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sunflowerbio (James Cooley)

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Letter: Energy attack

Thanks for being open to consider the point. Let me give an example to illustrate the failure to account for hidden costs. If cities were allowed to dump their raw sewage into public streams, they could greatly reduce their treatment costs, but cities down stream would have to greatly increase their expenditures for creating potable water. In the same way, if fossil fuel generated electric plants can use the common atmosphere as a waste dump without paying to clean it up, they can charge lower rates. Society as a whole, however, will have to pick up the costs of climate change and air pollution. It is the hidden or externalized costs of fossil fuel electricity that constitutes a public subsidy for fossil electricity and distorts the market.

March 26, 2014 at 11:15 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Energy attack

A couple of additional points. Bankruptcy does not necessarily mean a company ceases to exist. Beacon, for example, has reorganized and is continuing in business with a different but related emphasis. The second point, much knowledge, experience, equipment and facilities, can be retained even though a company ceases to operate. The wages paid by Solyndra, the plant and equipment, the knowledge and experience of the staff and employees, are all still in California and may serve as the seed of inspiration for as yet unrealized innovations.

March 24, 2014 at 3:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Energy attack

Actually, Brock, that is the thrust of my letter. The external costs of fossil fuel produced electricity are essentially a huge government subsidy for the fossil energy companies and give them a great advantage over renewable energy producers, there by distorting the markets in favor of fossil electricity.

March 24, 2014 at 2:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Green energy

Thanks for your reply Ken. About the only argument I have see advanced for repealing or reducing the RPS in Kansas is that the higher costs of paying for renewable energy benefit only the owners of the production, but are born by all ratepayers. As I pointed out in my comments following Ken Meyer' s letter, this ignores the fact that many of the costs of fossil fuel generated electricity are externalized, ie, they are born by all citizens, even those who choose to live off the grid. Since everyone pays for the costs of air and water pollution and the environmental impact of fossil fuel extraction, it makes far more sense for rate payers to pay a small additional amount for renewable electricity and thereby avoid the much greater externalized costs associated with burning coal, oil, or natural gas. Everyone benefits from RPS s, but only the centralized power producers benefit from reducing or eliminating them.

February 25, 2014 at 1:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Energy truths

When we, as a society, decided that dumping raw sewage into our rivers was an unacceptable practice because we all live downstream, we required cities to treat their effluent at public expense. This treatment added to the tax burden, but it has also saved billions of dollars in health care costs and saved millions of lives. When we make the same determination about our atmosphere not being a raw sewage dump for fossil fuel generated electricity, we will certainly be paying more for our centrally generated electricity, but we will also reap similar benefits.

February 19, 2014 at 6:21 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Energy truths

Easter Islanders had one advantage that we don't have, they could leave and move to another island where they could start over; hopefully applying what they learned from their mistakes.

February 19, 2014 at 6:08 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Energy truths

It is also believed that the large amount of aerosols and particulates emitted by the rapid increase in the number of Chinese and Indian coal fired power plants has blocked much of the sunlight that would have otherwise reached earth over the last two decades. This short term reprieve will come at a high cost later as the Chinese and Indians clean up their energy production, leaving the CO2 in the atmosphere for several hundred years.

February 19, 2014 at 11:25 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Energy truths

What a devastating critique.

February 19, 2014 at 10:49 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Energy truths

The $100/ megawatt-hour does not include the externalized costs (born by everyone) of the air and water pollution produced by coal fired plants, nor does it include the costs of coal mining and coal ash disposal and the costs associated with increased global warming and resulting super storms. If these costs were factored into utility rates, electricity production from fossil fuels would come in a poor second to solar and wind production.

February 18, 2014 at 12:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Energy truths

I take exception to your including wind farms as having a terrible impact on the environment. I have submitted a longer letter rebutting some of Ken Meyer's claims, but will just point out here that wind energy has only about one five hundredth as large a carbon footprint as coal fire power plants when amortized over the life cycle of the installation. In addition, wind power does not produce heavy metal, acid rain, or aerosol pollution as does coal generated electricity. As for the effect on raptors, lead,mercury, arsenic, and particulate pollution from burning coal kills many more birds, including raptors, than do newer, properly sited wind turbines which have no roosting places and rotate at slower speeds than older turbines.

February 18, 2014 at 11:54 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

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