Mark P. Mills, economics21.org, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute: Building one wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of nonrecyclable plastic. Solar power requires even more cement, steel and glass—not to mention other metals. Global silver and indium mining will jump 250% and 1,200%. World demand for rare-earth elements—which aren’t rare but are rarely mined in America—will rise 300% to 1,000% by 2050 to meet the Paris green goals. If electric vehicles replace conventional cars, demand for cobalt and lithium, will rise more than 20-fold. That doesn’t count batteries to back up wind and solar grids.
Mark P. Mills, economics21.org: Not satisfied with the mere claim that solar and wind are reaching parity with the costs of conventional energy technologies, green enthusiasts are upping the ante claiming that by “2030, the cost [of solar] could be so near to zero it will effectively be free.” But no amount of research or torturing of reality, however, will lead to that result. Both physics and history offer instructive lessons. That scenario has played out in Germany and Britain, both far further down the green path, leading to radically higher electricity prices there — 200% to 300% higher than in America.