Letters to the Editor

Robert A. Tickle: Realistic on Duke renewables

Regarding the May 27 news article “$55M natural gas plant slated for Duke campus”: Some students at Duke are opposed to the 21 megawatt heat/power plant being proposed for Duke University.

They are upset because the power plant will burn natural gas, which is a nasty fossil fuel. Perhaps the students are right. Perhaps Duke should be using more so-called “renewable energy” sources.

One way to do that would be to install wind generators on the tops of all the buildings. The turbines will supply some of Duke’s energy needs, but unfortunately they work only when the wind blows.

Well, then, there are always photovoltaic solar cells. Duke could put solar cells on the tops of every building and on every green space on campus. Solar cells work great to produce fossil fuel free energy, but unfortunately they work only when the sun shines. Solar cells are also quite ugly, but that’s a small price to pay to reduce fossil-fuel usage.

Perhaps the good folks at Duke have already looked at renewables and realized renewables cannot meet Duke’s energy needs. As with Mark Twain, the rumors of the death of fossil fuels have been greatly exaggerated.

Robert A. Tickle