Add renewable energy to the mix

Published 9:05 pm Thursday, July 21, 2016

To the editor:

In a recent Richmond Times Dispatch article, Dominion spokesman Rick Zuercher stated that renewable energy, which typically only runs a quarter of the time because it needs sunny or windy days, can’t be the answer for all of the utility’s needs.

Zuercher said, “Nuclear is the only large and dispatchable source of always-on electricity that does not emit carbon dioxide or other emissions associated with burning fossil fuels.”

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These are more misleading statements by Dominion, which seems to have taken double talk to a new low.

Renewable energy systems can provide ample full-time power. The Solar Reserve Crescent Dunes commercial power plant in Nevada can provide power for 10 hours after the sun goes down. So even at the winter solstice, the plant can provide power for 20 straight hours.

Store a little of that energy in batteries in your home for low-use hours, and you’re set. Add Atlantic Ocean offshore wind energy to the mix, and you’ve got full time power all the time. Add geothermal and retrofit hydroelectric power, and you’ve got a diverse and safe energy supply that can meet all of our energy needs now and into the future.

Once renewable energy systems are in place, and except for minor maintenance costs, the abundant energy they supply is free and inexhaustible.

They do not emit unhealthy pollutants from burning fossil fuels, which MIT and EPA state cause premature deaths for 200,000 Americans each year. They don’t add any further greenhouse gases to our atmosphere, which places humanity’s future at risk.

Finally, they won’t explode in a giant fireball with flames 1,000 feet high like the gas pipeline in Appomattox did several years ago, or emit a massive cloud of radioactive gas, and leave large areas uninhabitable, like Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactors or those at Chernobyl have done.

Of some of the nations’s 30 largest utility companies Dominion was dead last in incremental energy efficiency as a percentage of sales, 29th in life-cycle energy efficiency as a percentage of retail sales, and 23rd in renewable energy sales as a percentage of retail sales in 2014.

Dominion could easily transition now to efficient renewable energy sources. These energy sources may not be quite as profitable for Dominion, but Dominion would still make a lot of money.

They just wouldn’t make it off the backs of captive ratepayers or those all along the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

William Limpert

Warm Springs