November 30, 2007

#5 Bioenergy Can... Expand Energy Freedom of Choice

Bioenergy provides the only renewable LIQUID fuels we will see at the pump in our lifetimes.

The United States is a nation that not only preaches self-reliance, but also freedom of choice. We vote at the election booth every couple of years and we promote the global spread of this “self-evident” right.

But we also vote with our wallets every day of the week. People who are apathetic and confused at the ballot box are, in contrast, vested and discriminating decision-makers when it comes to pocketbook issues. They may buy fuel based on fluctuations in the short-term price, but they also make long-term decisions - like where to live and what kind of car to buy - based on expected future prices of energy.

It is important that service stations carry a variety of fuels that give us alternatives to petroleum or other fossil fuels. The freedom to choose alternatives is fundamental to the economic flexibility and sustainability of our energy paradigm. Brazil chose to develop alternatives and now they are energy self-sufficient - in fact they currently export both oil and ethanol. Other countries should be able to also.

Without choices we are locked into a status quo that will wreak havoc on future generations throughout the world. Imagine the impact when China, India, and other developing countries start to clamber for their fair share of oil. Again, bioenergy is the only renewable source of liquid energy. It needs to be developed now so that each region of the world can have more choices about how they can become more energy secure and self-sufficient.

Since it will take roughly 15 years to cycle out current car technology, we need a transition that will assure service station operators a growing demand for alternative fuels. Once step that the Brazilian government took was to mandate that all new cars sold after a certain date were flex fuel compatible. We need to develop policies that mandate flex-fuel and new plug-in e-flex auto technology which will insure more choices in the future.

This article is the fifth in a series of five about the unique capabilities of bioenergy.

On November 28th I made a presentation at the Capitol Hill Club to the Biomass Coordinating Council (BCC) of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) titled "BioEnergy Can Do." My aim was to list what I considered to be the top five unique capabilities of bioenergy that should drive legislative action on Capitol Hill. The five capabilities are:
1. Bioenergy can convert solar energy into liquid fuel.
2. Bioenergy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
3. Bioenergy can remediate ecological disasters.
4. Bioenergy can revive depressed economies.
5. Bioenergy can expand energy freedom of choice.


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