The recent and projected status of energy production and consumption in the United States, resulting in substantial dependencies upon foreign oil, has continued to provide pressure on domestic energy security. All told, bio-energy systems, and biomass crop production in particular, will be important elements of national security, economic vitality, and public policy. Using biomass crop estimates based upon models developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory, we identify potential biomass crop production zones using spatial analysis methods. The Midwest and the South are, by far, the largest regions of potential production. Once potential biomass crop yield is made proportional to estimated land and production costs, the South’s optimal crop zones fall along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Seaboard, whereas in the Midwest, they are largely in non-metropolitan localities. The implications of these spatial contours for energy policy for alternative biomass crop production are discussed.
Howell, Frank, Jeremy Porter, Philip Mason, and Troy Blanchard. 2010. "Spatial Contours of Potential Biomass Crop Production: An Examination of Variations by U.S. Region." Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 25(2): Article 1. Available at: https://egrove.olemiss.edu/jrss/vol25/iss2/1