Study: Biodiesel, Ethanol Key to Economic Recovery

John Davis

iowarfaA new study put out by a leading advocate of biofuels finds that green energy sources have been key to keeping the economy on a somewhat even keel and more production would help further economic recovery in at least one state… and you have to believe that it would apply to many more.

At the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association meeting in Des Moines this week, the group released a new study that shows how big of an impact the renewable fuels industry has on Iowa’s economy. Furthermore, idled capacity that goes back into production could boost that state’s economic turnaround:

“2008 was a year of unprecedented challenges for the biofuels industry,” said economist John Urbanchuk, a director with LECG, LLC. “Despite the challenge to profitability, the biofuels industry continued to grow and met the Renewable Fuel Standard target of nine billion gallons for 2008. Iowa leads the Nation in biofuels output accounting for 26 percent of U.S. ethanol and 12 percent of biodiesel production capacity.”

According to the report, “Contribution of the Biofuels Industry to the Economy of Iowa,” Urbanchuk found that ethanol and biodiesel producers are part of a manufacturing sector that adds substantial value to agricultural commodities produced in Iowa and makes a significant contribution to the Iowa economy. Based on the renewable fuels refineries operating at year-end 2008, ethanol and biodiesel:

* Adds nearly $12.0 billion, or about 9 percent, to Iowa GDP
* Generates $2.8 billion of household income for Iowa households
* Supports nearly 83,000 jobs through the entire Iowa economy (or 5.4% of private, non-farm employment), and
* Generates $576 million in state tax revenue.

IRFA officials add that if the nine idled biodiesel and ethanol plants in Iowa were brought back on line, they would add $300 million to Iowans’ income, create over 9,000 new direct and indirect jobs and put over $70 million in additional tax revenues into the state coffers.

You can read the entire report here.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, News