Many small steps lead to alternative energy sources

Posted on October 26, 2005. Filed under: Energy Policy |


The La Crosse Tribune editorialized in the October 25 edition:

What’s the best way to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels?

Should the government encourage development of hydrogen-fueled cars? Do we need more alternative electrical power sources — including wind power?

How about ethanol? Should we be building ethanol plants and encouraging its use as a supplement to motor fuel?

The answer is a no-brainer. We should be doing all of these things.


Six car manufacturers had hydrogen-fuel concept cars on display at the Tokyo Motor Show. General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Hon-da, Suzuki and Daihatsu all had demonstration vehicles that either ran on hydrogen or were hydrogen and gasoline hybrids.

There are 15 hydrogen fueling stations in Japan, most in the Tokyo area. But experts say we’re probably 15-20 years away from hydrogen cars as a mainstream consumer product.

Meanwhile, we could be making more use of ethanol. State Sen. Dan Kapanke, D-Town of Campbell, has been pushing for more state promotion of ethanol and construction of more ethanol plants in Wisconsin, which has four.

Kapanke said, “Although all automobile manufacturers now make vehicles that run on gasoline that contains up to 10 percent ethanol — and several make cars and trucks that can consume up to 85 percent blends — only about a third of the gasoline sold in Wisconsin contains this corn-based fuel additive. Yet the potential to utilize renewable resources to meet marketplace demand keeps growing. Literally.”

State officials are working on a plan to increase by 10 percent the use of renewable energy in the production of electricity.

A state task force recommended the state increase the use of renewable energy by 10 percent in 2015, and to increase state government purchases of renewable energy to 20 percent by the same year.

Task force recommendations will be put into effect through legislation later this session.

There doesn’t seem to be one single answer to questions about renewable energy and the need to reduce carbon emissions that cause global warming.

But there are many smaller opportunities that will likely become larger ones as we work on them. That’s the approach to take.

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