Beyond Biofuels: Renewable Energy Opportunities for U.S. Farmers

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Hilary Flynn

Report release

In cooperation with 25x’25, the Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America hosted a transatlantic roundtable discussion on its new report Beyond Biofuels: Renewable Energy Opportunities for U.S. Farmers.

As farmers struggle with increasing energy costs and decreasing farm incomes, untapped business opportunities in renewable energy hold the promise of addressing both of these problems, while also offering numerous other benefits such as rural economic development, national energy security and improved environmental conditions.  American farmers have captured some renewable energy opportunities available to them, notably those associated with ethanol production, but have not yet developed most renewable technologies to their full potential.  German farmers, on the other hand, have used renewable to their advantage and have established a much more robust agriculture-renewables connection than their American counterparts.

At the roundtable, the authors explored these lessons at the intersection of renewable energy and agriculture on both sides of the Atlantic. They provided an overview of renewable energy on farms and the drivers for deployment in Germany and the U.S. Participants at the roundtable discussed the prospects of feed-in tariffs in US states, the benefits of a biogas strategy for the US, and the role of sustainability standards for using biomass in energy production.  The presentation concludes with suggestions for which drivers in Germany may benefit U.S. farmers and proposed recommendations to help American farmers become “energy farmers” in the 21st century.

Click here for the full report "Beyond Biofuels: Renewable Energy Opportunities for U.S. Farmers"

Click here for the presentation of the featured speakers
Amanda Chiu (Energetics)
Hilary Flynn (Meister Consultants Group)
Wilson Hambrick (Meister Consultants Group)
Arne Jungjohann (Heinrich Boell Foundation)