Jean-Christian Rostagni: Carbon energy more ‘costly’

November 17, 2013 

The “Costly Currents” letter on Nov 13, is short on logic. Comparing the cost of power in Europe vs. the U.S. as a way to evaluate the cost of renewable energy is deceiving.

First, Europe has real living wages, civilized working conditions and regulations to ensure safety, not always the norm here. Second, if France is almost all nuclear at $0.21 per KWH and Germany going fully renewable at S0.40 per KWH, we may deduct that renewable (probably not all implemented in Germany yet) is twice as expensive as nuclear, given that France and Germany have comparable costs. But Europeans also pay four times as much for gas as Americans do, because it is taxed more there. Europeans have a much smaller carbon footprint than Americans, and the planet is better for it.

Americans, 5 percent of the world population, are responsible for 25 percent of the global energy consumption. It is little disputed that carbon derived energy is responsible for climate change, itself seems guilty of “acts of God” like the recent disaster in the Philippines or the tsunami that caused the nuclear incident in Japan. So here is a new economic problem: what is the real cost of carbon energy?

Jean-Christian Rostagni

Durham

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