California Sets Goals to Boost In-State Biofuels Production

May 3, 2006

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order on April 25th that sets goals for the in-state production of ethanol and other biofuels. California currently burns more than 900 million gallons of ethanol fuel each year, or nearly a quarter of all the ethanol produced in the United States, but only 5 percent of the ethanol fuel consumed in the state is produced there. California's new goals are to produce 20 percent of the state's biofuels within the state by 2010, increasing to 40 percent by 2020 and 75 percent by 2050. The order also calls for biomass to provide 20 percent of the electricity generated to meet the state's renewable power requirements and enlists the help of state agencies in meeting these goals. The governor's actions follow the recommendations of a Bioenergy Action Plan for California, an interagency report released by the California Energy Commission (CEC) in early April. See the governor's press release and executive order, as well as the CEC press release and the Bioenergy Action Plan.

While biofuels production is concentrated in the Corn Belt, a number of new production plants are cropping up throughout the United States. On May 1st, for instance, an energy company and an agribusiness announced their plans to build the largest ethanol plant in the Southeast. Ergon Ethanol, Inc. and Bunge North America, Inc. are planning to build an ethanol plant in Mississippi that will produce at least 60 million gallons of ethanol per year. See the Ergon Ethanol press release.