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Forum, Jan. 8: Hartford solar project

Published: 1/11/2023 3:52:08 PM
Modified: 1/11/2023 3:51:12 PM
Solar project won’t aid resilience

The Valley News is incorrect in stating the new 15-acre solar development off Route 14 will “strengthen the resilience of the entire New England energy grid” (“Town won’t intervene in solar project,” Dec. 29) In fact, this 4 megawatt project, which lacks integrated battery storage, will do nothing to provide energy resilience when it is needed most: during our cold, dark winter nights.

Peak demand for electrical power in New England often occurs at times of twilight, when solar production is ineffective. Without integrated battery storage, developments like these can feed power to the grid only when it is typically needed least, between morning and evening demand peaks.

During the aftermath of the recent storm and subsequent cold snap, when power was in high demand across the eastern United States, over half of New England’s nighttime electrical power was produced through the burning of fossil fuels. Due to regional shortages of natural gas, the New England grid even relied upon burning fuel oil to supply over 3,000 megawatts of sustained power over prolonged cold nighttime periods.

As this recent storm demonstrated, the New England grid relies not on solar producers, but on the fossil fuel plants and others who supply baseload and dispatchable power. These producers are relied upon by the grid's operators to provide power during times of peak morning and evening demand, and to tailor this supply precisely, on a minute-by-minute basis.

However, during daylight hours, as the marginal cost of solar production is essentially zero, solar developments such as the new Hartford project will serve to undercut the operating margins of these more reliable producers, raising their marginal cost of production, and the prices paid by New England utilities for the stability they provide the grid.

If Vermont were serious about reducing its reliance on oil and gas and strengthening its grid for times of peak demand, it would prohibit the development of industrial solar projects that lack integrated battery storage sufficient to provide sustained, reliable overnight power.

In the meantime, Hartford should take a leadership role, and support only those solar projects with such integrated storage.

Dr. Remington Nevin

White River Junction

Fraudsters then and now

When I was in my teens, I worked after school and on weekends at the lunch counter of Eastman’s Drugstore in Hanover.

There was a man who regularly came in who was good natured and often jovial. He grew up as a member of a family that had a small, local business, and he had created a separate small service business. I certainly saw no sign of this man puffering his wealth.

One day his absence was noted, and gossip informed us that he had been charged with tax evasion, and promptly placed in jail.

Now, years later as I reflect on insights that I have garnered over time; I find another man comes to mind. This is a man who fomented an insurrection, deviantly obfuscated his tax liabilities and catalyzed an array of other iniquities. This man remains free and continues to imperil our democracy. Why isn’t this man in jail and held there for the remainder of his life?

This I find confusing. I am saddened for my fellow citizens as well for people in foreign lands who are looking toward the United States for some semblance of an earnest aspiration to render a sound democratic system free of hypocrisy.

Obviously this has not yet been achieved here but someday maybe.

William Gilbert


‘Have a heart’ on Ukraine

In response to Jean Leopold’s letter (“Does this make sense,” Jan. 2): She complains that we send billions to Ukraine when we have “open borders.” My heart aches for the people of Ukraine, anything we can do to help them we should do. As to her “open borders” comment, does she understand that the people at our borders have journeyed thousands of miles fleeing violence in their countries? Women and little kids being trafficked by coyotes, threatened by gangs, and they still come to us for help. These are not criminals, our country needs them, farmers need them, restaurants need them, the hospitality industry needs them. I’d say “have a heart” while sitting in your warm home in New Hampshire, free from bombs and gangs. It is not always about the bottom line, but about caring.

Nancy Parker


Please define ‘embellish’

In response to questions about line items in his curriculum vitae concerning education, finances, family heritage and work experiences, New York Congressman-elect George Santos admitted his reporting was actually “embellished.” All claims regarding his profile, however, were subsequently shown to be false. Perhaps to mollify critics, the congressman will offer as evidence his personal copy of Merriam Webster’s Dictionary in which “embellish” is defined as an adjective for “alternative fact.”

David Greenfield


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