The House on Thursday gave its approval to the final version of the long-awaited energy bill in Washington. It includes a renewable energy standard that would mandate using over 7-billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel a year. Lucy Norton, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, calls it a significant measure that’ll help provide a stable long-term market for Iowa’s ethanol industry. Iowa’s the nation’s largest ethanol producer, she says, making nearly 25-percent of the country’s total production of the fuel. The energy bill contains a renewable fuel standard that’ll require using more than billionN gallons of bio-diesel and ethanol in fuel blends within a few years. She says the energy bill should double the nation’s demand for corn by 2012 when the renewable-fuel standard is fully implemented. Norton says Iowa’s ethanol producers are “ready, willing and able” to work to make that 7 and-a-half-billion goal. Currently she says Iowa has 14 ethanol plants in operation, and another ten are either under construction or on the drawing board. When they’re all online, Norton says Iowa could have the potential to produce one and-a-half billion gallons of ethanol.
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