To the editor:
Missing thus far from the discussion of Westar’s latest rate increase request is the larger issue of how electricity is produced for Lawrence and Douglas County. In my travels around the United States and abroad I always boast that Lawrence is the finest place to live in Kansas and one of the finest places in our country. I have in mind primarily its outstanding school system, public services, cultural advantages, downtown shopping, Kansas University and Haskell, tolerance for diversity, and even the efficiency and courtesy with which we receive electric power in our homes and workplaces.
Unfortunately, I always have to make an exception and apologies for the fact that our main electricity-producing facility is powered by burning coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels, all of which add relentlessly to the concentration of greenhouse gases that cause global warming and threaten our planet. When will the managers of Westar, representing not only themselves and their stockholders, announce that in the near future they will convert their plant from coal to a less pollutant fuel?
I recommend a combination of solar, with photovoltaic cells for storage, wind and hydroelectric, all of which (sunlight, wind, water) we have, thank God, in abundance. A dab of natural gas could perhaps be added to the mixture. If Westar lacks the will for this far-seeing transformation, perhaps we voters should consider converting the power plant into a municipal facility.