Additional Farm Revenue from
Renewable Energy Sources
The following information covers topics that are very dear to my heart. 1) Clean Energy and 2) Farming / Ranching. For everyone who has not read the About Me Page; I was raised on a 4,000 acre Cattle Ranch in North Missouri. It was here that I learned my first lessons in: Sustainable Living and was introduced to my first Solar Panels. My Farther used Solar Electric Fence Chargers to keep the Cattle in the Pastures and for the Rotational Grazing System he utilized to assist in the development of the Feeder Steers. Enough reminiscing on with the article:
As the Article Points out:
“Eighty-two percent of the state’s electricity
comes from coal, nearly all of it shipped from
Article courtesy of: NRDC: Renewable Energy in Missouri
A renewable energy industry in Missouri would create tens of thousands of jobs and new sources of income for farmers
Missouri’s conventional fuel resources are slim
, and energy dollars are streaming out of the
state. Missourians spend about $3,000 per
person each year on energy, including natural
gas for heating, fuel for cars and trucks, and
electricity for homes and businesses.
Eighty-two percent of the state’s electricity
comes from coal, nearly all of it shipped from
But the state’s large tracts of windy land and
fertile soil, located relatively close to dense,
energy-consuming urban centers, put Missouri in
a prime position to become a national leader in renewable energy. Studies show
that a local renewable energy industry in Missouri would create tens of
thousands of jobs and provide substantial new sources of income for farmers.
By developing wind power, making biomass energy from agricultural waste and
growing dedicated energy crops to make advanced biofuels, Missouri can keep
its energy dollars at home and even start exporting energy to other states.
Missouri has already established a Renewable Energy Standard that will require
15 percent of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2021.
The renewables map
shows current and future facilities generating energy from
wind, biomass, solar and biogas in Missouri.
Credit: Nordex SE
The average Missouri farm could host three to four wind turbines and bring in $18,000 to $24,000 per year in land lease payments
According to the National Renewable Energy
Laboratory (NREL), Missouri has enough wind
to capture as much as 275,000 megawatts of
power – nine times the state’s current electricity
capacity, or enough to easily meet the state’s
total annual demand for electricity. Many of
these windy plots are relatively close to St.
Louis or Kansas City, which brings down the
cost of transmitting wind energy. Harnessing
just a fraction of Missouri’s wind power would
result in a major new source of income for
many farmers and rural communities. The
average 269-acre Missouri farm  could host
three to four wind turbines and bring in $18,000
to $24,000 annually from land lease payments.
In 2009 and 2010, Missouri tripled its wind
power capacity, supporting 500 to 1,000 jobs in
the state. Missouri wind farms currently
produce 459 megawatts of energy — enough to
power 110,000 homes. An additional 2,000
megawatts of wind power are in development. Continuing to invest in wind
power would provide a further economic boost to the state’s economy.
According to the Department of Energy, building twenty-five 100-megawatt wind
facilities — an achievable goal — would create thousands of construction jobs
and hundreds of permanent jobs; manufacturing wind turbine parts could create
Biomass Energy and Cellulosic Ethanol
Credit: Gretz, Warren – NREL Staff Photographer
Missouri farms already produce enough crop waste to manufacture about 500 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol each year
Missouri makes about 2.5 percent of the
nation’s corn ethanol, but the biofuels of the
future will not be made from corn kernels. The
best biofuels protect the environment and food
supplies while improving the economic welfare
of workers and communities. Cellulosic
ethanol, made from crop waste (such as corn
stover, the stalks and other bits left over after
harvest) and non-food plants, can produce four
to ten times as much energy per acre as
current corn ethanol — saving huge tracts of
Missouri farms already produce enough crop
waste from corn, winter wheat, soybeans,
sorghum, cotton and timber to manufacture
about 500 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol
each year. That’s about 15 percent of all the
automotive gasoline used in the state. A
Missouri corn grower whose farm yields a ton of
corn stover per acre could generate $13,000 in
annual revenue from his waste.[
The potential is even greater when you look at growing energy crops, such as
switchgrass. This perennial native prairie grass can be grown on marginal land
with little moisture, yields up to 10 dry tons per acre and regenerates without
replanting for 10 years or more. Miscanthus, a woody perennial, is another
promising energy crop that grows well in Missouri’s climate.
Missouri can produce up to 15 million dry tons of energy crops just from the 1.5
million acres of Conservation Reserve Program land on which food crops are not
grown. In addition, a portion of winter cover crops could be harvested as an
additional source of many millions of tons of biomass. A study by the Institute
for Local Self-Reliance found that Missouri has the potential to produce an
amount of ethanol equivalent to 78 percent of its current demand for gasoline.
A pilot facility capable of making 1.5 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol
from corn stover, sorghum and switchgrass is now under development in St.
Joseph, Missouri. Ramping up advanced biofuels production would create
thousands of jobs in Missouri and generate millions of dollars in local property
These same energy crops can also be substituted for a portion of coal in existing
power plants — a relatively low-cost way to quickly ramp up renewable electricity
Missouri hog farms could generate 301,000 megawatt-hours of electricity each year from methane — about $22 million of local power each year
Missouri has only one biodigester in operation
but as one of the top five hog-producing
states in the
country, it generates large amounts of
that can be converted into biogas energy.
TheEPA’s AgSTAR program reports that 154
Missouri hog farms are potentially profitable
sites for biodigesters.
Together, these operations are capable of
producing 3.5 billion cubic feet of methane
and generating 301,000 megawatt-hours of
electricity each year from it.
At 7.35 cents per kilowatt-hour (the average
electricity utility rate in Missouri in 2009),
that’s more than $22 million in forgone
economic revenue to farms
and local communities.
Missouri’s dairy farms, cattle feedlots and
poultry farms could also profit from installing
biodigesters on site, especially if smaller
operations pool their resources and as
improved technology reduces biodigester
The right set of supportive government policies
could help Missouri farmers realize the benefits of anaerobic biodigester
technology within a few years.
Missouri utilities provide an incentive of at least $2 per watt for small-scale solar installations, bringing costs down nearly 25 percent
The new Missouri Renewable Electricity Standard
requires that 2 percent of the state’s renewable
electricity come from solar power. That’s about
190,000 megawatt-hours of annual solar
electricity production by 2021, or the equivalent
of powering nearly 2,000 homes.
Solar energy costs have come down considerably
in recent years, and the new law is making it
even more affordable by requiring utilities to
provide an incentive of at least $2 per watt for
customer-based installations — about 20 to 25
percent of today’s cost for a solar array.
Missouri farmers could take advantage of the open skies over their land and
install solar arrays to meet their own energy needs. Solar panels on farms could
generate energy for water and space heating, grain drying, greenhouse heating
and electricity. Plus, Missouri’s net-metering law allows solar electricity
producers to sell their energy back to utilities – another potential source of
Renewable Energy Meets Wildland and Wildlife Conservation
Certain lands (such as parks, critical wildlife habitats, and wilderness quality
lands) and ecologically sensitive areas in the oceans are not appropriate for
energy development. In some of these areas, energy development is prohibited
or limited by law or policy, in others it would be highly controversial. NRDC does
not endorse locating energy facilities or transmission lines in such areas. And in
all cases, siting decisions must be made extremely carefully, impacts must be
mitigated and operations conducted in an environmentally responsible manner.
For more information on the intersection between clean energy development and
wildland and wildlife conservation in the American West, including locations of
parks, wildlife refuges and other conservation areas, see this Google Earth-
Economic Incentives for Renewable Energy Projects in Missouri
The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)
listsfederal, state and local government incentives for renewable energy projects
The most recent Farm Bill provides a number of incentives for renewable energy.
The Environmental Law and Policy Center maintains a helpful website
calledFarm Energy, which outlines current incentives and monitors the
development of new ones.
Missouri’s net metering
law allows small scale renewable electricity generators
(up to 100 kilowatt capacity) to connect to the grid, and requires utility
companies to buy their power at the retail utility price, up to the amount of usage
by the customer.
Missouri’s Division of Energy
has numerous wind maps, including county-level
maps, available for download or on CD-ROM.
Biomass Energy and Cellulosic Ethanol
Missouri has a number of incentives for the use of alternative fuels, the purchase
of an alternative-fuel vehicle and the construction or purchase of an alternative-
fuel refueling station or equipment. See the Alternative Fuels and Advanced
Vehicles Data Center at the EERE website for a list of state and federal
incentives and laws.
The EPA’s AgSTAR program has a comprehensive handbook
biogas technology. The site includes FarmWare, a free decision-making software
package that can help you assess the feasibility of biogas on your farm.
The Missouri Energy Center boasts a long-standing Energy Revolving Fund
help finance new solar energy projects. The Energy Center also administers
theMissouri Million Solar Roofs program that provides financial incentives to buy-
down the purchase and installation of an eligible solar PV system.
Utility customers of Columbia Water & Light Company can put a utility
rebatetoward purchasing and installing a new solar hot water or solar
The new Missouri Renewable Electricity Standard provides financial support
least $2 per watt for small-scale installations, a subsidy of about 20 to 25
percent of today’s cost of a solar array.
NRDC: Renewable Energy in Missouri
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