The fallacy of non-renewable energy



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To the editor:

Poor Tom Sullivan (“Environmental activists ignore energy realities,” April 27-May 10 NH Business Review). He must not have been in New Hampshire in the 1970s … or maybe he forgot … when Public Service Company was promising cheap, maybe even free, electricity if only we would allow them to build a nuclear plant.

We were told, as I recall, that Seabrook would produce enough energy to power all of the state’s needs. Forty years later, the facility is owned by an out-of-state conglomerate, the power is being sold to the New England power grid and so Mr. Sullivan points out, we still have the highest electric rates in the nation.

But apparently he’s still willing to buy in to a similar claim by Eversource — successor to Public Service — that Northern Pass is the answer for cheap electricity, with nearly all the burden of the project falling on New Hampshire for the construction, impact to the land, visual pollution, etc., but with a very small portion of the benefit coming to the state by way of increased energy supply, none of which is guaranteed by the way.

It may be true, for the immediate future, that electricity generated by natural gas may be somewhat cheaper than solar power and/or wind, but it is also true that the cost of renewable energy is becoming more and more competitive and will continue to drop as more renewables come on line. So this source should be encouraged rather than delayed in favor of continued spending on an increasingly expensive  and unpredictable system based on fossil fuels.

It is not true, as claimed by Mr. Sullivan, that “natural gas power plants … do not compete with renewables,” for every dollar that is spent on locating new sources, extending pipelines, enlarging generating facilities, etc., is a dollar not spent on new solar arrays, new wind farms and research and development of more efficient storage batteries.

Spending billions of dollars on exploration, recovery, transmission and generation based on an energy source that we all know will disappear — even that might take another hundred years — makes little or no sense if there is an available alternative — sun and wind — that we will always have at our disposal.

Anthony McManus

Dover

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