Farm Industry News Blog

Renewable Energy Standard Would Boost Farm Revenue, Study Finds

Agriculture will have significant market opportunities ahead if Congress enacts a national renewable energy (RES) policy, says a new study conducted by the University of Tennessee’s (UT) Bio-Based Energy Analysis Group (BEAG) and funded by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC).

UT researchers focused their economic study on four states: Colorado, Florida, Kansas and North Carolina. Details can be found at www.bipartisanpolicy.org and by clicking on the study title under the “Sponsored Research” box.

If an RES of 25 percent by 2025 were enacted, increases in gross receipts would range from more than $9,000 per farm in Florida to more than $43,000 per farm in Kansas. The size of the market for biomass for energy plants would vary by state and by level of the RES target.

The study’s co-author Daniel de la Torre Ugarte, professor, UT’s Institute of Agriculture, said that the “relationship between farm revenue and the stringency of an RES policy was positive, with more revenue generated under scenarios with stronger RES targets.”

“A federal RES policy has the potential to create thousands of new jobs,” added Burton English, professor at UT’s Bio-Based Energy Analysis Group and also co-author of the study.

The 25x'25 Weekly Resource (www.25x25.org) explains that an RES policy requires utilities to provide a minimum percentage of energy from renewable sources. Such policies to promote renewable energy have been adopted by 27 states and the District of Columbia, generating growing momentum for a national-level program.

A coalition of agriculture, conservation, business and other interested parties, the 25x25 Alliance will release the results of an in-depth study next month focused on the impacts on all U.S. agriculture and forestry that would result under different climate change policy scenarios, including the House-passed American Clean Energy Security Act of 2009 (ACES). This study also was conducted by the UT's BEAG.

The 25x’25 study will look at the interplay between carbon incentives provided by climate change policy and input costs driven higher because of that policy in determining potential supply, price and geographic impacts of biomass feedstocks. The study will also report estimates of the net impact of the 25 x ‘25 goals upon biomass’s contribution to total emissions, energy use and net carbon flux.

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