- - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The latest con from the clean-power extremists is a demand for 50 percent energy from renewables by 2030 (“No traction for climate change,” Web. Feb. 28). America may violate hundreds of square miles of land and spend trillions of dollars on the con, but it’s still a con. Americans can tell it’s a con by looking out the nearest window.

Critics of the con point to land use and expense, and claim that renewable energy isn’t reliable. They’re correct on land use and cost, but wrong on reliability. Solar and wind, the principal renewable energy sources of the future, are absolutely reliable: They are dependably ‘off’ half of the time. So the light switch in the American kitchen or dining room will be powered by 50 percent renewables half the time, which will actually be 25 percent renewables.

But wait, isn’t energy storage the solution to the reliably intermittent power from solar and wind? Well, America doesn’t have utility-scale storage yet, though it may come after spending more trillions. Still, even that is not a solution; it’s the next con. To store energy there must be an energy surplus while providing energy to meet load requirements. For wind, and for solar from deserts near the equator, it’s probably enough to double the size of wind- and solar-energy production facilities to provide for storage. Land use and cost will of course double accordingly. Solar at higher latitudes, where the sun isn’t seen for as much as a week at a time, will probably require increasing facility sizes to as much as seven times the load to provide surplus for a week’s storage.

The biggest con of all is the promise that Americans will pay less for clean power because sun and wind are free, and that they will enjoy having less land, less wealth and less electricity.

GEORGE F. STEEG

Potomac Falls, Va.

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