Hurricane Season Should Spur Ethanol Support

By Mike Bryan | September 08, 2008
t was interesting to watch the events that occurred before and after the U.S. landfall of Hurricane Gustav and the implications it was feared to have on the supply of oil from the Gulf of Mexico. At the same time, we still see signs at a number of gas stations in Colorado that say "Ethanol-Free Gasoline."

This and other attacks on the ethanol industry seem totally at odds with the stark reality of our energy vulnerability. The fact that a hurricane could disrupt 25 percent of the energy supply of an entire nation is troubling, but the attacks being launched against domestically produced ethanol at the same time are even more troubling.

It's time for Americans to realize that our energy vulnerability reaches far beyond our dependence on foreign oil. Our vulnerability is right here at home in the Gulf of Mexico. With Hurricane Gustav, we may have dodged an energy crisis bullet, but even as a result of a moderate storm, it affected the oil supply from the Gulf for days.

If we subscribe to the idea of global warming, then we also have to accept the fact that such storms will be more frequent and possibly more violent. America has a concentrated energy base in the Gulf of Mexico that can be substantially disrupted or even totally shut down in the blink of an eye. Conversely, ethanol is akin to distributed generation in the electrical industry. Everyone endorses the concept of distributed electrical generation as an excellent strategy to ward off potential power disruptions. Isn't the fact that ethanol production is distributed over the entire Midwest and growing in other parts of the country a similarly sound concept?

Distributed power generation from small independent power producers is not the total answer to securing our electrical energy future, nor is distributed fuel production in the form of ethanol. However, it is an important step in the direction of energy security, helping to maintain our crucial energy supply as we encounter an increasing number of weather-related disruptions.

Perhaps as a result of global warming, we have entered a new era of potential energy disruptions. Whatever the cause, it makes an even stronger case for distributing our renewable energy supply from coast to coast.

That's the way I see it!

Mike Bryan
Publisher & CEO
mbryan@bbibiofuels.com