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Letters: Paying for clean power

September 25, 2012
  • One of three solar receivers stands 459 feet above the floor of the Mojave Desert in California's Ivanpah Valley at BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station. The facility will eventually generate 392 megawatts of electricity, serving about 140,000 homes.
One of three solar receivers stands 459 feet above the floor of the Mojave… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

Re "The sun's Midas touch," Sept. 21

Your article focuses too narrowly on the high cost of starting a better energy industry. Taxpayers have subsidized energy at too high a cost for too long.

Consider the cost to build risky nuclear reactors that have limited life spans but produce waste with practically unlimited life spans. Consider the cost of the health and environmental damage caused by dirty energy industries. Consider the long-term global economic costs of continuing the extraction and burning of fuels that permanently contaminate our planet. The public must absorb these intolerable costs.

By supporting clean industries, we can move toward real energy independence, in which we use our homes and parking lots to provide energy without producing waste. The result would be incalculable savings in dollars, health, environment and security.

Kathy Harty


I support federal incentives for solar power. But it's inexcusable to allow utilities to charge ratepayers a single dollar more than the going rate for power from facilities that those same ratepayers subsidized with their tax dollars.

If half of the capital costs of a plant are covered in advance and the other half are federally guaranteed, then I'm sure there would be an attractive enough investment to assure plenty of new solar projects in California at conventional rates. Public incentive programs on this scale should require no less.

Progressives have a responsibility to wisely use the tax dollars we ask of the public. This will be another arrow in the quiver of anyone who already believes that our government can't be trusted.

Occupy activists are dismissed when they claim there's little difference between the major parties, but this is exactly what they're talking about.

Dave Coulter

Woodland Hills

Yes, bidding processes and subsidy payout timelines can and should be better deals for ratepayers. Still, while pointing out these and other shortfalls of the belated beginning of the switch to renewable energy, The Times could have mentioned the cost of continuing to coast on fossil fuels, "save" money and ignore the degrading environment.

Then, sooner rather than later, the melting of Greenland's ice cap will become irreversible (if it is not already), resulting in sea-level rise; Asia's glacier-fed rivers will permanently irrigate fewer crops; health problems from excessive heat and from the northward migration of tropical insects will take their toll; and all of these and more will likely lead to famine and war.

So please pardon our haste and poor planning, but we are just beginning to try to save the planet.

Robert Siebert



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