Editorial: Bringing synergy to energy

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our view

Coal has been very good to our community, and we shouldn’t stray from it. However, it’s a collaborative effort between industries that will provide a lasting solution to our ever-increasing energy needs.

With the future use of Vermillion Basin at the center of local discussions lately, the new incarnation of the Editorial Board found energy and the debates surrounding it fitting topics at its meeting Monday.

The basin, along with the passage of Colorado House Bill 10-1365, otherwise known as the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act, and a host of other happenings on a national and global scale, continue to make energy a pressing issue for our community and beyond.

Here, in Moffat County, our community relies heavily on coal, and we shouldn’t run from that fact, the Editorial Board contends. However, in order to foster a more diversified economy, our community must also keep an open mind to, and even embrace, the development of other energy sources.

The reality is, the Editorial Board believes, our country’s energy needs aren’t dependent on one sole source, but rather a smattering of sources that can combine to meet our needs.

That’s not a knock on coal — as the board stated earlier, coal has been very, very good to our community, and it’s still one of our society’s most viable resources.

Instead, the board is advocating for a practical approach to an ever-increasing demand that our society and resources won’t be able to meet unless a mixture of sources are pooled together.

The point is this: We shouldn’t hang our hat on just one option. We should continue to support and educate ourselves on coal and its production, but also support the idea that other sources may be able to contribute to increased demand as well.

Today, it often seems that many people take the stance that one source is the silver bullet to our energy needs. That approach is short sighted.

Solutions to real problems are never that simple.

They require thought, research and cooperation, and those are all elements the Editorial Board considers to be missing from the discussion on how we’ll keep the lights on and our economy running in the years and decades to come.

Comments

rhammel 4 years, 5 months ago

Clean energy is what our political leaders are advocating. However, they are suggesting large wind farms and large solar panel arrays.

I suggest something far smaller and something that won't gobble up a vast amount of land. I advocate home wind generators and home solar arrays. They take up virtually no land. While the initial monetary investment is a bit on the high side, a homeowner will recoup that investment over time.

Solar and wind installations will develop local jobs and enhancement for electrical contractors. I see this as a positive situation for our community.

True, over time, electric companies will notice a drop in sales. But even they are advocting "green" energy consuption.

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nyoast 4 years, 5 months ago

One way or another we will have to mine materials to get energy. Solar arrays and wind generation systems need rare earth metals. Right now we import 100 percent of the quartz crystal used in photovoltaic panels, the indium used in LED lighting, and the rare earth metals used in batteries and permanent magnets. These materials are needed for both wind generation and solar. The large quantities of minerals required for clean energy technologies only add to the scale of our needs. A large wind turbine can contain more than 1 ton of rare earth elements — in addition to more than 300 tons of steel, nearly 5 tons of copper and 3 tons of aluminum. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, our nation’s reliance on foreign minerals has “grown significantly” over the past several decades. Last year, we imported more than 50 percent of our supply of 43 different minerals and materials. These metals are mainly mined in China and other countries that do not have regulations on mining. Not only are we dependent on foreign oil, but we also depend on other countries for the needed resources to build these green devices. To often people use the term "green" energy.
Albert Einstein once wrote that “in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Solar and wind systems as they are now, are not the solution. To mine the metals needed, you need oil, that adds to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We need to look at hydrogen, which is the most abundant element in the Universe. The great thing with hydrogen, is the only by products to speak of are water and heat. But as in everything there are drawbacks to using hydrogen. New nuclear technologies also need to be addressed and developed, again there are drawbacks to nuclear. Educate our children to find new methods, and better the methods we now have. A Moffat County High School graduate has spent time in Europe studying carbon sequestration. That is one method being studied for reducing emissions in coal fired plants. Right now, with our standards of living, coal is the best we got. We need to go slow and look at global affects of green methods. There is an old saying, if it is not grown, it is mined or drilled from the Earth. No matter what we do, we affect this planet and its resources. There is no true "green" energy.

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Harlan 4 years, 5 months ago

nyoast - thank you for the post. It is very interesting.

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