Letters to the Editor: Those Sunny California Solar Numbers Miss a Lot

Letters to the Editor, The Wall Street Journal
Aug. 17, 2018

Regarding “The Phony Numbers Behind California’s Solar Mandate” (op-ed, Aug. 13): The economics of the solar mandate will be even worse than described in Steven Sexton’s devastating critique. As intermittent solar power becomes an increasingly large portion of the total electric power supply, there will need to be proportionately more intermittently idle capacity standing by for cloudy days. The cost of this additional standby capacity will also need to be recovered from California’s electricity customers.

James G. Russell, Midlothian, Va.

 

Mr. Sexton makes a reasonable case that large-scale solar installations provide power at a lower net cost than rooftop solar, and correctly states rooftop solar increases the cost of new homes. He’s also right to observe that the California Energy Commission was remiss in considering only one benefit analysis to justify its policy. But he fails to acknowledge the resistance to large-scale solar projects. There is so much opposition from environmentalists, power companies, local residents and climate-change deniers that installation timelines are being pushed out decades. Even if that process could be speeded up, I’m OK with a higher-cost solution because cost can’t be the only criterion when the planet’s health is at stake. Alternatively, if we started putting a price on carbon, as proposed by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, we could avoid complex, partisan regulations like California’s.

Edward Dignan, Long Beach, Calif.

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