M.D. Harmon’s Dec. 5 commentary (“Beware the hidden costs of alternative energy sources”) proposes that “environmental costs” are being ignored or hidden, and he implies that international attempts to limit greenhouse gas emissions are a dark plot to tax consumers.

Cap-and-trade and carbon tax strategies have been endorsed by leading economic institutions in the industrial world, including the World Trade Organization. Suggesting that costs of construction and maintenance (creating good jobs), noise and visual impact compare to the cost of destroying the habitability of the planet is absurd.

Mr. Harmon derides the all-or-nothing concept of renewables, but Google remains committed to expanding renewable energy. The corporation has spent $500 million on renewable energy development. Google’s RE<C initiative represents one minor part (less than 10 percent) of that overall strategy.

Concerning the statistics on comparable subsidies, Americans for Progress numbers are rigged by measuring to megawatts of energy produced. How much has our government spent on nuclear fusion research since 1950 and still produced no megawatts?

Subsidies are needed to promote innovative solutions to problems, not to underwrite already-profitable enterprise. Renewable sources provide 0.2 percent of U.S. energy; in Germany, renewables provide 30 percent, and that figure is growing.

The best hopes for the future are innovations in all energy production technology, improved conservation, insulation, distribution, inexpensive and efficient batteries and compressed air storage, carbon dioxide capture and abatement.

Responsible economists and engineers are designing ways to meet the energy needs of 10 billion people. Renewables will be a prominent part of the solution.

Maine is uniquely situated to lead the world in tidal power generation and biomass and wood fiber technologies. The time to invest in the future is now.

Robert Libby

Chebeague Island