Letter to the editor: European energy advances may leave the U.S. behind

Germany and other European countries are paying customers to take excess energy. With solar panels and wind turbines, sometimes there is more energy on the grid than is being used. “Power prices go negative in Germany, a positive for consumers,” New York Times, Dec. 26, 2017.
For years Germany and other countries have been pushing alternative sources of energy since their coal mines and other old sources are running out. One farmer was getting 45 cents/kWh for panels on his roof. (Normal pricing is closer to 15 cents.) Germany didn’t want to run out of energy with its booming economy. Now most cities have many buildings topped off with solar panels, and they have competitions among them for which town has the most panels. Big wind generators are seen everywhere. There was a joke that one can’t sail in the Baltic since wind generators are slowing the wind too much.
This is another reason that the European Union is doing better than we are. Why is Trump holding onto coal? Industries don’t want it and most coal workers are going elsewhere for jobs. China is gaining economic strength all over while Trump keeps pushing America first (whatever he means by that?) China is building roads through Afghanistan and South Africa to improve commerce. When we can vote Trump out of office the U.S. will have a lot of catching up to do to avoid becoming more of a third world country.
Peter Grant

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