Report: Moving to Clean Energy Would Drive Job Growth and Economic Recovery in Arkansas
Shifting to renewable energy sources, such as wind and bio-energy, would bring significant job growth, economic investment and revenues to Arkansas’ struggling rural communities, according to a new report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). These benefits would be enhanced through clean energy and climate legislation that is currently moving through the U.S. Senate.
“After suffering significant job losses, Arkansas is well-positioned to become a leader in producing the clean energy that America needs,” said Martin R. Cohen, author of the report and an independent energy policy. “The state’s dependable workforce and strong business community provide the tools for leadership in manufacturing equipment for clean energy industries.”
The new report, called “A Clean Energy Economy for Arkansas: Analysis of the Rural Economic Development Potential of Renewable Resources,” examines the potential for renewable energy resource development, specifically looking at how the state’s rural communities stand to benefit. According to the report, investment in renewable energy would create as many as 18,000 new Arkansas jobs and provide a boost to rural communities across the state.
… The new report finds renewable energy in Arkansas provides significant opportunity for economic growth that is environmentally sustainable in rural communities. The report also finds the potential of new income sources for farmers from emerging clean energy technologies, particularly wind, biofuels, biopower, and biogas.
… — Biofuels. Cellulosic ethanol — made from organic waste materials,
crop residue, and non-food plants, instead of edible sugars and
starches, and biodiesel — made from algae instead of soybeans, are
the next generation of smart biofuels. Arkansas is perfectly situated
to become a center of the next generation biofuels production.
Existing usable Arkansas crop and timber residues are sufficient to
produce 770 million gallons of transportation fuels each year,
equivalent to 50 percent of all the gasoline used in Arkansas. An
average rice farm could see potential gross revenue of $38,000 from
harvesting biomass residue. Ten cellulosic plants, each with a 50
million gallon capacity, would create 2,090 long-term jobs, and $216
million in annual economic activity. READ MORE