A group of national leaders has come to Indiana to see the advances our state has made in renewable energy and the role that agriculture has played in its development. The group toured the Hoosier State on Thursday looking at the progress that has been made in renewable biofuels, solar, and wind energy. Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock said Indiana is a leader in the development new sources of energy, “We have the second largest biodiesel plant in the world at Claypool, IN, and 13 very progressive ethanol plants that have really developed the market in this state.” Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann spoke to the delegation and said much of this credit for the development of the renewable energy sector in Indiana is agriculture, “We are very proud of agriculture and the leadership role it has played in renewable fuels in our state, and we expect this to continue.” She added that Indiana also has a wealth of traditional energy sources including a 300 year supply of coal and supply of oil in the Illinois basin.
Ellspermann hinted at a new state energy policy that is under development and will be
rolled out next month. State Director of Agriculture Ted McKinney said his department has been at the table during the development of this policy and sees agriculture as playing a key role in the development of new sources of renewable energy.
The Hoosier State is also a hotbed of innovation when it comes to new sources of energy, including the wind farm in Benton County, the solar project in Tipton County, and the methane digester at the Fair Oaks Dairy in Jasper County that is turning animal waste into natural gas. The group toured the Fair Oaks farm along with several other locations in the state. They also got a briefing on new cellulosic research at Purdue University. U.S. Air Force General Donald Hoffman, retired, a member of the delegation, told HAT that Indiana is on the cutting edge of the next generation of renewable energy, “Indiana agriculture has found ways to use the waste from agricultural production to create energy; that is a win/win situation for everyone.” Hoffman said developing new sources of energy is vital for national security.
The tour was sponsored by the 25×25 Initiative, whose goal is to have 25% of our nation’s energy needs come from renewable sources by the year 2025. Currently, the group says 11% of the nation’s energy comes from renewable resources.