Letter: Developing off-grid home energy can be effective
I sat reading Mr. Cronemiller's letter in the Pioneer and was taken aback by his problematic arguments for coal. To summarize his arguments: wind is no good because the wind does not always blow and solar is no good because the sun does not always shine, and his last was that there was no way to store energy. The last one really got me. I began to wonder who is this guy. He seems so in the dark, he has never heard of batteries or power capacitors. Has he completely forgotten the work of Edison and Tesla?
So I Googled his name and found out that this man was in fact a linesman for Beltrami Electric, or had been at some time. So I thought certainly this man must understand that energy is stored in huge amounts right now for peak load management. He certainly cannot be telling us that at many times there is no wind throughout the Western world. How then would one account for changes in the weather? Certainly he could not be arguing against every meteorologist, architectural engineer and aircraft engineer in the world who clearly makes a living dealing with the wind in the air space that a wind turbine would occupy.
Then I also wondered why he did not mention geothermal which alone is thought to be able to generate 40 percent of today's energy needs. Then I realized he, like most in the electric industry, actually feels that electrical consumption will grow. However this view is faulty, as companies like Wal-Mart look at how to generate on-site electricity. Wal-Mart now has two stores generating 100 percent of their electrical needs via wind and solar. It fails to consider the LED lighting, which would be a large reduction in electrical use and geothermal HVAC systems, another large reduction.
See the problem in their view is the fact that for many companies on-site electrical became the more economical choice. The same is happening in HVAC with geothermal loops. So when he poses the question of which costs less, I just refer to the overall cost; the average off-grid home will pay less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour over the life of the home, and enjoy no blackouts. The home on the grid currently pays 9 cents per kilowatt hour.