A recent letter stated that burning and disposing of coal is harmful. I can agree with that, but not that his suggested alternatives are much better and should be subsidized.

Some environmentalists push certain types of alternative energy but don’t present the full picture. When comparing solar energy to coal powered power plants, they end up comparing apples to oranges. Solar panels provide very little electric energy per acre, and only do so when the sun shines. For a fair comparison you have to include manufacturing which requires the use of caustic chemicals like Sodium Hydroxide; Nitrogen Trifloride gas (NF3), acid, water and electricity. Due to the increased use of solar panels, NF3 emissions have increased 1,075 percent in the last 25 years, compared to 5 percent for CO2 emissions. NF3 has a global warming potential 17,200 times greater than CO2.

Jay Leno was bragging about his electric car not having any emissions. A fair comparison will show the emissions from an electric car aren’t all that clean. About 60 percent of electricity still comes from fossil fuels and after losses, as little as 40 percent arrives at your wall socket. Similar comparisons can be made for ethanol and hydrogen fuel cells.

The best way to protect our environment is through conservation. America wastes more energy than any other nation. Population control was a major concern in the 1990s but has fallen out of favor politically. Every human consumes and generates waste. We can’t build solar farms fast enough to keep up with population growth.

Brian Blue

St. Simons Island

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