Worried about rapid power grid changes

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 6, 2014 

With government support, renewable energy sources have become a niche source for the nation's power grid. I won't argue the rights or wrongs of current policy, but what I can't abide is an extremist view that I believe is ignorant, short-sighted,and potentially damaging. The followers of this view are almost cult-like in that they are marching in lock-step toward a goal of replacing all fossil fuel power generation within a decade or two. I contend that use of fossil fuels, especially natural gas through fuel substitution, will be and should be an important contributor to the nation's power grid for many generations to come. Firstly, few renewables are economical without subsidy from additional taxes. This might be acceptable for low levels of supply, which give utilities some flexibility. However, there will be a teetering point in which major changes have to be made to the nation's power grid to promote reliability and security. There won't be enough tax money to support these changes with total use of renewables. Secondly, natural gas processing and refining of associated crude oil produce components are used to synthesize materials which permeate our everyday life. This ranges from the polyesters in our clothing to the tires on our car and includes container moldings, plastics, adhesives and detergents. So, please, tell me you are all ready to turn your world upside down!

Steve Westhoff

Bellingham

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