Justin Mirarck is correct that the nation needs a crash program to convert to non-carbon energy sources (Letter to the Editor, “Let’s figure out a better energy solution,” May 4).

He’s incorrect to say that solar and wind can’t do it. He believes that wind turbines self-destruct in high winds: they don’t. They “furl” in high winds to prevent mechanical overload.

The wind is blowing about 30 knots as I write this. It’s blowing about 60 knots at NREL’s wind research facility at Rocky Flats, and the wind turbines aren’t flying apart there.

Photovoltaic panels only produce power during daylight hours, but concentrating solar steam plants can store power for use during evening hours. This makes them a great match for peak air conditioning loads, and they can be economically located alongside existing fossil fuel plants.

Valmont would be a good candidate: run its existing steam turbines with solar troughs, with natural gas back-up for snowy days.

In Boulder County’s high-prairie climate, wind power is most dependable at night (read about the nocturnal low-level jet stream in a meteorology text, or on line). This means that for most of the year we can make most of our power right now using existing, economical solar and wind sources.

We also have plenty of geothermal power in this state, which we’ve barely begun to explore. We don’t need more research. We need to build facilities and transmission lines.

Seth Masia

Solar Today