Letter: Think deeper on climate change solutions

Posted 5/24/22

There is no doubt that we have a climate change problem. However, I am getting tired of being lectured by people who have not thought past windmills and solar panels. There are a myriad of problems …

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Letter: Think deeper on climate change solutions

Posted

There is no doubt that we have a climate change problem. However, I am getting tired of being lectured by people who have not thought past windmills and solar panels. There are a myriad of problems yet to be solved before we can become carbon neutral.  For example. Yes, ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline. Still, it takes 29% more energy to produce that ethanol than it is capable of generating.  Wind power can reach 60% efficiency and right now we have reached about 45%; and then there are the non-recyclable blades to contend with. Solar can reach about 33% efficiency, and we are currently around 26%.

One study found that if Tesla produced batteries for 500 years, we could store one days use of energy for the entire United States. I would think we could do better than that. Physically we cannot currently make adequate batteries to store enough electricity to continue power when wind and solar are idle. Batteries and other related energy products are often made from non-renewable materials. The mining and production of battery materials is a pretty dirty business. Car batteries take many miles to start repaying the energy dividend, fortunately Wind and Solar start paying back much more quickly.

Shouldn’t we be looking at better, cleaner and more efficient use of our bountiful supply of hydrocarbons? Nuclear is a proven energy source with a good safety record. The few accidents that we have had have been well controlled and with modular plants we can do even better. Our current use of renewable energy is crude at best, and it seems that we are doubling down on technology that has some severe limitations. I am looking forward to seeing some ideas of bettering what we are currently doing, as right now we hardly making a dent in the problem despite all the government money being thrown at technology that is not cost effective or viable in the long run.

William F. Hineser, Arvada

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