July 5 editorial | ParkRecord.com

July 5 editorial

Building more coal-fired plants isn't the answer to power shortages

Power outages are a familiar and frustrating fact of life in Summit County. And according to Rocky Mountain Power, it is likely they will continue for the foreseeable future.

Not surprisingly, the rapidly expanding towns and subdivisions throughout the county are outgrowing the existing power grid.

Plans are already afoot to add trunk lines into the area, but that process could take more than a year. In the meantime, local residents will have plenty of practice reprogramming their digital devices.

But perhaps, instead of focusing on ways to bring in more coal-fired generated power, county residents should take a more serious look at some alternatives.

The question really boils down to this: Do you buy a bigger dress or go on a diet?

The healthier choice, of course, is to reduce the county’s dependence on carbon-based energy sources.

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One alternative already being explored by the power company and supported by local officials is wind power. To their credit, many residents and businesses already subscribe to the Blue Sky program, but the increase in demand for electrical power is still outpacing the shift toward more environmentally friendly energy sources.

We need to drastically speed up our efforts to find cleaner energy sources. Regional air quality is already an issue and building more coal-fired power plants will just perpetuate the problem.

It is time to follow the lead of European countries that have already begun to implement aggressive solar, wind and experimental energy programs.

Conservation must also be part of any solution. According to Rocky Mountain Power, the typical homeowner uses 26 percent more power today than 20 years ago. Too few new buildings take advantage of simple strategies to shield homes from the sun in the summer and soak it up in the summer. Too few of us are investing in energy-saving appliances and lighting or using low-tech common-sense tools such as deciduous trees to reduce our power consumption.

Expanding our infrastructure will take us only so far. It’s time for us to look for more creative solutions.

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