‘Green’ colonialism is ruining Indigenous lives in Norway

‘Green’ colonialism is ruining Indigenous lives in Norway

SOURCE: Al Jazeera DATE: August 1, 2020 SNIP: In April this year, wind energy company Eolus Vind broke ground for the Oyfjellet wind plant, a new wind power project in Saepmie, the ancestral lands of the Indigenous Saami people, which stretch across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. This led to a conflict between the Norwegian authorities, project developers and the Saami reindeer herding community Jillen Njaarke, which reveals the numerous reckless practices behind Europe’s “green” energy transition. The German owners of the Oyfjellet wind project, Aquila Capital, have already made a lucrative deal to supply the power produced by the wind plant to the nearby aluminium smelter by Alcoa. On the project’s website, the developers claim to “promote growth, green industry and green employment through long-term investment in renewable energy”. Considering the effect of their actions on the Jillen Njaarke, their mission statement is not only misleading, but is also covering up the fact that the project is disrupting the sustainable way of living of the Saami community, which protects their land. Research demonstrates that the Saami’s semi-domesticated reindeer avoid grazing in areas where they can see or hear wind turbines. A project such as Oyfjellet would disrupt the migration of reindeer, especially in the winter, when they are often weakened and at risk, particularly pregnant mothers and newborn calves. It is yet another source of distress for the Sami herders and their reindeer, adding to the uncertainties of a rapidly changing climate, increasing pressures on ecosystems and land grabbing. On paper, the Norwegian reindeer herding act should provide legal protection against the blocking of reindeer migration routes, like...
Climate change: Electrical industry’s ‘dirty secret’ boosts warming

Climate change: Electrical industry’s ‘dirty secret’ boosts warming

SOURCE: BBC DATE: September 13, 2019 SNIP: It’s the most powerful greenhouse gas known to humanity, and emissions have risen rapidly in recent years, the BBC has learned. Sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6, is widely used in the electrical industry to prevent short circuits and accidents. But leaks of the little-known gas in the UK and the rest of the EU in 2017 were the equivalent of putting an extra 1.3 million cars on the road. Levels are rising as an unintended consequence of the green energy boom. Cheap and non-flammable, SF6 is a colourless, odourless, synthetic gas. It makes a hugely effective insulating material for medium and high-voltage electrical installations. It is widely used across the industry, from large power stations to wind turbines to electrical sub-stations in towns and cities. It prevents electrical accidents and fires. However, the significant downside to using the gas is that it has the highest global warming potential of any known substance. It is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2). It also persists in the atmosphere for a long time, warming the Earth for at least 1,000 years. Where once large coal-fired power stations brought energy to millions, the drive to combat climate change means they are now being replaced by mixed sources of power including wind, solar and gas. This has resulted in many more connections to the electricity grid, and a rise in the number of electrical switches and circuit breakers that are needed to prevent serious accidents. Collectively, these safety devices are called switchgear. The vast majority use SF6 gas to quench arcs and stop short circuits. Researchers...
Global energy transition powers surge in demand for metals

Global energy transition powers surge in demand for metals

SOURCE: Business In Vancouver (BIV) DATE: January 29, 2019 SNIP: By 2030, the amount of installed wind power globally will more than double, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Installed solar power will quadruple. And the number of electric vehicles will increase 1,389% – to 125 million from three million – by 2030, and 3,333% in 2040 to 300 million, according to the IEA. Given that each electric vehicle requires 83 kilograms of copper and each wind turbine contains about 3.5 tonnes of the metal, that represents a surging demand for copper – as well as other base metals – on a timeline that is shorter than what it typically takes to bring a new mine into production. Copper is just one of the base metals needed for things like wind turbines and electric cars, and it’s one of the metals for which there is no good substitute. Substantial amounts of iron and metallurgical coal are also needed to make the steel that goes into wind turbines and cars. If, as the IEA predicts, there are 125 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2030, it will require roughly 10 million tonnes of copper – a 50% increase over current annual global copper consumption (20 million tonnes). The additional wind turbines built by 2030 would require roughly two million tonnes of copper – about 10% of the world’s current production. That’s not even taking into account how much copper would be needed for a quadrupling of solar power, and all the enhancements to the electrical grid and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles that will be required. Given how much...