Letter: Renewable energy critics will surely lead us to extinction

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Wind turbines, solar panels, and hog farms north of Milford on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.

The Utilities Interim committee recently invited Professor William Hayden Smith from St. Louis to explain that the path to renewable energy would fail. I wonder how difficult it was for the committee to find sympathetic research claiming that renewable energy was doomed.

In 1900, professor Smith would have likely argued with the same aplomb that internal combustion engine cars were doomed. Failures were everywhere, engines exploding and expectations unmet. Yet, it took 15 years to transform our streets forever. And the horse drawn carriage went the way of the dodo.

What professor Smith omits in his analysis are two critical things. First, human ingenuity knows little limit and our current progress is no proxy for what will be: if anything, the rapidity of our progress lets us foresee fast transformative advances in the future. Second, he only mentions a few renewable energy sources and ignores others. Geothermal is perfect for baseline. Hydropower is also great.

Further, in the game of counting all costs, unsustainable energy’s large health costs, rapidly warming planet and heavy reliance on precious water will lose any day.

And highlighting the one country in the world whose energy policy is well known to have failed (Germany) is a failure of the imagination.

It took less than 15 years for a declaration from President John Kennedy to the landing on the moon.

The American spirit is about a can-do attitude, reaching for the stars and achieving the impossible, not surrendering to poor logic and small goals.

It’s not clear what professor Smith recommends for the human species to survive, but following him will surely lead us to extinction.

France Barral, Millcreek

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