U.S biofuel Agenda

Discussion in 'Energy' started by tas51, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. tas51
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    tas51 Rookie

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    Hi all,
    I am conducting some research for a masters thesis regarding how the United States governmental biofuel agenda was set, and am inviting comment from forum members.

    How the national agenda is set is often thought to be the most complex and least understood aspect of the policy-making process. Indeed, why biofuel has come to occupy such a prominent place on the U.S. governmental agenda is an interesting question not only for the inherent reasoning above, but also due to the high level of controversy and debate the issue has generated in recent times. To date however, much of the policy research carried-out on the biofuel topic has neglected to address how biofuel came to garner so much government attention in the first place. It is this neglected area of the biofuel topic that I seek to address through my research project.

    Because the search for a policy’s genesis is futile, it has been suggested that “the best we can do is to identify critical moments in the history of policies that seem to have turned the tide in favour of new policies or ideas.” (Birkland, 1997, p.70) By carrying out this qualitative case study, I aim to identify the critical moments and people that have contributed to the ‘turning of the tide’ in favour of biofuel policy in the U.S. Using John Kingdon’s 1984 Multiple Streams agenda setting framework I aim to uncover the factors that contributed to the successful implementation of ‘biofuel-friendly’ policy in the U.S., exemplified by the enactment of Energy Policy Act 2005 (EPAct2005). Like Kingdon, I seek to understand how the issue was chosen for attention by government, why the issue came up when it did, why this issue was are acted upon while other were shunned, and who brought what problems up for government to resolve. (Kingdon, 1984)

    To carry out this piece of research I have chosen to use EPAct 2005 (P.L. 109-190) as the focal point of the study. The legislation’s significance is based on the ten year gap between comprehensive national energy bills passed by Congress in the U.S., and the host of biofuel related provisions included in the Act. For these reasons, Epact 2005 is thought to be suitable choice in terms of a point in time that demonstrates a high level of interest from the U.S. policy community toward the biofuel issue. It is the years directly preceding the passage of EPAct 2005 that will be analysed to determine factors that culminated in the successful implementation of significant biofuel-friendly provisions within the 2005 Act.

    Brief description of the Provisions within EPAct 2005 that directly deal with Biofuel:
    Most notably the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which will more than double the current market for biofuels. The RFS requires that 7.5 billion gallons of biofuels (including ethanol and biodiesel) be utilized by 2012. Other significant provisions enacted by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 include the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit, which was extended for another two years, and the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (for public power), which are vital to obtaining project financing for the renewable energy industry. Additionally, Senators Lugar (R-IN) and Harkin (D-IA), worked to include significant biofuels, bio-based products and biopower provisions in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, thereby providing legislation for grant-and-loan and loan guarantee programs which will now give biomass renewable energy projects a step-up in the growing renewable energy market. There are specific provisions authorizing funding to spur development of cellulosic biofuels facilities and integrated biorefineries.

    By carrying out this analysis, it is hoped that revelations regarding the conditions that were conducive to the adoption of strong biofuel-friendly policy in the US will be able to be identified. In addition, it is thought that the findings may aid in the understanding of the processes currently going on in the post-2005 biofuel ‘boom’ countries, as well as make contribution (however small) to the broader volume of available literature on agenda setting and policy development in the U.S.
    As I mentioned above, I would be extremely grateful for any comments or insights forum members may have relating to my study.
     
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  2. Mr. H.
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    Mr. H. Diamond Member

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    Big Ag. The sole purpose of the biofuels program is to get that incremental bushel of grain to market.
     
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  3. KansasPatriot
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    KansasPatriot Rookie

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    You should check into how much oil must be consumed by the barrel to produce these fuels. There are numerous independent studies out there showing it takes 3-4 barrels of oil to produce one barrel of biofuel.
     
  4. JiggsCasey
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    JiggsCasey VIP Member

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    peak oil... period, end of story.

    lots of (unviable) "alternatives" are getting the skids greased, in fact... shale and tar sands, too...

    afterall, there's money to be made from the market panic that exists at the end of the age of cheap energy.
     
  5. waltky
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    waltky Wise ol' monkey Supporting Member

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    Biofuel from microbes & CO2...
    :cool:
    Scientists Coax Microbe to Produce Biofuel from CO2
    March 28, 2013 - Pyrococcus furiosus thrives in super-heated, acidic ocean waters surrounding undersea volcanic vents

     
  6. waltky
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    waltky Wise ol' monkey Supporting Member

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    Diesel biofuel from e.coli bacteria...
    :cool:
    E. coli bacteria 'can produce diesel biofuel'
    22 April 2013 - A strain of bacteria has been created that can produce fuel, scientists say.
     
  7. Underhill
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    Underhill Active Member

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    I have mixed feelings on the subject. It has driven corn prices up. But domestically I'm not sure that's a bad thing. Subsidies for corn growers go down as demand increases, or so the theory goes, so the net cost might be marginal.

    But it's been rough on foreign countries who already were struggling to feed their people. Personally I think there is a future in bio fuels but not using food supplies. As others have posted, I've read about much higher yields from all kinds of alternative sources from bacteria to algae.
     
  8. Mr. H.
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    Mr. H. Diamond Member

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    Hydrocarbons are far, far away from their heyday. Go home and rework the numbers.
    We'll get back to you.
     
  9. waltky
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    waltky Wise ol' monkey Supporting Member

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    Military leans more toward biofuel than natural gas...
    :eusa_eh:
    Despite fracking boom, US military still looks to biofuel over natural gas
    August 12, 2013 — The drilling boom created by hydraulic fracking has led to an explosion of natural gas vehicles on U.S. highways, but the U.S. military has been slow to jump on the bandwagon.
     
  10. whitehall
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    whitehall Gold Member

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    Ethanol makes gas more costly and causes cars to get lower gas mileage. The cropland and fertilizer dedicated to ethanol could be better utilized in ways that would lower food prices and feed more starving people worldwide. Tell me again why they add the crap to gas?
     

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