Editorial: Interest in wind and solar is positive

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 3, 2006

Gas prices are lower now than in recent months, but experts say prices are expected to climb soon. Economists tell us that the days of $1-a-gallon gasoline will never return. Most fossil fuels besides coal carry hefty prices anymore, and, of course, all fossil fuels pollute the common spaces we all share, such as the air we breathe.

With everyone feeling the pinch of high prices, it’s good to know people in Minnesota and Iowa and all over the globe are looking to other sources of energy. Notably, wind has been in the news this week.

Minneapolis nonprofit organization Windustry held an informational meeting Saturday morning at Albert Lea High School. Democrats and Republicans spoke in favor of wind energy there, and people from Windustry spoke about Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Objective, which has a goal of 10 percent of energy coming from renewable sources by 2015. That’s a laudable goal we hope comes to fruition.

Also, the Associated Press on Wednesday sent out a story about the high demand for wind energy. Apparently, there aren’t enough turbines being built to meet the global need for them, and wind turbine manufacturers in Europe are backed up two years. That has caused the price of wind turbines to skyrocket &045; which impacts the price of wind energy.

Tucked in a quote at the end of the AP story was mention of the increase in demand for solar cells, too. There isn’t enough solar-grade silicon to keep up with the pace of solar panel production. You got it. Prices have gone up.

It’s nice to see so much interest in renewable sources, but let’s hope the manufacturers can meet the needs and thereby keep the prices down. It’s a hopeful future where if the prices pencil out, a lot of regular folks can save a lot of money &045; and maybe we can help our planet out while we’re at it.