Texas, the renewable energy capital of the world?

It may seem like an unlikely goal for a state built on oil dollars.
But a newly formed team of state government officials and energy industry experts aims to make the state a leader in the production of biofuels and biomass for energy.
The Texas Bioenergy Policy Council, created by the state legislature, is charged with producing a “strategic roadmap for attracting sustainable bioenegy to Texas,” said Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, who chairs the council.
“Texas is a leader in both energy and agriculture. By intersecting two of our state’s largest industries, Texas can position itself as a global leader in the future production of renewable energy,” he said in a statement Friday.
The 18-member council will meet over the next year to develop a “comprehensive action plan” with recommendations for the 82nd Texas Legislature on how to proceed.
It will have its work cut out for it. Texas’ initial foray into biofuels has hit some roadbumps. Corn ethanol producers in the Panhandle are in bankruptcy. Biodiesel plants statewide are sitting idle. And other alternative fuel ventures have been stalled by the slow economy.
Ironically, state legislators are partly responsible for some of the woes; it recently killed funding for an biofuel incentive that had helped producers reduce costs and attract new companies to the state that might have gone elsewhere.
The new council appears to be embracing a different approach to cultivating the nascent industry.
“The bioenergy industry in Texas must be able to stand on its own two feet; the government should not set mandates and choose winners and losers; and taxpayers must have confidence in and see benefit from the policy,” Staples said.

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