What price will we pay for power?

September 21, 2008
(Page 2 of 4)

My sentiments are with the power companies but not unreservedly. They are faced with the increasing demand by the public for more power, necessitating more high-voltage power lines. The public, however, doesn't want the power line right-of-way to be anywhere that they can see it. I am sure that, with a number of public meetings at which the power company can explain the options for placement of the line and the public can voice their opinions, a solution will be forthcoming that won't please all parties, but which will be the most reasonable compromise between conflicting points of view.

- Ed Ver Hoef, Boonsboro

High-voltage transmission lines are an inefficient way to move energy. The line losses are tremendous. The energy companies understand that technology and are willing to accept those losses - as long as we the consumers pay for it. They're playing with other people's money. As long as the Public Service Commission knuckles under and allows them to get away with it, they have no interest in better technology.


There is a better technology for moving energy, and it is well understood. That is hydrogen technology. At the source, where the energy is generated, it can be used to electrolyse water into oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen is either used industrially or valved off. The hydrogen is compressed and shipped like any other compressed gas, or passed through a pipeline like natural gas. The precautions are the same as with any other flammable gas and are well understood. The line losses in a pipeline system are minimal.

Hydrogen technology would allow us to place large wind farms in barren places that have steady winds, such as North and South Dakota and use the clean, renewable energy to generate hydrogen, and ship the hydrogen to the end user. Cars can be modified to run on hydrogen, just as they can be modified to run on propane and it is pollution free.

A hydrogen-based energy economy is planet-friendly and actually more efficient than what we are doing now. If we want to avoid desecrating our landscape with transmission lines such as PATH, and at the same time reduce our carbon footprint, hydrogen technology is the way to go.

- Burr Loomis, Chambersburg, Pa.

Rather than spending so much on another huge transmission line that will scar the landscape and raise our electric bills, why can't we invest in home-based solar and wind electricity generation? Why not make the electricity where it's needed, through renewable, clean sources? With solar shingles and a wind turbine, any home in this area should be able to produce plenty of power for itself and even have extra to feed into the grid.

- Rich Clark

It depends on exactly where the line is going to pass through. If it's a state or federal park, then no. If it's down the middle of a historic town, then no.

If all it does is cut across forest and unpopulated areas, we have to decide. Do we want electricity, or to preserve the view of deer and chipmunks out in the forests? I vote for electricity.

- John Hamilton

As many of you have heard, Allegheny Power plans to raise rates, effective January 2009, by 15 percent for West Virginia residents. This latest punch to the gut comes along with the kick to the back that they have laid on West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland with the "much-needed" PATH project.

I cannot imagine how much the increase will be to Washington and Frederick counties, which have an even larger growing population than nearby West Virginia. The rate increase itself is one steamroll, especially because of Allegheny Power's other devaluation plan for consumers - the creation of a PATH of destruction in Washington and Frederick Counties.

Right now, most of the lines are following existing grids, but there is a significant portion that may be built in and near Boonsboro. Historic battlefields, parks, preserved open space and farmland will be replaced with transformers.

If we allow this project to go through, we will be giving the OK for the next set in 20 years and so on. There is no excuse for such devastation of the land and its people. BGE and PEPCO would not even dream of concocting such a "plan" for Montgomery County, so why should this route be satisfactory for the residents of the four-state area? Write to your federally elected officials and:

Kimberly Bose, Secretary, Federal Regulatory Energy Commission
888 First Street, NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426

-- Kourtney Lowery, Rohrersville, Md.

I fail to understand the preservationists' line of reasoning. Surely they must understand that electricity cannot get from point A to B without a metallic path. What alternative do they suggest?

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