Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: energy

June
5th

ENERGY: Solar array will pay for itself

Re: “A little rain on solar power parade” (letter, 6-2).

I think the writer’s computations are wrong. Since I have a solar power array, and am going to enlarge it, I think that I might know a little bit about it.

Assuming that the array would wipe out his usage of the grid power and that the array was installed early enough to obtain the full state rebate, let’s do some math.

The original cost of $45,000 less the federal credit of $13,500 leaves $31,500 to be paid off. Assuming that the full state credit of $5,000 for this

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May
28th

ENERGY: A little rain on the solar power parade

Re: “Solar energy getting brighter” (TNT, 5-28).

The article gives the impression that solar energy is a good investment for homeowners. I hate to rain on the solar parade, but here are a few figures:

My house uses about 11,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity a year. According to the article, generating this with solar would require an installation costing about $45,000. I pay $840 per year for the electricity, so it would take more than 50 years for the system to pay for itself, assuming no costs for maintenance or damage. Even with subsidies, it would take 40

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April
22nd

ENERGY: Don’t roll back solar incentives

Re: “Solar energy rules under attack from conservatives” (TNT, 4-21).

The article on efforts to roll back state incentives for policies that favor green energy points out that the big utilities and such “conservative” actors as the Koch brothers and Grover Norquist are behind the misleading and counterproductive campaign. They assert that net-metering solar power producers do not pay to maintain the power grid, which is clearly false.

As one homeowner with solar panels tied to the grid, I can tell you that I do pay a customer charge for that connection, beyond what I pay for electricity I

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Feb.
14th

ENERGY: Do we really want more nuclear reactors?

According to The Capitol Record: “Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, supported SB 5991 and said Washington is missing out on money the federal government has been investing in nuclear power in other states.

Senate Bill 5991 passed 34-15. It would have to be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by the governor before becoming law.

Nobody can convince me that nuclear anything is safe. We can’t even handle the Fukushima disaster, which is contaminating the world right now. Nor can we handle the Hanford disaster in this state. When scientists figure out how to stop this continuing disaster and

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Jan.
9th

ENERGY: Hanford’s ideal for nuclear innovation

Re: “Small, modular reactors for Hanford?” (editorial, 1-7).

Congratulations on the editorial suggesting that we look at supporting a new nuclear industry in Washington state. You are right that Hanford is an ideal location for nuclear innovators. Your facts and arguments about nuclear power being safer than coal are solid.

The only item that gave a wrong impression was the paragraph stating that conventional reactors have an Achilles’ heel of requiring pumped cooling water in an emergency, and the new smaller reactors are safer because they have passive cooling incorporated into their design.

The nuclear power industry started including

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Jan.
8th

ENERGY: Nuclear power isn’t worth the risks

Re: “Small, modular reactors for Hanford?” (editorial, 1-7).

Here they come again, the nuclear power profiteers with a new “product,” a miniaturized power plant whose primary “new” attribute is “safety.” I believe we’ve heard that promise before, and it didn’t quite pan out at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. No deaths due to radiation at Fukushima? Not yet; wait a decade or two and see.

Meanwhile, what we do have at both Chernobyl and Fukushima are “exclusion” (read dead) zones. The dead zone around Chernobyl extends to 2,600 kilometers. We might hope that the dead zone from Fukushima

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Jan.
7th

ENERGY: Nuclear reactors do have carbon footprint

Re: “Small, modular reactors for Hanford?” (editorial, 1-7).

You are wise to suggest that we take another look at nuclear power. Not only is it safer and more diverse now, but it needs to be reconsidered in light of global warming concerns.

Nuclear reactors provide a reliable source of baseload electricity without emitting any greenhouse gases. They do, however, have a carbon footprint; this misinformation in your editorial needs to be corrected.

As long as fossil fuels are used in the manufacturing, transporting or site preparation, there is a carbon footprint. This, of course, also applies to other forms

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Oct.
8th

ENERGY: TPU using flawed methodology

As a recently retired Tacoma Public Utilities energy engineer, I am now free to talk about how TPU chooses conservation projects and how millions of dollars of potential energy-conservation projects go unfunded by TPU because the department uses an outdated and excessively conservative method of evaluating the economics of energy projects.

TPU Superintendent Ted Coates has firmly established a method of looking at energy projects that adds costs unrelated to energy to the test, which results in many projects that are stellar economic performers for other utilities going unfunded at TPU. This is TPU’s own economic test; the methodology has

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