Expanded natural gas delivery part of energy solution

To the Editor:

The recent proposal of Kinder Morgan to bring a natural gas pipeline via an existing high voltage electric utility layout has generated much heat but not much light. To begin with, New England has few natural fuel resources other than firewood and candles. This region must rely on fuel either brought from overseas or from other parts of the country. A few years ago, the issue in New England was the siting of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to receive shipments of the gas from Algeria and Venezuela. (None were approved.) At that time, most pundits had concluded that natural gas in the United States was a diminishing resource. The use of fracking in the Marcellus shale deposits in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and in other parts of the country have proven that prediction to be woefully wrong. In fact, it is estimated that there are over 100 years of recoverable natural gas reserves in shale deposits in the United States, and we have hardly begun to tap them. Unlike the use of coal and oil to generate electricity, natural gas is a clean burning alternative. Considering all of the items in our homes and businesses that are powered with electricity, and if the economy in New Hampshire is to grow in the future, we need to insure that we have a stable, inexpensive electrical power supply that can serve those needs. Natural gas will provide that security. We hear much about the use of solar panels and wind turbines as a means of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels to generate electricity, but they are in reality a false hope in providing any meaningful source of power for a modern economy. While solar panels have some value, wind power is probably the biggest government backed scam in our history.

Wind turbines are 25 percent efficient in generating electricity, and they are a fickle resource that does not follow power demand. They require 80% of their rated output in backup generators to insure that their highly variable supply does not cause a massive blackout. Without huge government tax incentives, wind turbines would not be competitive, and would soon be out of business. (For information on wind as a power source, go to www.windwatch.org) Finally there is the issue of the diminution of value if a gas line is built near a residence. Since the proposed gas line will be installed contiguous to an existing electric utility power line, the value of the home has already been determined and the gas line should not further affect its value one way or the other. We need to stop the hysteria and conduct a serious comprehensive review of our current and future electrical energy needs and arrive at a method to meet them. I strongly believe that an expanded natural gas delivery system will be a part of the solution.

James M. Coull

Amherst