Wave of the Future

Jun 06, 2018

To the Editor:

With only minimal amusement, and all-too-common horror, I read the letter by Joseph Orrico (“Wrong Agenda,” 5/23). He got everything about power production wrong – wrong enough to suspect his motives. Well, who knows? Michele Byer’s column (“New Jersey Powering Up for Cleaner Energy,” 5/2) lauds progress in renewable energy policy in New Jersey. How the devil can one be against wind or solar energy? They are clean, real clean, and the modern world is embracing them for that reason, and making them sound economically.

Clean coal technology, which refers to the burning of coal, has not been employed significantly in the U.S. It has nothing to do with the filthy effects, to land and water, of mining coal. Gas burns cleaner than coal, but the devastation it produces to ruin underground clean water has forced several states, not yet broke or owned by power companies, to ban fracking outright. Pennsylvania, not even God will be able to help you when your aquifers and streams are poisoned. When natural gas boomed, coal mining collapsed because it was more expensive. As a consequence, CO2 production per capita in the U.S. fell a bit, like 10-plus percent. But clean coal, clean gas are lies, myths.

I got solar panels for my house in January 2018. I had no precise idea about how this would affect my finances, but after five months, I can see light. I already took a $2,000 tax credit. The panels have produced 2.26 milliwatts, which will be sold for about $230/milliwatt. And my most recent power bill showed a reduction in cost from about $200 last May to $80 this May. This works, despite there being laws in New Jersey limiting how much solar power a residence can produce, thanks to the political influence and legislator-buying power of power companies.

It does not take Jules Verne to see that renewable energy is an ideal solution, and that this is where our industrial might and know-how, do-it motivation should go. Clean air and clean, safe water are essential: We don’t really have a sane choice. Economies change; jobs, construction, education change with progress, always have done. I don’t hate the image of a cozy little mining town, but I think its time has come and gone. That little town does not have the right to make the environment rotten for everyone else.

If clean coal, which is very, very expensive to adopt (and has not been adopted for all practical purposes), were really real to mine and burn, that would be fine. But it is only a couple of empty words, a sham, a broken promise, at least in the U.S.

Clean energy is not a scam. It is the wave of the future, not just beloved by leftists (whoever they may be), but by forward-thinking people who do not want to ruin the future of this country, who love the outdoors, the natural world, and don’t want to see the bounty (it’s not unlimited!) we have inherited ruined beyond repair.

Lastly, I’d like to thank The SandPaper for its extraordinary quality, and qualities, for engaging journalism, obviously tons of work, and serving the public.

M. Kahn

Brant Beach


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