This week’s poll: Are renewable energy sources the answer to rising energy costs?

Can wind and solar bridge the gap between supply and demand?

By Andrew Harris

The price of gasoline, diesel and home heating oil has sucked the life out of American households and the national economy. Record inflation is largely correlated to fuel prices.

This is not just an American problem, in fact the United States has perhaps been the least affected of the industrialized countries in the world, much less than Europe. Pump prices in London have been well above our domestic prices. Britons and Germans are scrambling as home heating prices are set to be crushing in 2023, well beyond the means of the average household. The war in Ukraine has played a key role in driving up the cost of energy. European governments will be forced to dramatically increase and expand subsidies to avoid infrastructure and humanitarian crises.

The United States may be a little better positioned for this winter, but the future is very uncertain. Another market shock like the war in Ukraine, another OPEC production cut, a natural disaster or a global recession could lead to even higher prices. It won’t take much to push the average American household into a more acute energy crisis, especially in Allegany County. Our population with below-average per capita income already pays above-average fuel costs.

Wind and solar energy are improving and changing rapidly, but there are no realistic plans for the northern United States. That seems reasonable for San Diego or Miami. The energy needed to keep a city like Buffalo or Olean warm requires huge amounts of fossil fuels. Aging homes in Allegany County require gas boilers to prevent burst water pipes. The entire “underground” city, where water, sewer, gas, and electric utilities exist out of public view; they depend on heat from fossil fuels to stave off disasters in harsh winters. Electric heating just can’t keep Syracuse or Hamburg warm when the temperature drops below zero.

Winter is coming.

What do you think?

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