Study: Rural Economies to Benefit from Bioenergy
by Anna Simet (Ethanol Producer Magazine) According to a new paper authored by two University of Missouri professors, rural regions are poised to benefit from bioenergy.
While remoteness is a penalty in the centralized petroeconomy, due to high power transmission and fuel transportation costs, those expenditures could be erased with development of a distributed bioeconomy. “This is a prediction of impacts if, when and where rural regions become net producers of energy,” said co-author Thomas Johnson, Frank Miller professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. “[For example] there is evidence that the price of gasoline has declined in most regions where ethanol is produced. This supports the idea that bioenergy will provide a competitive advantage in transportation costs.”
The authors include a cautionary note for regional bioeconomy development, based on real occurrences within regions that have served as sources of nonrenewable energy and resources: “In many (perhaps most) of these regions, the costs of exploiting in situ resources is ultimately borne by the place and its residents. The wealth of the place is temporary, and if this wealth is not reinvested locally, both the place and those unfortunate enough to reside there are impoverished by the mining and environmental degradation. In the bioeconomy, similar impoverishment will occur if the renewable resource base is not protected and if the returns from the resource are not reinvested in the people and places.” READ MORE