HARNESSING THE POWER OF BIOMASS ENERGY IN THE MIDWEST
Regional Release of The Chicago Council’s Fourth Heartland Paper
While some forms of renewable energy sources—such as wind, solar, and geothermal—have not reached desired economies of scale in the Midwest, the abundance of agricultural and forestry biomass residuals in the region could provide new opportunities for economic development, energy security, and environmental conservation. The report, “Harnessing the Power of Biomass Residuals: Opportunities and Challenges for Midwestern Renewable Energy,” examines these opportunities and the key challenges limiting the current capacity of alternative biomass energy technologies, including financial constraints, market penetration barriers, and behavioral routines. It concludes with a series of recommendations that offer a framework for making better use of residuals in the region. The report is authored by Steve Brick, senior fellow on energy and climate at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
joined The Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2009. He brings more than thirty years of experience working at the intersection of energy and environmental policy. Previously he worked with the Joyce Foundation, the Energy Center of Wisconsin, PGE National Energy Group, and the Clean Air Task Force, and was cofounder and vice president of the energy consulting firm MSB Energy Associates. Mr. Brick received his B.A. and M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.
serves as Indiana state director of USDA Rural Development. Appointed by President Obama in the summer of 2009, Mr. Lehmkuhler oversees operations of the 105 staff members located in five Area Offices and eight Sub-Area Offices around Indiana. Before joining USDA Rural Development, Mr. Lehmkuhler worked with the Indiana Municipal Power Agency, the Economic Development Division of the Indiana Department of Commerce, and has worked for fourteen years on community and economic development projects while working for Members of Congress.
is the James and Lois Ackerman professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University. Professor Tyner's research interests include energy, agriculture, and natural resource policy analysis and structural and sectoral adjustment in developing economies. His work in energy economics has encompassed oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale, biomass, ethanol from agricultural sources, and solar energy. Dr. Tyner has received the AAEA Distinguished Policy Contribution Award, the “Energy Patriot Award” from Senator Lugar, and the Outstanding Graduate Educator in the College of Agriculture.
This report is the fourth installment of The Chicago Council’s Global Midwest Initiative’s Heartland Paper series, reports based on original research that examine key issues and provide policy recommendations to support Midwestern success in a global economy. This report is made possible in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development Agency.