Rooftop solar a boon
Our monopoly utilities don’t want to talk about all the benefits that rooftop solar brings to the grid. Things like lower peak demands, that solar generation is often highest when the cost of wholesale power is most expensive, grid resiliency, cleaner air and better respiratory health, not to mention the climate impacts. They want to talk about how rooftop solar is a burden to the grid, but they don’t want to talk about how little of the grid it actually uses — a fraction of 1 percent of the grid’s electricity. They want to talk about how they’re so committed to solar that they’ve built huge solar farms, but they don’t want to talk about how they need to make infrastructure investments in order to make a profit for their shareholders — investments we pay for in our rates. And they definitely don’t want to talk about how buying into their solar farms is often less cost-effective than putting solar on your own home — at least as long as the current net-metering rate stays intact. The Public Service Commission is taking public comments on this issue through Oct. 15, and is holding a hearing on net metering on Nov. 13 — let’s hope they listen to the whole story.
Carrie Ray, Lexington
The Herald-Leader recently published an op-ed by Anthony Campbell, East Kentucky Power Cooperative president and chief executive officer, that used misleading talking points to vilify solar rooftop owners. Utilities seem to believe that if they repeat their arguments often enough, the public opinion will swing their way. Campbell claims that paying solar owners a 1:1 net-metering credit is the same as giving twice the market price. However, many state-sponsored studies show that a 1:1 credit is shortchanging the solar owners because the peak-demand power they send to the grid is worth a lot more, and because that power does not pollute.
Campbell accuses solar owners of not paying their fair share of fixed costs and blames solar owners for high bills other customers pay. This accusation is blatantly false. A 2015 LG&E-KU cost analysis shows that the effect of rooftop solar on non-solar customers is less than a penny a month. Campbell falsely declares that “solar technology has matured to a point that the incentives of net metering are no longer necessary nor appropriate.” The original net-metering bill was supposed to be in force until Kentucky reached 1 percent of electricity produced by solar; we have only reached one-tenth of that goal.
Wallace McMullen, Louisville
Kudos on climate change op-ed
I commend the well-written opinion piece by Michael Coblenz explaining climate change science recently published in the Herald-Leader on Oct. 7.
I found it was so well crafted, so easily understood, that I will copy and forward to the deniers within my own educated family. I am afraid their political ideology has made them deaf to real truth-telling: one is a renowned veterinarian, the other both a former military officer and high school principal.
I was puzzled by the headline in the print newspaper: “Climate change is simple; the politics not so much.” This would lead people to think that the article would be about the simplicity of science and why politics confuse the issue. The essay did not just augment the high school science that was so clearly explained (oh, if only I had a teacher like Coblenz in high school), but it augmented the whole public discussion with his research on Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius. Perhaps a better title would have been “What we fail to comprehend, we are destined to relearn”.
If politics is in a statement with climate, people do not read on, I fear.
Mary Pat Whitney, Georgetown
Teachers deserve respect
High-quality journalism has always been important to the Herald-Leader. Linda Blackford’s regular contributions to the Opinion page are essential for a better-informed citizenry.
Her recent opinion piece about Kentucky public schools ranking was a superior journalistic accomplishment, one of the more important and informative columns on our state’s K-12 education system.
In addition to describing accurately the administration’s heavy-handed and disrespectful treatment of the public schools in Kentucky, she reminded us that our sitting governor, now running for re-election, has called out public school teachers for having a “thug mentality.” We entrust our most precious asset — our children — to the public schools. It is time to give them the respect they deserve.
Carole Boyd, Lexington
Act instead of hating
I wonder what future presidencies will be like. It is disconcerting to see such hatred directed towards a president or his supporters. It is sad that people listened to the call to resist and impeach, not realizing how it gridlocks our government. Imagine the $35-plus million spent on the Mueller report instead being used to repair infrastructure. Imagine the hours used for congressional hearings being spent to improve health care or fixing prescription drug costs.
Instead of hating, maybe focus on:
▪ Challenging the elites who use private planes, which unnecessarily pollute the air.
▪ Challenging local governments to require reuse/restore derelict areas before allowing building on undeveloped land. Our planet cannot become all concrete.
▪ Telling Congress to work together on America’s issues and not fight every single day.
▪ Asking Congress to vote on new trade agreements that bring jobs and money back to this country.
Imagine if instead of resisting, people demanded improved infrastructure, healthcare and immigration reform and power-grid overhaul. I guess hate is easier. I guess “feel-good protesting” is easier than fixing the hard problems. Convincing people to resist and protest has gridlocked our government, which might have been the plan all along. Instead of fighting, maybe it would be better to ask why.
Lauranne Williams, Lexington
What else do people need?
Watching current events unfold, I am continually astounded by the number of people who unflaggingly defend our current president. How much evidence is required for them to consider the man is unfit for office? Forget “fake news.” Even if the media was conspiring against him and nothing reported could be believed, one has only to observe his actions to know Donald Trump is not serving the majority of Americans. Consider that he has systematically recalled the environmental regulations that could save our planet, to put money in the pockets of energy moguls who can fund his political ambitions. Consider that his proposed 2020 budget would take food out of the mouths of children and seniors by eliminating senior and WIC farmers’ market benefits, SNAP-Education, and the TANF contingency fund. It would cut SNAP by 30 percent, WIC by 15 percent, and slice $1.7 billion from school meals over 10 years. Medicaid and Affordable Care Act subsidies would be cut over 10 years by $777 billion. CDC and NIH funding and health research programs would be drastically reduced, as well.
Trump has stolen our voices by perverting our legislative system, allowing foreign governments to manipulate social media and inviting them to intervene in our political processes.
Jackie Walters, Lexington