Governor Rick Perry has unveiled the state’s plans to nurture the already growing “bio-economy” in Texas by finding new and innovative ways to tap into alternative energy resources. Houston Public Radio’s Jack Williams reports.
It’s taken about a year of planning, but Perry says the state is ready to begin a concerted effort to grow the bio-economy in Texas and get away from the ultra-dependence on fossil fuel sources.
“In a state that grows by 1,000 new citizens every day we need to be more innovative and stretch our arms around new methods, new research, in the field of energy.”
Food crops, like corn, provide a large portion of the current source of ethanol that’s added to gasoline and bio-diesel, but Perry hopes the state’s plan will concentrate on ways to use non-food crops to produce energy. He says the strategy will include using the state’s unique and diverse eco-systems to create alternative energy sources. He says Texas can be the world leader to the growing bio-economy.
“I think Texas is not only ahead of the pack when it comes to biotechnology research and development, but we’re also positioning ourselves to be an international example of self-sufficiency thanks to the bioresearch that’s already going on and I think over the course of the next four years, the world will be looking at Texas. I guess you could say the eyes of the world will be on Texas.”
The state’s bio-economy has already gotten a boost from advancements in bio-chemicals, biopharmaceuticals and biomaterials over the past several years. The Department of Energy’s Kathy Fredrickson says Texas is a bio-economy pioneer.
“We are poised on the brink of an energy revolution in this country, changing the ways that we power our homes, our businesses and our vehicles. I am very proud to say as a Texan and an Aggie grad that through your implementation of your bio-strategy, that you will continue to be an energy leader, an energy producer and truly an example to follow for the rest of the country.”
Greater Houston Partnership Chairman and Shell North America President John Hoffmeister says the state’s plans to grow its bio-economy is a natural progression in the effort to lessen dependency on fossil fuel sources.
“This is a shift from a petroleum-based only or fossil-fuel based-only to a renewable set of opportunities which we think will change the energy mix, create a better environmental balance as we move forward in the years ahead and contribute overall to our quality of life.”
As part of the state’s new bio-energy strategy, Governor Perry has appointed members of a newly formed Texas Bioproducts Industry Council, which will work with both the private and public sectors to nurture the development of bio-products in Texas.