Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

March 23, 2014

PUBLIC FORUM: Sunday, March 23, 2014

Utility board should request cost proposals

I read with interest the open letter from Jim Brugh, local attorney, to the Utilities Service Board (USB) explaining that a local ordinance gives that board responsibility for running the utility. The board has the sole responsibility for finding a way forward for our Logansport Municipal Utility (LMU) to get off coal as fuel to produce our electricity.

I attended the February USB meeting expecting to hear discussion about what changes could be made to our local electricity production. There was no discussion of the future of power generation during the meeting. Why not?

I understand that natural gas is the industry standard which most utilities in our situation have chosen. However, I believe the more we rely on natural gas, the higher the price will climb. Worse, the gas industry will increase hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to obtain more gas, causing even more groundwater contamination, air polution contributing to climate change, and possibly earthquakes. Earthquakes have been documented in regions undergoing fracking where there were no recorded earthquakes before the fracking.

I am a strong proponent for renewable energy. We must not damage the Earth any further. I would certainly be in favor of exploring solar energy. Solar energy is the most abundant energy on Earth and solar panels can be erected almost anywhere. Technology continues to improve and prices continue to fall. I recently saw an ad on TV that Florida Power and Light built the first hybrid solar and natural gas utility in 2011, and it is operating. The latest generation of solar power focuses solar energy with mirrors to create steam to power turbines. The technology is there.

We most definitely need to explore purchasing our power. I have heard that the price would be cheaper than generating our own electricity with gas. We need a price to compare with other proposals. We could use solar power to supplement power that we purchase. We can be innovative and still use a common sense approach. Why isn’t the USB requesting proposals and engineering plans? We don’t want any more industry leaving town because of the price of electricity.

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