Letter to the Editor: We can’t be solely reliant on renewable energies, especially when demand spikes

Ken Gansmann

In my last letter, I mentioned a recent “wild” comment seen in a Summit Daily News article claiming all the snow in the Rocky Mountains would disappear by 2080. This should make one wonder: How many people living here today will be around in 2080 to confirm it?

I will go out on a limb here with my prediction: By 2080, the U.S. will still be dependent on fossil fuels for the majority of electric generation. I will no longer be around by then, but I promise to apologize remotely from Heaven — I hope — if I am wrong. Fossil fuels still provide more than 75% of developed countries’ energy, while solar and wind provide less than 3%. Why are wealthy countries trying to cut off funding for new fossil fuels in developing countries? Why not give developing countries the same fossil fuel supplies that made it possible for countries like the U.S. to become successful?

The reason solar and wind subsidies are so high is they are “non-dispatchable” sources of energy, meaning their output can’t be changed to match demand. To match demand, the wind doesn’t blow a little harder and the sun doesn’t shine a little brighter just because energy use is peaking. Fossil fuel entities can ramp up generation when needed most and ramp down when demand falls.

Putting so much emphasis on alternate energy to replace fossil fuels, will most likely cause rolling power blackouts as early as this summer.

Massive solar and wind energy generation depend on expensive batteries on a very large scale to ensure power when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining — like it does every night. Batteries are hardly environmentally friendly. Since they don’t last forever, they add to both their initial expense and maintenance costs during their lives.

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