Open Forum: What's your choice | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Open Forum: What's your choice

Posted: January 6, 2011 - 8:27pm

State and federal government support for renewable energy is pushing a wide array of fuel choices on to electric power utilities. This makes for a kind of energy shopping mall where the utility can compare the performance of the various fuels.

The coal shops are open most of the time and on schedule. They offer low prices at discount store levels. But their products and waste are known to create health hazards for people and the environment.

The natural gas shops also have regular and frequent hours. In addition, they maintain on-site staffing during closing times so as to offer emergency product when other sources fail. Natural gas products have minimum health hazards and are in the medium price range.

Nuclear shops are open all the time except for a one month period every two years for restocking and maintenance. Medium-priced nuclear products are generally free of health hazards. But nuclear stores do create hazardous waste out the back which is a challenge to disposal services.

Wind stores are open just a fourth of the time on intermittent schedules which are set by the stores. Open hours are often at night and in winter when shopping demands are low. Products are healthy, and prices range from low to high depending on location and weather.

Solar shops operate on intermittent daytime hours which also vary with location and weather. Prices range from medium to high for products which are not hazardous.

Hydroelectric shops are open most of time with healthy products, but there are relatively few places where a hydro electric facility can function. Their large overall size and operations are a problem for marine life and water supplies. Their low costs are competitive with coal shops.

Newly elected legislatures continue to pass bills which mandate intermittent choices. What's your choice?

Rolf Westgard

Deerwood