Farm Bill Energy Title Accomplishments
The first two energy titles, in 2002 and 2008, made great on-the-ground progress and the decision to policy makers now is whether to continue or halt that progress. For the 2012 Farm Bill, Congress can build on successes, learn from problems, and build the momentum toward a new day for clean energy produced by American agricutlure.
However, if the Congress decides cutting these programs for their very small contribution to austerity goals is more important, the sacrifice will be in halting or delaying the nation’s clean energy progress. Progress demands consistent effort, not vacillating commitment. Developing new energy resources effectively takes time, persistence and experience; while waiting for the next energy crisis to act means a reliance on crash programs, which are both less effective and more costly.
Please take measure of the accomplishments of the first two energy titles:
- First loan guarantees for cellulosic biofuel projects. The USDA successfully provided the first loan guarantees for cellulosic ethanol plants, before USDA.
- First working energy crop projects launched under the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. BCAP made a decisive difference in launching energy crop projects around the country.
- Over 7,800 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects funded in every state, under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP is a unique federal program that supports clean energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies of all sorts by all agricultural producers in all states.
- Locally owned community energy projects supported and growing around the country. REAP propelled community wind and supports local investment and ownership in clean energy development, increasing jobs, income and business opportunities while building local wealth.
- Farm digester development leaps forward with hundreds of projects under REAP. No other program or policy has this track record.
- Biomass supply and use infrastructure grows with new pellet, boiler, combined heat and power projects. Biomass energy has advanced under both REAP and BCAP.