Rogers: ‘Climate Apocalypse’ — Are they serious?

Respected sources like USA Today, The New Yorker and Scientific American are saying that a “Climate Apocalypse” is coming because of all the fuel we burn for energy.

Our modern world is powered by energy — people are saying, “I can’t pull the plug, I want clean, cheap energy!”

What kind of clean, cheap energy do we need? Renewable energy that is cost-effective. We can look at renewable energy in two ways: utility-scale and home-scale.

On the utility-scale, my power company is Rocky Mountain Power, also PacifiCorp. PacifiCorp will announce its long-range generating plan on Oct. 15, less than two weeks away. On Oct. 21, representatives are scheduled to speak at an open forum at 7 p.m. at the Provo Library. They are laying out plans to produce electricity for the next 20 years. What I have learned is that according to PacifiCorp researchers, the cheapest power sources right now are wind and solar, not natural gas. They are planning the changeover. We will learn more at the meeting in Provo.

On the home-scale, Just this month, I added solar to my house. I will cut my expenses for electricity by about $100 a month! My mortgage lender was happy to add the cost to my mortgage, no increase in payments. The payback time on the solar system is six years. My return on investment is about 11% — that’s really good! Now that I generate my own free power, I want to use it to run my car too.

Now, the kicker! According to a 2017 report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, about half of the cost of my solar system went to profit and fees, above the costs of materials and labor. The pricing picture has not changed at all since 2017. When PacifiCorp builds a solar power plant, they will pay less than half of what I paid for their installation, about $1.15 a watt. What would happen to our climate crisis if we could get a home solar system for only a little more than PacifiCorp pays, say $1.50 a watt? In 10 years, everybody who could would generate their own electricity, and all the coal-generating plants would be closed because the utility company wouldn’t need their output to satisfy the falling load. And in 15 years, anybody who could might have an electric car. Ahh, clean air! I think we have a pretty good solution to the climate apocalypse right in front of us! We must narrow the margin on the price of home solar.

— Ernie Rogers, Pleasant Grove

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