Guest opinion: Sen. Scott ill-informed on energy future | PostIndependent.com

Guest opinion: Sen. Scott ill-informed on energy future

Bob Schultz

Bob Schultz

Grand Junction Sen. Ray Scott’s recent op-ed celebrating the president’s abandoning our country’s Clean Energy Plan is tragic given his role on the State’s Energy and Environment Committee. Scott’s fossil-fuel focus shows a lack of understanding of the environment and the future of the energy industry. I am sad for our state that such an ill-informed person has such a critical role.

Colorado voters have expressed support for development of additional wind, solar and other renewable energies at the ballot box. Coloradans want to invest in the energy future rather than the energy past that Scott represents.

If there was a point to his column, other than celebrating steps backward in energy policy, it was that renewables will cost more and that we were not doing enough to make a difference.

With regard to the first, in the absence of accounting for the cost of pollution, illness and international violence caused by fossil fuels, one would expect fossil fuels to have an advantage.

Each year the U.S. Energy Information Administration (USEIA) reports of the cost of developing new energy sources and goes to great pains to create an “apples to apples” comparison of their costs. The most recent report was issued in April of this year.

The report includes costs of maintenance, fuel, new transmission infrastructure and tax policies. The least cost method of generating new electric capacity was geothermal energy, followed by wind, and then advanced combined-cycle gas and solar were in a virtual tie.

Renewables are not more expensive even without accounting for the pollution clean-up costs or illnesses and death caused by fossil fuels.

Scott’s celebration of President Trump’s reversal of the Clean Power Plan is ill-informed. Scott is touting the rejection of changes to energy generations that were designed to reduce carbon dioxide generation from electric generation by 32 percent by 2030, would save the average family $85 per year in 2030, reduce pollution by 25 percent and reduce childhood asthma. Those are outcomes most Coloradans would support.

I would hope that Sen. Scott realizes that he is no longer working for the gas industry and is now working for the people of Colorado.

Voters in our state were the first to establish a renewable energy standard in 2004, and our direction spurred investment in wind and solar that have created jobs throughout the state.

Nationally, jobs in the clean energy industries like solar are expanding while coal shrinks.

There are now more than twice as many people working in solar than coal. There are as many jobs in wind, solar and hydro as coal and gas combined. Colorado is among the top 10 states nationwide for solar jobs even though our population ranks 22nd.

Colorado will not thrive with policy makers looking in their rear-view mirrors or operating on misinformation. One hopes that Sen. Scott will broaden his sources of information, rethink his backward perspective and embrace a cleaner, more prosperous and healthier future.

Bob Schultz of Carbondale offers land use and strategic planning services and believes that our choices matter.