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View Diary: Energy Plan: No Visionaries, Please - Part III (38 comments)

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  •  The real outrage..... (none)
    ... of this bill (besides the enormous subsidies to energy companies to keep doing their thing) is the "concessions" that the Dems got on the ethanol issue.  All the corn-state Senators demanded it, esp. Daschle, even though ethanol will not solve anything.  It takes energy to turn corn into ethanol, and that energy comes from -you guess it- regular old-fashioned coal and oil plants.  It saves almost no nonrenewable resources, but does provide jobs for farmers in South Dakota, Montana, Iowa and other states that have influential congressmen.  Thats nice for the economies of those states (and they need it) but does little for our long-term energy security.

    Meteor, thanks for your continuing coverage of this important issue to me.  I just received  my masters in Energy and Environmental Analysis (did a big thesis on the 2002 Omnibus Enengy Bill) and your analysis seems spot on to me.

    •  Re: The real outrage..... (none)
      It takes energy to turn corn into ethanol, and that energy comes from -you guess it- regular old-fashioned coal and oil plants.

      I've never paid much attention to commercial ethanol production. I take it (from your comment) that it's not done via fermentation.

      •  Re: The real outrage..... (none)
        I'd guess that fermentation is a part of the process -- I'm no expert on how they make different kinds of alcohols but I'd guess they all require some type of fermentation.  I just know the entire process is not an efficient one, at least using the infrastructure in place now.  It could perhaps save a couple percentage points of the oil and coal going into production, but its not a great deal better than just firing up the old dirty plants.

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