Green energy benefits environment, economy
To the editor:
In response to the Oct. 4 letter "Climate change fears hurt local economy," a major driver of the Massachusetts economy is clean energy! Cheap, easy to get fossil fuels are a thing of the past.
All fossil fuels are dirty, toxic, and polluting and have been hurting our health for decades. More Americans die from air pollution from burning fossil fuels than car accidents — www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231013004548).
The price of fossil fuels has no where to go but up. Solar and off-shore wind have no fuel cost. According to ISO-New England, one of the largest drivers of our electricity cost is the cost of fuel. Solar and wind indeterminacy is predictable and with the addition of storage, is not a big problem.
The indeterminacy of fossil fuels comes either from having to shut down for weeks or months for repairs, or from sudden, unpredictable failure. Having a fracked natural gas compressor station go down unexpectedly on a cold winter day is a huge problem. Even if we can still get enough gas through the system, the price goes sky high.
According to the 2015 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report, "The clean energy sector has added more than 40,000 jobs since 2010 — a growth rate of 64 percent over that time — and now represents 3.3 percent of the overall Massachusetts workforce. And these are well-paying jobs, with nearly three-quarters of full-time clean energy workers earning more than $50,000 per year — above the overall median wage of $44,678 for all jobs in Massachusetts" (www.masscec.com/2015-massachusetts-clean-energy-industry-report).
If the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority wants to grow the Berkshire economy, perhaps encouraging one of the fastest growing sectors of the Massachusetts economy to locate businesses at the Stanley Business Park would help.
Jane Winn, Pittsfield The writer is executive director of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT).