What It Takes For Energy Savings To Count

There is no way to "slash energy use" ("Growth vs. environment," Cover Story, May 11). Every initiative requires massive investments of capital, all up-front. The savings become noticeable only after a large fraction of all the existing light bulbs, refrigerators, air conditioners, and furnaces have been replaced. Industrial and residential savings in fuel-burning are all accomplished by converting to electricity. And that will require more new power plants. The maximum theoretical contribution of solar energy can't exceed 8%. In fact, 1% to 2% would be marvelous, if we can ever reach it. The remaining power plants that don't emit carbon dioxide will have to be nuclear.

A. David Rossin

Los Altos Hills, Calif.

Editor's note: Rossin was Assistant Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Energy in 1986-87.