State must replace oil, coal for energy

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Monday, June 4, 2012
This is among commentaries submitted to The Gazette from students at Janesville’s Craig and Parker high schools who did field studies in either Washington, D.C., or Madison in Advanced Placement U.S. government courses taught by Joe Van Rooy.

What new energy source will replace oil or coal? That’s a big question in Wisconsin. The answer is found by looking at the energy sources we have now.

The best replacement for oil in Wisconsin would be ethanol, and the best replacement for coal would probably be natural gas. Ethanol would be a great replacement for oil because it is easy to make in an agriculture state. Natural gas would be a great replacement for coal because it is easily accessible in Wisconsin, thanks to sand mining.

Costs of creating new fuel sources slow down the process of learning about new energy. Different sources of renewable energy allow oil and coal to be depended on less and possibly create a different main fuel source.

“Wisconsin has only so much potential for wind and hydro power because of the state’s geography,” an Xcel Energy official said.

Utilities change the amounts of power they use from a certain fuel source depending on how well each resource provides energy. Wind energy and hydro power do not always produce the same amount of energy every month, while you can better regulate how much energy you can produce with coal and natural gas.

“Wisconsin’s best potential for a replacement of coal to a new fuel source would be natural gas because it is easily accessible right now for a lower price,” an Alliant Energy official said.

Having a steady energy source will cause a number of problems. Let’s hope we can rise to the challenge.

Last updated: 8:52 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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