The Tennessee Valley Authority wants to give away a 90 percent complete nuclear power plant, so why aren’t the folks who are worried about global warming begging TVA to complete it? Nationally in 2015, 67 percent of our electricity was generated by fossil fuels. Maybe they think that, like computers that get twice as good every year, energy conversion devices will also get twice as efficient every year. We have no economical method of storing electricity. Nor will we build a pumped storage facility and flood some nice high-elevation bowl. We need to solve global warming with technology that we have, not technology we wish we had.
The 10-cent kilowatt hour of electricity that goes into a Chevy Volt costs you 80 cents/kwhr after accounting for the battery replacement, considering the 20 percent to 80 percent of the full charge cycle needed to get a 10-year lifetime. Currently, the only economical “storage” is an older coal-fired plant that has not had pollution upgrades and is left on standby.
To double-build natural gas turbines with solar or wind sounds expensive. Natural gas turbines used for peak loads have to store the natural gas since gas has peak load problems, too. Our demonstration solar cell installations in Tennessee are built on flat land that could be growing something instead of covering my grocery store’s parking lot and keeping my car cool while I shop. As for wind power, I’m guessing the neither the hottest days nor the coldest nights (TVA’s two peak load times) have wind. Texas wind power would require new power lines, but there’s the not-in-my-backyard problem.
Bottom line: I grew up without air conditioning in hot, humid Tennessee and I’m not turning it off.
Joe Horton, Oak Ridge
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