New U.Tenn. Report Outlines Renewable Energy Roadmap
Press Release // 11/15/06// contact: Sara Wyant, 630.247.7142 or Bill Eby, 512.940.8990

25x25 will Boost Farm Income and Create Millions of Jobs, Building a more Prosperous Rural America

KANSAS CITY, MO. – A new economic analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Tennessee outlines how America’s vast natural resources can be tapped to produce 25 percent of the nation’s energy supply from renewable sources by 2025. With continued advancements in technology and significant shifts in cropping patterns, U.S. farmers, ranchers and foresters can all contribute to this energy goal while still providing abundant supplies of food, feed and fiber.

"This cutting-edge research provides the first comprehensive look at how both crop and livestock production might respond to increased demands for renewable energy," says J. Read Smith, co-chair of the 25x’25 Project Steering Committee. "Not only would reaching the goal drastically reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources, it would also have an extremely favorable impact on rural America and the nation as a whole. This report says we could see more than $700 billion in economic activity and 5.1 million new jobs."

The 25x’25 Project Steering Committee established the "25x’25" vision and, along with the Energy Future Coalition and the Energy Foundation, financed the study. The UT analysis addresses two scenarios:

  • The impacts of producing 25 percent of the nation's electric power and motor vehicle fuels from renewable resources, utilizing findings from a new RAND report, and
  • A second scenario which outlines how agriculture and forestry resources could produce 25 percent of the nation’s total energy demands.

While a variety of renewable energy resources, including wind, hydro, solar, and geothermal, would be needed to meet the goal, the study principally examines the impact of producing the amount of biomass needed from agriculture and forestry.

Both scenarios show the need for continued yield increases in major crops, strong contributions from the forestry sector, utilization of food processing wastes, and the use of 50-100 million acres for dedicated energy crops, like switchgrass. The study assumes that the technology needed to produce cellulosic ethanol will be available and competitive by 2012.

"Using all of these sources will allow us to meet the 25x'25 renewable energy goal and will add $180 billion to net farm income," says Smith. "In 2025 alone, net farm income would increase by $37 billion compared with USDA baseline projections."

Resources: Full UT Report, UT Executive Summary, UT PowerPoint, Full RAND Study, RAND Fact Sheet

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