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Fossil Fuels' Cost (Frank Jeffrey, Solar Power Entrepreneur)

This entrepreneur is in the thick of "thin film" solar cell manufacturing. Explore more about Jeffrey's take on the future of energy.

Transcript: Fossil Fuels' Cost

The main environmental benefit that most people think about is the reduction of use of fossil fuels. That is significant and it's not something that shows up in dollars and cents because the damage done by the effluent from fossil fuel plants is not charged to anybody in the form of energy costs. It is charged in environmental damage. It's charged in damage to individual structures. I remember not too long ago, [Iowa State University] having to redo a lot of cement work in and about campus because of acid damage because of the coal burned out of their plant. They were using high sulfur coal. It was doing a significant amount of damage. You do a lot of damage to everything else around you, particularly when you burn the high sulfur fuels. That's a real cost. It's just borne by somebody else than who's using the electricity. The environmental damage is a little more difficult to identify specifically, and always subject to more argument, but it is there. You could see areas of Europe that have just been devastated by their power plants. Areas where whole sides of mountains are just devoid of trees -- dead from effluents from their power, from their coal power plants. What's the cost of that? Everybody has got to figure that out themselves.

Tags: conservation electricity energy Energy/Environment Explore More fossil fuels Frank Jeffrey infrastructure solar energy solar power The Future of Energy viewpoints




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Explore More: Future of Energy
Copyright 2004, Iowa Public Television
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