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Letter: Cap emissions, invest in renewable energy

Re “Impact of climate plan on plant uncertain” (Sunday Monitor Local & State page, July 14):

Those who do not prioritize climate change want to keep these dirty power plants in business. When groups like this go unchecked, they can pollute and destroy the environment without any constraint. The way to put an end to this rampant destruction is through capping emission levels and investing in clean, renewable energy sources.

A few states, including New Hampshire, are already doing the right thing by signing onto the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the cap-and-trade program that limits carbon emissions by power plants and funds clean energy programs all while making the economy grow. Fossil-fuel companies and power plants cannot control our economies, politics and environments any longer, especially in the wake of so many climate-related disasters.

We need to maintain and strengthen RGGI alongside President Obama’s plans to keep New Hampshire on track for a clean energy future.

MARGARET McCARTHY

Concord

(The writer represents Environment New Hampshire.)

Nuclear power is a dead issue, pun intended. Nuclear power has four unsurmountable problems, waste, radiation, accidents, and risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons. Fortunately we have no need for it, because the world is awash in sunshine that provides in an hour more energy than we need in an entire year. About 1% of that is converted to wind, which can provide over 10 times what we need. Solar can provide over 1000 times what we need. The difference is that wind and solar you pay up front for the next 20 years instead of pay as it it is used, but investors love that because it gives them a guaranteed return on their investment, usually set at 8%. Where else can you find a 20 year investment that pays 8%/year? Solar and wind are also intermittent, meaning you have to take all of it when it is available, and must build transmission lines and storage so that it can be used where needed or when needed. We need to build a "solar superhighway" using underground superconductors from the Southwest to the Northeast, and from Texas to North Dakota for the wind power that is available there. That is our energy future. As to a cap, you would have to set the cap at zero for it to make any sense. What we can do is have a carbon tax, of so many dollars a ton to discourage burning oil, natural gas, and coal, and use it to invest in building a solar and wind infrastructure. Gas prices are set by supply and demand, not by the amount of tax, and adding a carbon tax internationally will not change the price of gasoline by even one penny a gallon.

Christopher...your 'four insurmountable problems' are antiquated. Back in the 80s, when super heated steam was used for heat transfer in nukes, there was potential for meltdowns, etc. Now, it is time for the fifth generation: modular nuclear power plants. These are manufactured and transported to where they are needed, then placed into a vault in the ground. Superheated steam is not used, molten salts are used to carry energy to turbines. With a wall made out of the same salt, but refrigerated, should power fail, the salt drains into a special container. So far: no danger of explosions, emissions, or weapons. Nuclear waste-using waste from other plants reduces the need. Now, if only sunshine could be stored-for the night times when it is quite dark.

Margaret...The US needs to cap CO2 emissions and begin the process of installing Modular Nuclear Power Plants. These power plants are about a fifth the size of Seabrook and do NOT use superheated steam. They are placed into the ground, with only controls above ground. Concord would need, probably, two. And, since they would be installed in Concord, the need for high power lines all over the state would be reduced. Such power plants have no emissions, so don't pollute. Disposing of residual nuclear materials-that would need to be dealt with (but placing under a mountain in Nevada should be a viable alternative).

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