The Sentinel’s double-barreled response to my weekend letter (“Greener steps” editorial and Mia Summerson’s article on “community power,” both on April 10/11) brought into stark relief my fundamental points.
The two quotes in the community power article tout “the benefits of keeping dollars in the community,” and encourage “the expansion of the local renewable energy market.” Given that this market consists of energy generation, distribution, billing and repair — and given that the distribution, billing and repair remain unchanged from presently — it leaves only the expansion of energy generation. Where will this added green energy be generated; the windmills, the solar farms, the hydro dams and retention lakes, and the miles and miles of power lines to connect them all? WHERE?
The best windmill sites are along the Merriconn Ridge (between the Merrimack and Connecticut rivers), from Lempster to Mount Monadnock, itself an ideal candidate. Or maybe a big solar farm in (clear-cut) Pisgah State Park? And for redundancy and reliability, we could dam the Ashuelot River, impounding its last 5 miles into Keene, with a power plant right in the city. This combination of “local renewable energy” sources might be able to replace Keene’s present dirty sources. Or, if cloudy, calm days/nights are a “reliability” concern, we could expand our thinking to include a small, modular nuclear plant (using new, safe technology of course) on the Ashuelot, or a big one on the nearby Connecticut River.
The Sentinel could do a public service by pointing out two inconvenient truths in its energy stories.
First, there are many, many ways to generate electricity, renewable or otherwise. Each and every way has a cost; monetary, environmental and just plain nuisance value to its neighbors. They could require articles and commentary to include all the costs resulting from any group touting an energy source.
(Editor’s note: Neither The Sentinel’s weekend editorial, nor the news article referenced, were responses to the writer’s previous letter; both were written before it was published.)