Climate

Letters: Police arrest student protesters in assault that echoes another May 4 — 1970 at Kent State

Student protests in historical context

“Dear Diary,

“It’s May 4th. The student protests are nationwide, and ours has been ongoing for several days now. Students everywhere are exasperated by this expansion in the war, new bombings, more innocents killed and merely considered expendable byproducts of this conflict.

“The National Guard is on my campus to dispatch with the student protesters, and our governor has vowed that school will not be suspended or terminated.

“But anger and confusion are everywhere. Politicians are calling the students un-American, but students see themselves simply as voices for the voiceless… those people thousands of miles away caught up in a war, not of their making — both soldiers and civilians. Police in riot gear, barking dogs, and national guardsmen, all to quell the right to protest what is seen as injustice and an unjust war.”

As the old adage goes, unless we learn from our history, we will be destined to repeat it.

All this could have been copied from yesterday’s evening news or the pages of The Denver Post, but no, that was May 4, 1970, and my school was Kent State University. The day and the place for which Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young authored the song, Four Dead in Ohio. Today is another May 4th. What tragedies will May 4, 2024 belie or foretell? What have we learned?

Bob Priddy, Westminster

What to do about XCEL’s monopoly

Re: “Time for a new electric utility paradigm,” April 27 commentary

I have followed Xcel’s Public Utilities Commission proposals for several years. To be fair, Xcel has pursued adding renewable energy projects, as required by the PUC. But Xcel also continues to propose massive and costly capital construction projects such as big methane (natural gas) plants and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

CCS projects are very expensive and very unproven, but if built, they will result in huge profits for Xcel. As Glustrom points out, the PUC pushing Xcel and other utilities to adopt smaller microgrids would improve resilience in the face of our changing climate.

Gov. Jared Polis should support newer efforts such as Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) that allow local entities to “shop around” for their electrical provider. Polis continues to support monopolies, such as Xcel, instead of CCA.

Marc Alston, Denver

Leslie Glustrom, a probably very well-trained and experienced biochemist who has spent most of the last 20 years working with the Public Utility Commission trying to decarbonize our electric system, now wants to allow communities to “go shopping” for the best rates. Doesn’t everyone want the lowest rates for whatever they purchase? She also joins in the chorus of Xcel baiters.

So a community goes “shopping” and finds a generator that sells at lower rates than Xcel. How does that electricity get from that generator to that community? Most likely over existing Xcel transmission lines and then along existing Xcel distribution lines or they decide to build a parallel system. Isn’t Xcel entitled to some kind of fee for their use of Xcel’s property? Either way, there are added costs to that lower “shopped” electricity. There is also a matter of scale.

Yes, we desperately need to cut down on the use of fossil fuels by increasing the use of renewable sources or we sink. However, reading recent articles in the Denver Post and other sources, there are new and rapidly growing demands for electricity: electric vehicles. “Bitcoin mining” is a new demand center actually vacuuming up electricity, on and on. Where is the extra electricity for charging coming from?

For a few years, unfortunately we are going to have to rely on gas-fired generation to cope with thesis demand spikes.

So, work with Xcel to open up areas for solar farms, which take up huge segments of usually arable land, wind farms which leave the land usable, (lots of people to feed), maybe some mini-hydro facilities but also help facilitate routing of transmission facilities to get the new power to market. NIMBY is a strong reaction.

Richard (Dick) Emerson, Denver

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