To the editor:
In his letter to the editor (April 7), Steve Johnson takes the paper to task for ignoring climate change in the “public power debate.”
You should be commended. That issue is a red herring with respect to Bainbridge Island public power. Someone utilizes every kilowatt of electricity generated in the Northwest using renewable sources, i.e., green energy. The only way to improve that is to generate more power from renewable sources.
Mr. Johnson’s letter states that climate change has been from the beginning the chief reason concerned citizens launched the idea of “public power.” If that is the case, it is the most poorly conceived basis for this debate that I can imagine. Public ownership of the power distribution facilities on this island cannot have any effect on climate change. All public ownership could possibly accomplish would be to transfer all of the headaches and cost of operation and maintenance to local ratepayers. Why would we take on that liability with no benefit accompanying it?
By the nature of a power grid, the source of power closest to a load, i.e., Bainbridge Island distribution network, is the primary source to satisfy that load demand.
And what is the closest source of power to Bainbridge Island? Unless someone has recently built a generating facility closer, it is Puget Sound Energy’s hydroelectric generating plant on the west shore of Hood Canal. On that basis, Bainbridge Island is already receiving some of the greenest power humankind can produce.
By contrast, if the Island were to purchase power from BPA and pay PSE to transmit it to our newly acquired distribution network, where would that BPA power have been generated? Who knows?
But for those who care, including Mr. Johnson, there is a strong probability that it would come, in large part, from that same coal-fired generating plant that Mr. Johnson and Island Power have used as a poster child for kicking out PSE. Ironic?
In truth, although factual, most of the above paragraphs are irrelevant, as are the arguments Island Power has put forward in support of their campaign. The real truth is that the only ways that Islanders can help combat climate change is to open their checkbooks and support construction of green power generation facilities and by using the most energy efficient homes and vehicles.
In my opinion, the Island Power campaign is nothing other than an attempt at a political power grab at the potential ratepayer’s expense. I will have nothing to do with it and I urge your readers to adopt the same attitude.