Solar energy is possible
In a recent study, scientists at the Carnegie Institution for Science, University of California-Irvine, and CalTech found that wind and solar alone could provide 80 percent of U.S. electricity demand. A chart from Reuters news agency released week before last showed that in dollars per megawatt hour, solar and wind are the cheapest energy sources. In terms of alternate carbon-free power sources, hydropower already provides 6.5 percent of U.S. power while geothermal and biomass together add another 2 percent. All of those can be expanded, says Joe Romm, an American physicist and author.
To quote from the aforementioned study and Mr. Romm, “The key to achieving 80 percent penetration of just solar and wind power is a continental-scale transmission network or facilities that could store 12 hours’ worth of the nation’s electricity demand. Fortunately, costs for battery storage have plummeted in recent years so fast that in Colorado, building new renewable power plus battery storage is now cheaper than running old coal plants.”
Solar United Neighbors of West Virginia and Solar United Neighbors of Ohio recently partnered with groups like Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action (of which I am Chair), the League of Women Voters, WVU-P, Interfaith Power and Light, and Friends of the Lower Muskingum River to bring the Mid-Ohio Valley Solar Co-Op to our area. 14 homes in the MOV had solar arrays installed. Chip Pickering of Pickering Associates has overseen the installation of solar on PHS, PSHS, and Williamstown High School as well as the Parkersburg Recycling Center and Marietta City Building.
The future is here. The time is now. Clean energy is a reality, but we must devote the resources to it. We must not get so wrapped up in shale development and petrochemical expansion as to miss this important opportunity. Our grandchildren will either thank or despise us for choices we make today.