Some thoughts on 'clean' power

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Just out of curiosity regarding all the talk about generating "clean" electric power, I checked the Internet and came up with the following stats:

Electric power generation in 2009

  • Coal -- 50 percent
  • Natural gas -- 22 percent
  • Nuclear -- 20 percent
  • Hydro -- 6 percent
  • Oil -- 2 percent
  • Wind -- 1.3 percent
  • Solar -- 1 percent

All existing hydro sources are being used. Oil is "dirty," nuclear "unsafe," leaving wind and solar, both of which are expensive and supply only 2.3 percent of our needs. So what is the argument about?

Maybe we should consider two more choices: (1) Turn off the electricity 97.7 percent of the time. (2) Get to work developing the technology to clean up "dirty" coal and natural gas and making sure existing safeguards for nuclear power use are strictly enforced.

Bill Gulick
Walla Walla

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