmills may produce no greenhouse gases during their operation but they are the champions at consuming concrete and steel during their construction phase. James Conca presents a graph in Forbes this morning showing the relative levels of consumption for steel and concrete for coal, nuclear, wind and natural gas. Wind is the outlier, consuming about ten times as much steel and concrete as the others. Natural gas consumers slightly less than coal and nuclear but there isn’t much different among them. Not included are solar panels, which consume prodigious amounts of steel and rare-metal wiring. Conca notes that there is one ton of carbon released for every tone of concrete produced. Comparisons of the greenhouse-gas impact of different forms of electrical generation do not always include these construction factors.