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Letter: Renewable energy mix must include coal power

There is much misinformation regarding climate change and carbon emissions. Legislators and the public are persuaded by people who talk a good talk. My question is, "Are we getting the facts straight and who's doing the math on what mandated legislations are going to cost the taxpayers?"

Carbon emissions are a natural occurrence. Is global warming real or is this another phase in a natural occurrence? Will all money spent on carbon clean-up make any difference in climate change? I can't find proof; only opinions.

Coal is the largest and most bountiful resource for electricity in northwest Minnesota. Where will power come from to meet growing demand if coal generation stops? Do we need brownouts and blackouts to make lawmakers or conservationists realize we need coal generation in the mix? Does the average citizen realize how much power it takes to produce electricity?

Electric rates in our area are estimated to climb 68 percent in the next 10 years because of EPA mandates imposed on coal plants. This doesn't include the 30 to 40 percent increase a carbon tax or cap and trade system proposed by our legislators would raise rates. The northwest area of Minnesota has met the state mandate of 25 percent renewables by 2025, 15 years early! Doesn't that mean coal plants are bringing renewables into the mix? Large wind farms cost is about 5-6 cents per kWh compared to 2-3 cents for coal generation, wholesale.

John Persell, House of Representatives District 4A, believes we have only begun our path using renewables. I agree, but we can't switch fast. I recently read comments from a conversation Persell had with a friend. Persell believes everyone should have solar panels on their roof and windmills in their backyards for generating electricity. How many homeowners can afford the $100,000 investment for something that will only supply a small percentage of energy needs? What is the cost per kWh following this plan? This only works if the wind is blowing and the sun is shining. Electricity cannot be stored today.

High priced electricity will chase what little manufacturing we have left in America to other countries. What good does it do for us to break ourselves with measures now when other countries like China build coal plants below 1970s pollution control standards?

If you are concerned about future rate increases and energy shortages, contact your legislators and voice your concerns today.

Jack Cronemiller



EDITOR'S NOTE: A version of this letter was published March 25. Two paragraphs were inadvertently omitted.