Forty years ago, Amory Lovins said we had a choice: continue along the hard energy path, which means building large coal fired plants, risky nuclear plants, damming up rivers for large hydro-electric power plants — or we could choose a soft path of energy conservation, efficiency, solar, wind and geothermal.
An important component of the soft path is decentralization. Instead of more massive, expensive and environmentally harmful projects, each house, warehouse, office building and factory should try to provide its own energy needs through a combination of soft path technologies. Think of all the unused rooftops and the acres of parking lots that could have solar collectors installed above the cars.
As The Sun’s excellent series of articles pointed out, large wind farms placed too close to residential areas are loud, unpleasant and may even have deleterious health effects (“Maryland green energy projects stall amid protests from worried neighbors,” Dec. 20). In contrast, small residential wind turbines typically produce 50-60 decibels of noise (like being 100 feet away from a running air conditioner).
Large solar arrays may not be the best use for good agricultural land. And giving taxpayers’ money to enrich the owners of incinerators while they continue to pollute our air and water does not make sense.
When the Maryland General Assembly reconvenes this month, they should do two things: First, stop giving money to polluters (or insist that the money we give them go to retrofitting CO2 capture and up-to-date scrubbing technologies in their stacks) and second, not be wowed by centralized, big money projects and instead increase incentives for decentralized soft path technologies.
Thank you for bringing this to the public’s attention. Now our legislators need to do the right thing.