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Commentary By Forrester Lee

The Environmental Cost of Green Energy


One of the main issues complicating the development of renewable energy is the amount of waste it creates. Wind energy is no exception; the clean technology already produces thousands of tons of waste annually, a figure projected to reach into the millions by 2040. In fact, the turbine blades in a 100 MW wind farm contain more non-recyclable plastic than all the recyclable straws in the world put together. Global wind farm capacity is 6,000 times greater than that of the 100 MW wind farm, creating a considerable load of plastic waste every year. These mountains of waste represent an environmental, social, and financial cost that must be taken into account as renewable energy continues to expand. 

Forrester Lee is an intern for Federal Policy at the Manhattan Institute and a student at Middlebury College. 

The chart above is from a recent report by Manhattan Institute senior fellow Mark Mills. 

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