Renewable Energy, Bio-based Technology Highlighted at Senate Farm Bill Hearing

Renewable energy and bio-based technology were in the spotlight at a recent Senate farm bill hearing. Jo-Carroll Energy chief Michael Casper says his cooperative’s customers in northwest Illinois want sustainable power.

“Farm bill energy programs like REAP are useful tools for electric cooperatives as we respond to consumer member feedback, calling for an evolving generation mix and more efficient energy practices.”

But intermittent wind and solar can’t completely replace fossil fuels.

“This is not about prioritizing one energy source over another. Rather, to ensure we keep the lights on for American families and businesses, system reliability requires a base of firm, flexible, and dispatchable electric capacity.”

While Christophe Schilling says his bio-based tech firm GENO is moving away from fossil fuels at a 300 million-dollar Cargill-HELM plant in Iowa.

“The plant that’s currently under construction there will produce on the order of 65,000 tons per year of a widely-used chemical traditionally produced from hydrocarbons, which can now be produced from the labor and fruits of American farmers.”

Using corn to make a key ingredient for fabric and reduce carbon emissions by some 93 percent. That, as Schilling stresses the need to strengthen USDA bio-preferred and bio-based loan guarantee programs in the next farm bill.

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