In his Aug. 24 letter, “Lustgarten’s response was a predictable one,” sniping at Jay Lustgarten, Phil Gingerella enjoyed himself. If Mr. Gingerella had constructed his letter by using facts, the letter might have been amusing. However, he did not use facts, so the laugh is on him.
For example, he dismissed as ridiculous Mr. Lustarten’s claim that greening America would hurt Russia. With a population almost two-and-a-half times larger, Russia has an economy less than the size of Italy. It depends on oil exports to survive. We are replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy. As we do, prices for fossil fuels will drop. Falling demand lowers prices. President Jimmy Carter broke the back of the oil cartel in the seventies with a massive energy conservation program. It nearly halved our oil consumption and drove prices down. OPEC nations found themselves fighting one another for market share. They all made less money.
Mr. Gingerella tried to make a point out of the fact green energy feeds into the grid. Although he did not make clear what that point was. He said we could not afford green energy. He also suggested that we would have two energy delivery systems. One for fossil fuels and one green. He claims the green would be unreliable. He said we would need to replace green energy structures and batteries. He also moans that green energy takes up space. None explained why Mr. Lustgarten was in error and much of it was factually incorrect.
It is true, green energy feeds into the grid. Utilities companies own and use the grid to deliver electricity. It makes no difference if electricity comes from fossil fuels or green fuels. It is all electricity. It all delivers. Energy experts the utility companies do not view green and fossil as mutually exclusive choices. Many major utilities in the United States and abroad are integrating home and commercial wind and solar in their delivery mix. Some utilities are building green energy sources. Green energy does take up space. Replacing the means to energy production is not unique to green energy. Fossil fuel and nuclear plants also require continual repair, refurbishment and replacement. We have space for green energy. Some of it is good for little else. If we did not have the space, we would have a problem.
Wind and solar generation are now competitive with fossil fuels. They became competitive because of the economy of scale and technology. Supply and demand affect fossil fuel costs. Technology and economy of scale affect wind and solar. Prices for solar and wind devices and batteries will fall while efficiency will rise. Fossil fuels costs will vary with the market, but technology and scale will drive wind and solar costs ever downward. Right now, fossil fuels are cheaper because we overproduced natural gas. Natural gas is cheaper and driving coal out of the market. American natural gas producers have increased liquefied natural gas exports to expand marketing. Soon, gas prices will rise and that will spur the growth of cheaper renewables. Nothing is forever. The carbon-based economy is phasing out to a mix of energy sources. Carbon energy may go the way of stone wheels and whale oil.
I know that Mr. Gingerella prides himself on taking an hour or two a day keeping up on current events. He said so in his letter. If he does spend that much time keeping up on current events, he is wasting it. He sounds like he gets his information from Donald Trump. If he were up on current events, he would know that Donald Trump is not known for his veracity. He should look elsewhere for his information. Jay Lustgarten might be a good place to start.
Joseph C. SciarilloWesterly