Infrastructure

Expansion and growth of the bioenergy industry (whether farm-scale biogas, commercial-scale bioethanol, or utility-scale biopower) in the U.S. will depend on creation of physical and intangible infrastructure.  Physical infrastructure is the “hardware”, including conversion facilities, farm and forest equipment, and transportation and storage networks (e.g., roads, railroads, bridges, pipelines and warehousing).  Large-scale development of physical infrastructure will require large investments by both private and public backers.  Intangible infrastructure is the “software” and includes public policy, regulatory structures, quality standards, and marketing institutions.  By all accounts meeting mandated goals for renewable energy in the U.S, specifically cellulosic transportation fuels, will require substantial amounts of new physical infrastructure as well as increased intangible infrastructure.  Policy in particular, is necessary to encourage investments in conversion facilities, to encourage feedstock development and production, and for cost-sharing in improvement of rural transportation and warehousing.  Current budget constraints within the U.S. government and many state and local governments are significant challenges to development of both the physical and intangible infrastructure necessary for meeting mandated renewable energy goals nationally, within states and at local levels.