Thanks to Andy for this analysis
So what’s the carbon foot print of a wind turbine with 45 tons of rebar & 481m3 of concrete?
Its carbon footprint is massive – try 241.85 tons of CO2.
Here’s the breakdown of the CO2 numbers.
To create a 1,000 Kg of pig iron, you start with 1,800 Kg of iron ore, 900 Kg of coking coal 450 Kg of limestone. The blast furnace consumes 4,500 Kg of air. The temperature at the core of the blast furnace reaches nearly 1,600 degrees C (about 3,000 degrees F).
The pig iron is then transferred to the basic oxygen furnace to make steel.
1,350 Kg of CO2 is emitted per 1,000 Kg pig iron produced.
A further 1,460 Kg CO2 is emitted per 1,000 Kg of Steel produced so all up 2,810 Kg CO2 is emitted.
45 tons of rebar (steel) are required so that equals 126.45 tons of CO2 are emitted.
To create a 1,000 Kg of Portland cement, Calcium carbonate (60%), silicon (20%), aluminium (10%), iron (10%) and very small amounts of other ingredients are heated in a large kiln to over 1,500 degrees C to convert the raw materials into clinker. The clinker is then interground with other ingredients to produce the final cement product. When cement is mixed with water, sand and gravel forms the rock-like mass know as concrete.
An average of 927 Kg of CO2 is emitted per 1,000 Kg of Portland cement. On average, concrete has 10% cement, with the balance being gravel (41%), sand (25%), water (18%) and air (6%). One cubic metre of concrete weighs approx. 2,400 Kg so approx. 240 Kg of CO2 is emitted for every cubic metre.
481m3 of concrete are required so that equals 115.4 tons of CO2 are emitted.
Now I have not included the emissions of the mining of the raw materials or the transportation of the fabricated materials to the turbine site so the emission calculation above would be on the low end at best.
This is particularly informative as Coriolis announce their plans for a further fourteen turbines of 462ft in height to add to the Loch Ness Ring of Steel.
This announcement comes in the tails of the approval of the Stronelairg’s 67 turbines in the vicinity to the Glendoe Hydro Scheme. Helen McDade, head of policy at the John Muir Trust puts this into perspective:
“The Trust will look carefully at the detail of the Dell proposal in the context of the cumulative impact of a flurry of development around the Monadhliath Mountains and Loch Ness, which includes the recently consented 67-turbine Stronelairg Wind Farm.
Unfortunately, some developers have since used the existence of the Glendoe Hydro Scheme as a Trojan horse to justify other applications, with the result that the character of the entire area is now being transformed.”
This does raise the issue of one application following another and confirms the concerns that we have previously expresses that once an area hosts one wind turbine, the area is already trashed and the developers see it as pushing on an open door. The Monaliadths, as Caithness, Dumfries and Galloway and North Ayreshire have all been virtually destroyed by the proliferation of wind farms and Councils seems to have lost the will to protect their areas. As the march continues down the Greta Glen will the Coire na Glas hydro scheme be another trojan course to extend the wind farm expansion even further. As the option of Shale Gas becomes more attractive and the practicality of wind post subsidy concentrates minds, will we ever be able to turn the clock back before Armageddon strikes. Already we see the progress of Millenium 3 in the starting blocks and that raises the other question. After much debate Coriolis reduced the number of turbines by a third or more but on current experience we know that if approved, extensions will follow until they reach or exceed their precious ambitions. Sometime, someone has got to say that approvals that are given after challenge and consideration, when numbers are often reduced to gain approval, are the end game. Extensions will simply not be allowed and further applications within the area will not be considered. Problem is that this must come from central government and I see little appetite for that from the present administration. We have seen what the industry thinks of the Wild Lands designation. They simply ignore it and I am probably right in assuming that their action is based on a steer from the Energy Consents Unit and the Scottish Ministers. If the Government had been serious they could have made the Wild Lands designation a statutory order. They didn’t!