Alternative energy — No laughing matter

Posted 9/6/19

As with a lot of things during this administration, progress on alternative energy must happen in spite of, not because of, any Oval Office involvement.

That was made clear yet again when our G-7 …

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Alternative energy — No laughing matter

Posted

As with a lot of things during this administration, progress on alternative energy must happen in spite of, not because of, any Oval Office involvement.

That was made clear yet again when our G-7 allies met in France.

The president had better things to do when the leaders met to discuss climate change, probably the most pressing matter they would face. His chair was empty.

And when someone asked about wind power, he chose to crack sophomoric jokes and pass along tidbits of fake science he’d heard somewhere or other.

On wind power, he pronounced, “We’re the No. 1 energy producer in the world … I’m not going to lose that wealth on dreams, on windmills, which, frankly are not working all that well.” This came a couple days after his own Energy Department said employment in U.S. alternative energy has risen to 114,000 jobs, that in many places, alternative energy is now the cheapest electricity option available.

He has also said, “When the wind doesn’t blow, just turn off the television darling, please. There’s no wind, please turn off the television quickly.” He has also mentioned a few times that wind turbines cause cancer, “destroy everybody’s property, kill all the birds … “

And this on solar — “Solar’s wonderful too, but it’s not strong enough and it’s very, very expensive.”

Whether he actually believes any of this, nobody really knows. Just as likely he’s trying to get a guffaw and a ‘go get ‘em’ from his friends in fossil fuel.

Despite all this hot air, alternative energy is booming — globally, nationally and right here in these towns.

When Massachusetts held an auction for tracts of ocean off Martha’s Vineyard, the state netted a “bidding bonanza” said to exceed $400 million. That project is stalled for now by Washington’s “environmental review” even as Republican Governor Charlie Baker prods the administration to pick up the pace.

Here, planning boards can’t keep up with solar facility proposals in Westport and Tiverton. Some are landing in unused farm fields and atop landfills, although too many, unfortunately, seek to come at the cost of trees. On a smaller scale, solar panels are sprouting on rooftops and wind turbines are pushing out the power at Portsmouth High School, Portsmouth Abbey and at farms around Westport.

Real science tells us that large swaths of our towns will be underwater by century’s end. How sad to have leadership that sneers not only at alternative energy but at climate change period.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.