Monday, 19 February 2007

AAAS DAY 2: BIOENERGY TO THE RESCUE?


BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre member
AAAS Day 2: Friday 16 Feb 2007

Renewable energy from biomass is all the rage these days, with policy makers from Brazil to the US diverting huge sums of money into R&D in a race to develop new biofuels to reduce their country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and generate more clean energy. This session brought together an array of speakers with a decidedly US-centric focus on the subject.
In a nutshell, they were demonstrating that renewable energy from biomass has the potential to significantly contribute to a more diverse and secure domestic energy portfolio for the US. The presenters – including James McMillan from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Reid Detchon from the Energy Future Coalition – noted that there are significant policy, economic and technical barriers to achieving the potential of energy from forests and agricultural lands, but with focused R&D and market incentives that reflect the multiple ecological and social benefits of energy from biomass, the goals of providing 25 percent of America’s energy from renewable sources by 2025 or replacing 30 percent of important oil by 2030 are attainable.

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