Demand for biomass to meet renewable energy targets in the United States: implications for land use

Anthony Oliver, Madhu Khanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Renewable energy policies in the electricity and transportation sectors in the United States are expected to create demand for biomass and food crops (corn) that could divert land from food crop production. We develop a dynamic, open-economy, price-endogenous multi-market model of the US agricultural, electricity and transportation sectors to endogenously determine the quantity and mix of bioenergy likely to be required to meet the state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs) and the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) if implemented independently or jointly (RFS & RPS) over the 2007–2030 period and their implications for the extent and spatial pattern of diversion of land from other uses for biomass feedstock production. We find that the demand for biomass ranges from 100 million metric tons (MMT) under the RPS alone to 310 MMT under the RFS & RPS; 70% of the biomass in the latter case can be met by crop and forest residues, while the rest can be met by devoting 3% of cropland to energy crop production with 80% of this being marginal land. Our findings show significant potential to meet current renewable energy goals by expanding high-yielding energy crop production on marginal land and using residues without conflicting with food crop production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1476-1488
Number of pages13
JournalGCB Bioenergy
Volume9
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2017

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Keywords

  • Renewable Fuel Standard
  • Renewable Portfolio Standard
  • bioelectricity
  • biofuels
  • dynamic optimization
  • partial-equilibrium model
  • spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Waste Management and Disposal

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