Alternative energy not as clean as touted

To the editor:

Solar and wind power are touted as the means to save Earth from the evils of fossil fuels. When you start really looking at these two modes of clean energy, you find that they are not as clean or green as some would have you believe.

Both solar and wind are heavily subsidized by us, the taxpayers. From an article by Standford L. Levin, emeritus professor of economics at Southern Illinois University, he points out that wind strong enough to turn the blades is only available 20 to 40 percent of the time. The usable sun in Arizona (our sunniest state) is available only 19 percent of the time and a lot less in other states.

When solar or wind is not available to produce power, then the owners must revert to backup power to supply the needs of the utility companies, a large part of the back-up being a fossil-fueled power generation plant. Professor Levin states that wind and solar are the two most expensive forms of power generation now being used.

The cost to taxpayers for solar subsidies has been $39 billion over the last five years while only supplying 0.5 percent (over the last 10 months) of the total electric power generated in 2014. And wind is not far behind, supplying only 1.6 percent while being subsidized $12 billion in 2014.  As the number of wind farms come on line this total will only be going higher for 2015.

Solar and wind versus the environment: Millions of birds are killed each year from turbine strikes or the 800-degree heat produced by the solar mirrors. Those who assure us that the Earth is getting warmer due to carbon emissions never mention the heat that is produced by solar as adding to the problem. How much of this heat that is not absorbed by the collectors escapes into our atmosphere?

The greed that invades the quest for clean energy raises its ugly head in the Ivanpah Solar Electric generating plant, which covers five square miles of the Mojave Desert and is owned by Google and NRG. These two are responsible for paying off the billions of dollars for the construction cost. But they really don’t pay very much, as our government (we, the taxpayers) subsidizes most of the cost with clean energy grants back to Ivanpah.

Jerry Makela