Choosing the energy path to the future
Years ago I read a book entitled Soft Energy Paths. The book was about how, as a civilization of people, we have the ability to choose our future and the energy sources that drive it. For millions of years, the sun, wind and water were the soft energy resources on which civilizations before us depended. Then we discovered an alternative form of energy: oil. The use of oil is just a blip in the history of energy use and dependence. Oil, along with coal and other fossil fuels, have served us well, except that their use has consequences. Burning fossil fuels pollutes the air we breathe and the water we drink. Fossil fuels produce carbon dioxide a greenhouse gas which accumulates in the atmosphere and is heating up the planet. Global warming is the greatest threat to the survival of future generations. Check out the Web site http://www.architecture2030.org. So do we choose to continue down the path of fossil fuel use, knowing that it will lead to a dead-end road? Or do we choose to go back to the energy resources that sustained our planet and all life for millions of years? Times have changed and we can use the soft energy resources for just about any application. We also have other clean and sustainable resources like geothermal energy, almost right in our backyard. Truckee can choose to invest in 50 years of coal burning with no future in sight, or we can accept the challenge of a better, safer, more sustainable future for generations to come. Truckee Donner PUD is a public, nonprofit utility. Residents are the PUDs owners and have the right to choose Truckees energy future. Our country and the state of California are trying to phase out the use of coal plants. Over time, there will be many costs associated with investing in coal that will likely leave coal-plant investors in bad shape over time. I am hopeful that Truckee chooses to not invest in a coal plant, but to look at the many alternatives available to us. Whether or not the coal plant investment goes through, our electric rates will be going up in 2008. To meet our future energy needs will require a dedicated, thoughtful and creative effort on our part. I feel the people of Truckee have what its takes to create and follow a sustainable path. Your children depend on it. You choose.Scott Terrell has been the Truckee Donner Public Utility Districts planning director for more than 14 years. He has 24 years working in the electric utility industry, with experience at three different public electric utilities in California. He has a bachelors degree in natural resources planning and a masters degree in energy education.