Letter: Don’t scare people from renewables
Recently a letter was submitted to scare Colorado residents about Gov. Polis’s Clean Energy Plan. Using California and its awful fires as the reason that renewable energy won’t work — instead of why it might be more necessary than ever — they cited a medley of costs for plastic, metal and other parts involved in constructing wind and solar plants, and incorrectly stated: “Recent technological advances make conventional energy sources much less impactful on the environment, and they remain far cheaper than renewable energy.”
Well, that’s simply wrong, and anyone who wants to fact check this should look up “Cost of Electricity by Source” on Wikipedia and will see several sources that say utility scale solar and on shore wind are actually the cheapest source of energy. The measurement used by the industry and world of finance as decisions are made to close coal plants and build solar is something called LCOE — levelized cost of energy — and it looks at the lifetime cost of the energy source.
An April 2020 analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance found solar PV and onshore wind are now the cheapest sources of new-build generation for at least two-thirds of the global population. Battery storage is now the cheapest new-build technology for peaking purposes — up to two hours of discharge duration — in gas-importing regions, like Europe, China or Japan.
These economic facts and analyses do not even include the damaging impact of carbon in our atmosphere, raising our temperatures by 2F in Colorado and drying our rivers and our forests. Let’s face it, this summer has been a perfect example on the Western Slope of Colorado as we have experienced one of the highest warming trends in the U.S. and worst forest fires in state history. As Winston Churchill said during the days of WW II to encourage action, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”
Finally, it is disappointing to see the writer make this into a Democratic versus Republican issue. Lowering the cost of electricity, creating better energy resilience from extreme weather and taking action to set goals to reduce the warming effects of carbon, which are drying up our crops, forests and rivers, is something that should be applauded in all elected officials regardless of their party.
This issue, for those who are willing to research the most up to date facts, is one that should bring us together as a community, and country. Local citizens may want to consider encouraging their utility provider to expand their use of this lowest cost of electricity for families and businesses alike.
To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @lschlichtman.
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On Tuesday, Peak Health Alliance, a nonprofit, locally-led insurance purchasing alliance, gave a presentation to the Routt County commissioners. We attended the meeting (remotely), and this is what we learned: