Group says U.S. could be 25 percent renewable by 2025

| 11/13/2006

Researchers at a well-known think tank say it's economically feasible that renewable fuels could provide 25 percent of America's energy needs by the year 2025.

According to a study released by The Rand Corp. Monday, the group doesn't predict that will happen, but said that it could happen without incurring unreasonable costs.

"I think it is important that this work suggests it is do-able to expand renewables; it is not some pie-in-the-sky fantasy," said Michael Toman, a senior energy economist at Rand. "At the same time, we have to think very carefully about the mix of policies we use to get, in the overall sense, an improved picture in terms of cost, security, and the environment in the energy sector. This is only one leg of a many-legged stool."

Toman said one of the assumptions the study made is that, in the future, ethanol will be produced from wood chips and farm waste instead of from corn - a technology that's not commercially practical right now.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that if the U.S. did use renewable sources for one-fourth of its energy, it would equal our present oil imports from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

Right now, renewable energy sources - not including hydroelectric power - account for only about 3 percent of our energy.