Carroll County Times Opinion

Now is not the time to fully implement renewable energy; GOP needs Hogan presidential run | READER COMMENTARY

Too many questions need to be answered about renewable energy

Just over a year ago, the Times published my opinion letter making the case that virtually everything in our homes was at one time on a truck. Assuming that’s the case, and I believe it is, when President Joe Biden shut down the Keystone Pipeline, he all but instantly hiked the price of gasoline, especially diesel. And diesel, as we know, is used in trucks.

Fast forward to today and we realize that gas prices are still high, and sadly but quite naturally, so is inflation.


Still, at some point, NOT in our lifetime, nor in the lifetimes of the next 10 or so generations, we will exhaust the world’s supply of fossil fuels, and we’ll need to fully convert to renewable energy. Of course that depends on a number of factors, including the size of the world’s population. Maybe a nuclear holocaust or a global pandemic will wipe out billions, and our energy needs won’t be so great. But absent those things, renewables will be needed “someday.”

However, we don’t need them today, nor in 50 or 100 years, and probably not in 200 or 300. Now is the right time to be developing and perfecting the technology. But it’s not the right time to even attempt to implement them. Renewable energy today has its place as a supplement to — not as a replacement for — traditional energy sources. However, in order for renewable energy to actually replace fossil fuels and nuclear energy, it must be capable of providing safe, reliable, and constant energy to homes, businesses, and industry. And at this point it means supplying enough to recharge all those millions of batteries for EVs that haven’t been built or sold yet.


Valid questions exist about the reliability and sustainability of renewable energy — where do we get our power when the wind isn’t blowing to turn the turbines, and when the clouds block the sun and the solar panels stop working? To date, the only proposal I’ve heard is to build huge banks of batteries to store whatever excess power is created when wind and solar are at peak production. Today the best battery technology is based on lithium, which our country produces at barely a 1% rate. Even if the United States could produce more lithium, the mining process is so environmentally offensive that just getting the mining permits would likely take years of fighting with administrations and climate change zealots.

In fact, at the moment, a U.S. judge has ordered the government to revisit its review of a lithium mine planned for Nevada. The judge denied opponents to block it in a ruling that the developer claims clears the way for construction of the nation’s largest known deposit of lithium. The location is on the Nevada-Oregon border and environmentalists, local tribes and a local rancher have been fighting the project for two years; don’t expect any resolution soon.

So that would mean putting the security of our electrical grid in the hands of foreign countries like China that produce lithium and make the batteries. To make matters worse, the lack of competition for those resources would cause the price to skyrocket on all facets of EV production. That’s economics 101!

Maybe someday those obstacles can be overcome, hopefully with a better and much less expensive solution than lithium batteries. But for now that’s just wishful thinking.

The issues above are the most significant and most obvious hurdles before a full implementation of renewable energy will be feasible. But there are also a number of other, less obvious problems we face.

For example, whenever solar panels eventually fail, how and where do we dispose of them? Can they be recycled? People in California who have had them for awhile and need to replace them are having issues with the disposal of the old ones.

In our own county, the issue of solar “farms” is and will likely continue to be a raging debate. What impact will the water runoff from those panels have on the ground.? And on and on it goes.

Further, even if fossil fuels are no longer needed, oil will still be necessary for lubrication in industry, in homes and for those wind turbines.


Bottom line, full implementation of renewables is NOT something that needs to be done immediately — no matter what the fear mongers tell us. Let’s not be bullied into doing something that the nation is not yet prepared for. Right now the only people who would benefit from such a change would be the ones invested in the new technology. Those of us who were around in the ‘70s when the government forced us to use unleaded gas and add catalytic converters on our vehicles have seen all the extra costs and unforeseen environmental side effects that resulted from that program.

Let’s NOT let it happen again!!

Dave Price, Sykesville

Republicans need to convince Hogan to run for president

There are so many leaders like the very productive former “Government of the People,” Gov. Larry Hogan, who earned two terms in a Democratic state, who, as he, are more tentative, kinder, open to listening to, welcoming and tending to the concerns of voters who hold different points of view. How is it then that some voters seek and follow an authoritarian leader who poses the threat of retribution against those among them who signal the slightest disloyalty?

Ask one of the authoritarian’s applauding followers, or a thousand of them, and the reply in so many words will be universal: “But there is no other way, idiot.”

This Democrat believes thinking Republicans would bring a breath of fresh air to the GOP if they successfully convinced Hogan to change his decision and run for president of the United States, the land of the free and home of the brave where democracy, not egoism and personality, reigns supreme.


John D. Witiak, Union Bridge