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Start Thinking About
Alternative-Energy Options

by Hugh Coleman
Seattle Times, January 31, 2010

Both current wind and solar efforts are considerably behind ocean-motion energy in efficiency ["Green star this year? Think energy efficiency," Business, Jan. 27]. Wind turbines at best transmit less than 25 percent of the energy that impinges their blades. Solar does not come close to doing that well.

(bluefish corrects: SunPower Announces Efficiency Record January 23, 2010 -- "SunPower announced today that it produced a full-scale solar cell in one of its factories in the Philippines that can convert 24.2 percent of the sunlight that strikes it into electricity, which constitutes a record in the industry.")
When you ignore the input and concentrate on use efficiency, you are ignoring the reality of where we must go and the necessary action to get there. The downslope of expendable options even now is considerably greater than any conservation efforts or use efficiencies.

We do not need to act like the U.S. as a whole and live on 100 quads per year [an amount of energy equivalent to more than eight billion gallons of gasoline]. If we do not act responsibly with our current challenges, we will end up with less, and no amount of insulation will fill that void.

Oil and natural gas may have different availabilities but you can plan on both lasting about the same amount of time. This means at that point we must have other options in place and neither wind nor solar alone can meet that scale.

We are going to have several efficient options that currently are possible but not available at this time. The time to talk and not act passed long ago.

Stop war, pay for windmills

If instead of paying for endless foreign wars, the citizens of Washington state should somehow magically redirect the amount of their federal taxes being spent on the military for one month -- really just one month.

That would be enough money to build enough windmills to replace the Centralia Coal Power Plant -- one coal-power plant that emits as much carbon dioxide as all the cars in the state of Washington combined!

Is it really true we cannot afford to do our part to reduce global warming?

- James Adcock, Bellevue

Hugh Coleman, Kelso
Start Thinking About Alternative-Energy Options
Seattle Times, January 31, 2010

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