Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: ‘Unaffordable’ act shortsighted

Bill S.5 the “Unaffordable Heat Act” is an insidious way for the Legislature to force us to use green power, i.e. by making other forms of energy too expensive.

This is poor planning on the part of people who think they can tell the future and so want to move us into green power immediately. The best laid plans — if only the rest of the world could be relied upon to follow suit. But it won’t. And that’s why we must be prepared for alternative scenarios.

Currently our electric power grids are so vulnerable it’s pathetic. Whether it’s the U.S. Congress or State legislators around the country — they’ve been talking about how vulnerable the grids are for years but that’s all — talk, talk, talk — all the while making it more necessary to import solar panels from China and having to repair modern windmills sooner than planned to generate the electricity needed to run the grids.

But what about the vulnerability? Consider these:

1. A slug can fry a power line but more likely a squirrel. And birds. Also rats, raccoons, snakes and insects. This is known by most of us.

2. Updated: Feb 6, 2023, BALTIMORE (AP) — A Maryland woman spent months conspiring with a neo-Nazi leader based in Florida to plan an attack on Baltimore’s power grid … There have been semi-successful home-grown attacks on grid systems throughout the country crippling local communities for an inconvenient time. Luckily natural gas generators still exist and are able to provide emergency power for little things like hospital operating rooms.

3. An attack from an aggressive foreign country could happen. As far back as 2014, CNN reported — China and “probably one or two other” countries have the capacity to shut down the nation’s power grid and other critical infrastructure through a cyber attack …

If we go all-electric — any electric-grid destruction will mean you wouldn’t be able to heat your home, you wouldn’t be able to cook your food, wouldn’t be able to run your computer or smart phone, you wouldn’t be able to charge your car.

If you follow international events, you know that the world is not in a good place. And the United States is not in a good place. We are depleting our resources like oil, food production, military resources. We are making ourselves vulnerable in every way.

If we want to move toward “green” energy, we should put our local efforts and national efforts into hardening our electric power grid. Once they are protected, we can grow our electric power gathering (panels, wind and whatever) and dependency with more confidence that some slug or foreign power can’t bring us to a complete halt.

When the first car came along, everyone didn’t immediately sell their horse-drawn carriages. There had to be a system — gas stations, mechanics, roads — before cars became practical. But when they became practical, no one had to force people to put their carriages away. When the system is ready, people will move toward it gladly. But until then, don’t force us.

Speaking for myself, I hope we don’t make electricity our only source of power. I like having alternatives just in case.

Flanzy Chodkowski

Middlebury

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