Comment from Thompson, Martin E.
We are very fortunate indeed to have the natural resosurses, such as the Columbia River, natural wind and a fair amount of solar, in the Pacific Northwest. We have imported coal from outside the region, or brought into the region electricity generated by coal-fired plants. But we could replace all the coal generated electricity by having a crash program of drasticaly improving the energy efficiency of our buildings. And we already know how to do this, but lack the will to do it. I refer specifically to the good work done in Germany with the PassivHaus design and implementation concepts. It is possible, and already demonstrated, by thousands of homes built to these standards. These standards are about to be codified in new building codes for the EU. It is cerainly true that designers and builders will need to be re-educated on how to build to these new codes. And it may also be true that some form of "Building Commissioning" will need to be performed to certify that these homes really perform as indended. The Oregon Department of Energy has already prepared documentation for building commissioning. These same concepts have also been applied to commercial buildings. Buildings designed and built to these levels of energy performance would permit buildings to be heated by solar and cooled by earth coupling. The remaining energy needs can be met with local photovoltaic panels (with energy storage for night time), wind, etc. If necessary, these buildings could by supplied with electricity provided by hydroelectricity as an interim measure. But certainly there would be NO NEED for coal-fired or nuclear electricity and their resulting environmental problems.