LETTER: Utility wants to raise rates even as solar could cut costs

 

To The Ozaukee Press:

We Energies is asking the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to approve a 13% increase in residential electric rates and a 13.8% increase in gas rates.

I would expect a worthy utility company to be honest in dealing with prices, knowing about the many changes that are taking place in the energy field.

When my wife and I installed our 7.2 kw photovoltaic array on our rooftop in June 2007, it was one of the most expensive ways to produce electricity. Today it is one of the cheapest—beating out coal, natural gas, nuclear and wind.

Instead of asking for an increase, We Energies should be willing to accept energy rate reductions because the costs of production have decreased.

And if We Energies would begin using even more of several other renewable sources, its prices could be reduced even more. How? Try using solar thermal, geothermal, biomass and hydro.

Many utilities are finally switching to

solar panels to produce some of their electric energy. I hope that in due time they will learn that the electrical energy from photovoltaics and wind turbines can be used to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis. Today, hydrogen could be added to our natural gas pipelines to produce a mixture of gases called hythane that could  be burned as regular natural gas.

Hythane, a blend of hydrogen and methane, and can be a bridge to a hydrogen economy in which carbon dioxide, methane or other carbon compounds are no longer released into our atmosphere.

In a renewable hydrogen economy, we would no longer send our money to other states for their coal or petroleum products, because we would be able to make our own hydrogen by electrolyzing water from free solar or free wind energy. Hydrogen could be shipped in pipelines throughout the country. It could then be converted back into electrical energy by using highly-efficient hydrogen fuel cells whose only “waste product” is heat and pure, drinkable water.

In a hydrogen economy there would be no need for electrical high lines, big centralized power plants or railroads and trucks hauling in coal or petroleum products, since our major source of energy is all around us—the sun, wind and other renewable sources. Most important, we would no longer be releasing global-warming wastes.

Let’s educate ourselves to the cleanest ways of producing energy and, at the same time, save the planet.

Many of us are not investors, but can you think of any investment where one is guaranteed a return of 10%, which is what We Energies, a monopoly, expects. This must change.

Wayne Stroessner

Random Lake

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494
 

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