Ag Will Have a Role in Growing Alt Energy


"Ag could play a prominent role in U.S. energy production over the next 20 years."

Ag sector in alt energy Recently, the EIA's Dr. Richard Newell testified during a Senate Ag Committee Hearing to discuss high gas prices and the role agriculture may play in developing energy sources for America. Newell believes agriculture could have a very prominent role in the country's energy production over the next 20 years.

"Starting with a high level overview of the linkages with agriculture and energy, EIA estimates that energy use on farms accounts for about 1 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. In addition to direct farm use energy, agriculture is indirectly affected by energy requirements in the fertilizer industry. Agriculture has also current and potential future role as an energy supplier," said Newell in his testimony. "Ethanol use in motor vehicles as grown from 1.7 billion gallons per year in 2001 to an estimated 13.2 billion gallons per year in 2010. Other important energy supply opportunities for agriculture include biodiesel, energy sources from waste and the siting of wind farms on farms with attractive wind resources."

Newell said that the EIA expects continued tightening in world oil markets over the next two years. particular in light of recent events in North Africa and the Middle East.

During his testimony, Newell cautioned that there are regional price variations as well as significant uncertainties in these forecasts. He then went on to forecast what role his agency thinks ethanol might play in the coming years.

In conclusion, the EIA expects biofuels to grow to 24 billion gallons of ethanol equivalent by 2022 and 39B gallons in 2035.

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