Editors: Andrew Schmitz, Norbert L. Wilson, Charles B. Moss, David Zilberman

The Economics of Alternative Energy Sources and Globalization

eBook: US $34 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $136
Printed Copy: US $119
Library License: US $136
ISBN: 978-1-60805-614-9 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-233-2 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2011
DOI: 10.2174/97816080523321110101

Introduction

Considerable effort and money are devoted to developing alternative energy sources, such as wind power, solar power, cellulosic ethanol, and biofuels. This ebook is a collection of research papers on alternative energy sources presented at the Economics of Alternative Energy Sources and Globalization: The Road Ahead Conference that was held in November 2009 in Orlando, Florida. Thirty-three papers were presented by leading experts in the field, with about half being published in the e-book. Several of the papers explored the economics of biofuels produced from corn, sugarcane, and/or forestry materials. Two of the papers addressed the link between biofuel production and U.S. agricultural policy, and how biofuels could reduce U.S. Treasury costs even though biofuels increase food prices. International subsidies promote alternative fuel production (e.g., Brazil). This ebook should be a very useful resource for readers interested in alternative energy research and related economic policy.

Foreword

Rapidly rising oil prices several years ago spurred a strong interest in the production of alternative fuels. While Brazil has been producing ethanol from sugarcane for quite some time, the phenomenal growth in ethanol production from corn in the United States has been of recent origin. There are both supporters and nonsupporters of biofuel production. Those who do not support biofuels raise the question: How can energy be used to produce corn and then used to produce energy, especially when government subsidies are used to promote ethanol production? There are major constraints on the production of alternative fuels. Factors such as high water requirements, limited distribution infrastructure, the corrosive nature of ethanol which increases its distribution costs, and the ongoing 'food vs. fuel' debate may limit the degree to which more alternative fuel is produced, especially in the short run.

Because of the strong interest in the future of biofuel production, our S-1043 Regional Research Group decided to launch a project on the economics of biofuels. The chapters in this volume are the result of the Economics of Alternative Energy Sources and Globalization: The Road Ahead Conference that was held in November 2009 in Orlando, Florida. This project was sponsored by the S-1043 Regional Research Group: Impacts of Trade and Domestic Policies on the Competitiveness and Performance of Southern Agriculture: Texas A&M University, Louisiana State University, and University of Florida. This is an opportune time to publish this volume, especially in view of the major oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico which may limit expanded production of fossil fuels in favor of bioenergy. Speakers for this conference were drawn from industry, government, and academia to provide a broad perspective on realistic alternatives for policy as well as production of traditional and new alternative fuels.

This volume is a must read for researchers and policymakers directly involved in biofuel production. The authors of the chapters have considerable expertise in the economics of biofuels. As these chapters show, biofuel production is a highly controversial subject, and that there is no one answer as to whether or not it is in the best interest of society to pursue the expansion of alternative fuels.

Professor Parr Rosson
Texas AgriLife Extension Service
Texas A&M University


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