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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pursuing solar, wind energy requires balance

From an article by Brian Reisinger in the Marshfield News Herald:

Mike Anderson retired from corporate life several years ago to a big house he didn't need and a desire to live free. That included how he got his electricity.

"What can we do to minimize our impact?" Anderson, 60, said of he and his wife's desire to pursue alternative energy.

Today, he powers and heats the home he built in the town of Marathon largely by sun and wind. It's a transition that includes major costs and logistical challenges, but also long-term benefits to everyone, experts and residents who use alternative energy say.

In Anderson's case, his solar panel and wind turbine cost about $30,000 and $70,000, respectively. Mike Ritzel, owner of Bullshooters Saloon in Weston, wants to install similar systems at his business, but said upfront costs make it difficult.

"Cost is the prohibitive thing," he said.

There are government incentives and rebates available. That's partially how Anderson paid for his systems, but Ritzel said elected officials need to provide more funding and fewer restrictions.

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