Guest Column: Energy solutions—Rockford’s Freedom Field

There’s a silver lining to gasoline being $3 per gallon! Alternative energy initiatives are finally taking place all over the United States, and one of the biggest is right here in Rockford. The city will soon become one of the stops on America’s Hydrogen Highway.

A wise man once said, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and Rockford will now reinvent itself once more. My hat is off to all the people involved in making the Freedom Field project a reality. It takes a leap of faith and the efforts of a lot of dedicated people to see an idea like this from beginning to fulfillment, but this one’s a necessity. It is necessary to believe in a world no longer totally dependent on oil, and it’s necessary for Rockford’s future. By making this simple belief come true, our community leaders have secured Rockford’s economic future.

To the naysayers who claim, “It’ll never happen,” please take note: it’s happening!

In fact, the rest of the world is already way ahead of us. Places such as Iceland, Northern Ireland, Australia and Japan are fast building their economies around hydrogen. Germany and Japan have solar initiatives that have every square foot of roof grabbing energy from the sun. Our neighbors to the north, Canada, are leaders in developing this technology. Companies such as Ballard Power ( and AEC ( are creating the hydrogen fuel cells for tomorrow’s automobile engines and generators for homes and industry.

Where is Rockford in the big picture? At the forefront, taking the initiative and molding its future. Where is America in the big picture? Fighting a war for oil.

Imagine, we could put solar panels on every home in America with what we are spending each week in Iraq! All we have to do to is get involved, put apathy aside and continue to take the initiative!

From the May 17-23, 2006, issue

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