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Re-thinking our approach to energy (opinion)

By ThisIsReno
Published: Last Updated on

Submitted by Geoffrey Brooks B.Sc, Retired Scientist/Business Owner

I have been in “social isolation” for nearly two months, donning a mask and gloves when I venture out into a supermarket to pick up food and essential supplies. The world has been put on hold!

SArS-COV2 has no proven cure (yet), only 20 percent of the folks who have symptoms associated with a coronavirus infection test positive. The best guesstimate (from LA, reported in the Economist) is that maybe 5 percent have had it and have the antibodies that may (or may not) protect them. This means here in Washoe County metro area, that roughly 425,000 folks can still be infected. There is a long way til daylight, when a vaccine arrives! 

So is there any good news? Yes.

The air here is cleaner than it has ever been. Greenhouse gas emissions are down by 8 percent. Our health outcomes will be improved, and the cost of health care can be curtailed, if we have clean air to breathe.

Once the world starts turning again, we have an opportunity to re-think our approach to energy, embracing “cleaner options,” electrifying our means of transportation.

NV Energy can intensify their solar, wind, geothermal electricity generation programs…reduce the 50 percent of our energy from gas and coal (15 percent). Green energy is already significantly less expensive than burning dirty fossil carbon. They can play an integral role in rebuilding our society with a “greener” motif.

How are we going to pay for all of the costs of the pandemic, the lost income?

Well, we can start by enacting a Carbon Fee and Dividend Act, where all fossil carbon produced and imported into the U.S. is assessed a fee (Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act HR763) – and the revenues collected returned to every citizen as a Dividend. This will engage everybody in making market choices in helping to keep our air stay clean.

Geoffrey Brooks is a graduate of the University of London, England.  He worked as a chemist developing consumer products and their ingredients, moving to the USA in 1969 where he co-founded and was CTO for a chemical specialty business in New Jersey. Brooks retired to Reno in 2007 and now consults for start-up entrepreneurial bio-tech businesses operating in the nutritional and health care industries. In addition to actively supporting the “Reno Shelter” and VOA,  specifically, the Reno Works training program, Geoffrey and his wife Patricia sponsored a study at UNR dealing with the issues to enable the use of Solar Micro-gridding (+ peak-use battery storage) in all new construction in metro Washoe County.

Submitted opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of This Is Reno. Have something to say? Submit an opinion article here.

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