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Name: Marcia J Rydquist
Status: Other
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
Based on the topography and natural resources of this area, what would be the best energy sources in Burns, Oregon?



Replies:
Ms. Rydquist,

At a town meeting, your students would be presented facts by various individuals so that THEY could decide what would be the best source of energy to use for your particular area. I cannot tell you which would be best but I can present you some information on how you might get started finding your "best solution."

Energy considerations affect the entire world. The components of the consideration revolve around a few basic issues:

1. Cost/safety
2. Safety/Cost
3. Supply
4. Convenience
5. Renew-ability (recycling) and/or waste storage.

These components have been listed into what I would consider my order of importance. Your students order might differ substantially. They might also find that at a town meeting they would face interested/curious/angry/uninformed citizens with their own order of importance. Each area of the country could prepare a list of every possible energy source, and rate them according to these components.

For your area, I would presume wood is in abundant supply. Your students could call local wood yards to find the going rate on what it would cost per ton of wood, and how much heat that wood would provide. Burning wood naturally produces some smoke and of course ash byproducts, these might be used as a soil conditioner, or have to be removed and placed in a landfill. The opposing argument (coal) is abundant here in eastern Pennsylvania, but I suspect is rare in your area. Naturally, to ship tons of coal by train to your area would be very costly (while the wood in your area would be less expensive , and would not have to be shipped in). Coal also produces smoke and ash while burning and would have to be disposed. Naturally, if you used coal, the trees you do not cut down could be used instead a forest land or kept growing to maturity, depending on the species, to later be harvested and used for other wood products. Both coal and wood should be in abundant supply for decades, though coal is not a renewable resource, while wood is. This gives only the skeleton of the argument. Actual costs of the materials, of shipping, of landfill disposition, or levels of pollution created, of people complaining about having to burn wood OR coal instead of just pushing up the knob on their electric thermostats are all real costs which have to be figured in for each source of energy considered. This includes nuclear, wind, water, natural gas, and any other source you come up with.

Rickru



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