Pete Kuntz, of Colorado, claims that solar and wind together provide “18 percent of U.S. power” (Letters, 4/5). He should inform the Energy Information Administration (EIA), which figures it differently. According to their website, wind provided 6.3 percent of America’s electricity in 2017, and solar produced a scant 1.3 percent; together, that’s 7.6 percent.
We’re going to need coal to make steel and to build windmills, since (so far) renewables are not able to smelt iron ore.
As for solar power surpassing the generating capacity of nuclear, that was perhaps a semantic mistake. Growth in solar installation will exceed growth in new nuclear installation. But the EIA shows that, for 2017, nuclear power provided 20 percent of America’s electricity.
It will take a very long time indeed for renewables to catch up, and even that prediction assumes the gradual retirement of American nuke plants, with no more new builds.
Choosing solar is a personal decision, not one upon which the readers of this newspaper have the ability to decide for the world at large. If you want to buy a solar system, go ahead. I can’t afford one.
The reason to oppose nuclear power is not that it might be marginally more expensive than solar, but because it has already produced a quarter-million tons of highly radioactive fuel rods that will be inimical to human life for hundreds of thousands of years. We should oppose nuclear power. But let’s care for the facts.