Guest editorial: Here comes sustainability |

Guest editorial: Here comes sustainability

Utah is well positioned to benefit from the clean energy revolution or can be left behind

Daniel Syroid Citizens' Climate Lobby, Park City
Park Record guest editorial

Solar, Wind, storage batteries and electric vehicles (EVs) are the future of global energy. The world is moving from inefficient, polluting and unsustainable fossil energy to efficient, clean and sustainable electric energy. This will happen because these technologies are experiencing rapid growth which leads to rapidly falling costs. Solar is growing at 20% per year and is already the cheapest form of energy, including operating and fueling existing fossil plants. Solar energy is free and comes from the great fusion power plant in the sky. Global EV growth is at 68% per year, which is exponential and will require huge amounts of clean electricity for EV charging. Large scale stationary battery systems are already proven to provide storage for intermittent solar and wind and to stabilize the grid with millisecond response times at the South Australia Hornsdale Power Reserve. Government incentives can and should accelerate the process. Climate change induced disasters are happening on a daily basis now and will only worsen. The time to act is now!

Utah is well positioned to benefit from the clean energy revolution or can be left behind! Utah has a high-tech workforce capable of building EVs and batteries and installing solar and wind arrays. Utah also has huge amounts of land suitable for solar and wind generation. Solar and wind deployment must accelerate and continue for the next 10 to 15 years. This can provide many thousands of jobs for depressed areas of Utah such as Carbon county, the Uintah Basin and tribal lands. Utah can become a huge energy exporter using efficient high voltage DC transmission.

Some say solar arrays take up too much land and should not be built. However, solar arrays to power the entire world will occupy only 0.2% of the Earth’s land and can be built on arid land (Utah has an abundance) and will not disrupt agriculture, forests or other ecological areas. Agriculture by comparison occupies 12% of the Earth’s surface. Another advantage of clean electrical energy as pointed out by Tesla at their March 1, 2023, Investor Day event is that only half oasmuch is needed to power the world as compared to inefficient fossil energy. The cost to move to global clean energy is on the order of $10 trillion, or about 1% of global GDP over 10 years.The cost of not mitigating the climate srisis is unthinkable! This is an area where the U.S. and China and others could cooperate and improve relations.  Moving to a clean sustainable energy system will end many of the reported 9 million premature deaths per year due to pollution globally. That is like 55 747 planes crashing every day. Why is there no action?

The clean energy transition is inevitable due to economics, but needs to be accelerated. Wright’s Law (similar to Moore’s Law) shows that as cumulative production of a product doubles, the product cost declines by about 15%. Solar, wind, battery storage and EVs are all on cost-declining paths that will disrupt fossil energy systems. Some of the impediments to rapid clean energy growth are a fossil mindset by the energy utilities and the public service commissions. The newly enacted  Inflation Reduction Act provides many incentives to accelerate EV and clean energy adoption. Please support these incentives and vote!


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