Renewable energy: Not just a nice idea

  • Article by: BRUCE E. DALE
  • Updated: October 7, 2012 - 6:44 PM

Considered in context, it's clear that ethanol has an important role to play.

  • 19
  • Comments

  • Results per page:
pitythefoolsOct. 7, 12 7:13 PM

Turning food into fuel. Brilliant! Just how much would ethanol cost if the underlying corn wasn't heavily subsidized? As far as oil production "peaking," what does that mean? That we can't pump any more or we don't want to pump any more? And who cares. If we need an alternative, clean source of energy we have over 100 KNOWN years of natural gas right here in the US. Yes, we need to seek alternative forms of energy. And there are many that use NO fuels. Geothermal, wind, tidal, wave to name a few. Ethanol. Bad idea from the start.

marcymmbOct. 7, 12 7:18 PM

So why then does it need to be subsidied.

makinen2Oct. 7, 12 7:54 PM

Ethanol subsidies were eliminated the end of 2011. Meanwhile big oil receives huge tax-payer subsidies. Ethanol is the cleanest and cheapest transportation fuel in the world. The EPA after the longest and most expensive study of a fuel done anywhere, recommended that its use be increased from 10% to 15%. Significant research studies conducted by major university such as Purdue, Michigan State, Iowa State concluded that ethanol is cost-effective yielding a positive energy balance over fossil fuels.

notaxmaxOct. 7, 12 9:38 PM

Falsehoods and truths: Big oil receives huge subsidies - false, they receive the same tax breaks as any other business would as they itemize exploration costs. Ethanol is as good as gas - false, only about 80% of the mileage as gasoline. Using biofuels is good for the environment - false, Brazil, for instance, has taken down millions and millions of acres of rain forest to plant soybeans to be made into diesel fuel, I think that is a big contributor to global warming. When you hear liberals talk about energy sustainability they really mean control. They want to control what you drive, where you live, where you work, what they surmise you need for health care, what you can eat and how much, how you raise your children, what you study in school. To attain these goals they will dodge and evade direct questions, massage numbers so they come out in their favor or just hide the facts, and that is the truth.

mdachsOct. 8, 1212:26 AM

For the greenies, the ethanol argument is a big lie. It takes more energy to produce ethanol than coal and petroleum-based energy sources. So the "front end" part of producing ethanol is not at all energy efficient, while the emissions are less than coal and petroleum products produce. And the big winners are farmers, in this equation from a financial standpoint. This is just another myth from the greenies.

neillevine3Oct. 8, 12 1:35 AM

Hydro, especially waterwheels, better

rolflindyOct. 8, 12 3:38 AM

Right on notaxmax. Trashing 40 million prime crop acres to put low energy moonshine in our gas tanks is madness.

pagejgOct. 8, 12 4:26 AM

"Big oil receives huge subsidies - false,". How about the cost to maintain access to oil markets throughout the world. 100B a year in military costs to protect our oil interests throughout the year. That's a pretty big subsidy don't you think?

patasticOct. 8, 12 6:36 AM

Peak oil production is currently estimated to occur anywhere from 2020 to 2120 by the USEIA. Others estimate it will take anywhere from 40 to 100 years to reach the tipping point...based on current technology and knowledge. However, even a 10% increase in extraction efficiency would add 50 years worth of world's supply. So, we know we have a century before a crisis is likely to develop. ---Having the government need to worry about this would be like President James Madison in 1812 encouraging the country to develop petroleum production and distribution networks in anticipation of Ford's new affordable vehicle in 1904!

tbot2000Oct. 8, 12 6:59 AM

I think what's equally as scary is our dependence on corn as it is on oil. What "food" does corn really make? It's cheap and terrible cattle feed or it goes into almost exclusively low nutrition highly processed "foods." We need to stop subsidizing corn immediately. Eat more real food and less meat.


Comment on this story   |  


  • about opinion

  • The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.

  • Submit a letter or commentary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters