Consider the future when devising energy solutions


Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 3, 2005 at 11:05 p.m.

In response to the Dec. 29 letter on affordable electricity from Carmine Oliverio: To understand why solar electric power or natural gas generators are not cost-effective compared to burning coal, look at energy solutions that supposedly are. Building nuclear power plants before figuring out what to do with the waste is cost-effective. Drowning the Columbia River and its priceless salmon runs is cost-effective. Spending $100 billion a year to defend the Persian Gulf oil fields is prudent. Burning enough fossil fuel between now and 2100 to warm earth makes fiscal sense - it will be a shorter drive from Gainesville to the beaches.

Conventional energy economics is a value system masquerading as mathematics. At its heart is one key assumption: The future is worthless and the environment doesn't matter. Who cares about the well-being of future generations?

For 80 years, our culture has had cheap power on a pedestal. In most contexts, cheap means "shoddy" or "second-rate." But when it comes to electricity, cheap is best regardless of the effects on the environment.

The cheap power paradigm is bankrupt. It's a fraud. If you value the future or the environment, natural gas and solar power are cost-effective. If you don't, they aren't.

Solar power and natural gas generation may be too expensive, so let's just ruin the air, water and ourselves with cheap coal. It makes economic "cents" to me. The real moral solution is to put up a nuclear power plant so that when it goes off, it will only destroy Alachua County and the surrounding areas, instead of burning coal, which will destroy the entire planet.

Kathryn St. Croix,

Gainesville

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