Letter to the Editor

San Diego Union-Tribune


Thursday, May 19, 2005


Recently the San Diego Union has been running articles critical of solar energy -- pointing out that energy conservation is often cheaper than solar electricity production.


I think this misses the point. Of course, we should take advantage of whatever is available and appropriate to make the most cost-effective use of available resources. Where conservation is possible and economic -- we should conserve.


But for arguments sake, let us take this to the extreme: We conserve to the point where we use no electric energy at all. Do you really want to live this way?  Could you afford to?  Would we be able to produce anything competitively?


I believe there is no one answer to the forthcoming increases in energy costs. We cannot discard one option just because other partial remedies exist, or may be more cost-effective in particular situations or in particular ways. We need to use whatever is appropriate, knowing that each is individually only a partial solution.


Solar electricity is the only practical way that the average small electricity consumer can insulate himself or herself from rising utility rates. It exists, is real, reliable, and available.


This in no way implies any less need to look for cost- effective ways to conserve, or to work on other possibilities such as cogeneration, wind, ocean power, etc.


While it may sell papers to create a sense that government is making outrageous decisions, I believe it does not serve the public interest in this case.  In the near future, we are going to see substantial increases in energy costs. This will require consideration of all available energy options. I hope your newspaper will contribute positively to this process.




Jim Easton, PE (Electrical)