A bipartisan group of senators and representatives backed a proposal Wednesday which aims to use farm and rural-friendly renewable energy sources to achieve 25% of the nation's energy supply by 2025. Specifically, the Congressional concurrent resolution would help dramatically boost ethanol, biodiesel, wind, solar and biomass to meet America's energy needs.
The resolution states the goal of 25x'25, but does not prescribe a way to achieve the goal. One of the lead sponsors Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, explains the resolution recognizes the benefit of implementing supportive policies and incentives to stimulate the development and use of renewable energy. It also helps identify the benefits of technological improvements to the cost and market appeal of renewable energy.
Glenn English, CEO, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, explains the industry is already taking strong strides towards the goal. Members of the national network of electric cooperatives currently receive 11% of their power from renewable resources. Glenn adds "co-ops serve 75% of the American landmass and are historically tied to its agricultural regions - we will play the important role in development of a new renewable, ag-based fuel industry."
Currently 140 different farm, forestry and environmental organizations endorse the plan along with seven state governors and 4 state legislatures. Reid Detchon, excecutive director for the Energy Future coalition, says the group is actively reaching out to hunters and anglers, conservation groups and organized labor to broaden the support base for the goal. Several corporate sponsors have jumped on board including the three major auto makers, Deere & Co. and CHS and English hopes to see more come on in the upcoming months.
Read Smith, 25x'25 co-chair, says the coalition hopes to initiate a process to bring together ideas beginning in late June or early July. By late fall Smith says the organization wants a draft document to begin circulating among the endorsers with information on a road map including financial, state law and public policy needs.
Smith adds it's unreasonable to say this new industry will make all of the right moves each time. "There are significant challenges of implementing this vision," he warns. "But we need to take challenges as they come when there is a problem." He adds that it won't be uncommon to see editorials and commentaries critical of some pieces of this puzzle. But, "We'll do it," he says confidently.
For more information about the initiative, visit www.agenergy.info.