Let me get this straight, the Courier News editorial staff is recommending that New Jersey continue burning coal to generate electricity rather than converting to natural gas, an alternative that would reduce emissions by more than 90 percent, while we wait for solar and wind options to become technically and economically feasible (”Short Circuit Christie’s Energy Plans”, Dec. 11). I realize that as loyal members of the liberal media you feel compelled to genuflect to the environmental lobby, but this one defies logic.
Solar panels generate approximately 10 watts of power per square foot of surface area, and New Jersey consumes about 82 billion kilowatt hours annually. Given those figures, we would need to cover most of Hudson County with solar panels in order to meet our state’s energy requirements – and that’s when the sun’s shining. On a cloudy day, of which as you note there are many in New Jersey, a solar panel’s efficiency is reduced by more than 80 percent. Worse yet, on calm days the efficiency of windmills is zero.
The inconvenient reality is that until the conversion efficiency of solar panels improves dramatically, and a way of storing solar and wind energy in large quantities is developed, supplying 30 percent of NJ’s energy needs from wind and solar sources is not technically realistic. Nor is it economically viable, even if subsidized through massive energy taxes cleverly disguised with gimmicks like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative which after several years, has failed to produce any reduction in emissions.
All of this is not to say that pursuit of renewable energy is not a worthy goal in the long term, rather it is to argue for taking advantage of proven, cost-effective options – natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, etc. – which can have a significant positive impact on the environment in the near term.