Renewable energy our salvation
Friday, October 4, 2019
Lawrence Watts derided a North Carolina wind farm as shameful (Public Forum, June 4), claiming no one could even find out its actual generating capacity. I responded revealing the actual KWH generated. I also showed that wind farm was viewed locally as an economic triumph.
Watts responded on Aug. 19 saying I reminded him of Henny Penny crying falsely that the sky is falling, though it was he who pecked at imagined failures while it was I who crowed about successes.
He writes again (Sept. 23) critical of renewable energy, “revealing” solar panels do not work at night! Well duh! Everyone knows that. He is also concerned that on a solar farm “not a creature of nature will ever call that land home again.”
Well, Mr. Henny Penny Watts, your concern for wildlife is welcome and shared. But good news! The newer giant solar farms are often located in deserts (Examples: California’s 579 megawatt Solar Star, Mexico’s 754 megawatt Villanuea Solar Park, China’s 1,500 megawatt Tengger Solar Park and Egypt’s 1,800 megawatt plant). All of these still have negatives such as much 30 percent wasted power because of location as well as the environmental costs of manufacture.
But extracting fossil fuel has even worse environmental impacts: Devastating strip mines, fracking, streams made too acid for wildlife, pipelines impacting wildlife at every stream crossing, and the transport of fossil fuels disrupts both nature and activities of man for thousands of miles, plus there is devastation of marine resources by offshore drilling.
Absent from this list is the greatest cost: Destruction of a habitable planet caused by CO2 emissions from burning fuels. But rather than being hapless Henny Pennys we can embrace the new opportunities. While conservation is an obvious must, renewables can be our salvation; fossil fuel dependency our failure.