Adoption Subsidies and Environmental Impacts of Alternative Energy Crops, March 2007

(2007) Adoption Subsidies and Environmental Impacts of Alternative Energy Crops, March 2007. Iowa State University

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Abstract

We provide estimates of the costs associated with inducing substantial conversion of land from production of traditional crops to switchgrass. Higher traditional crop prices due to increased demand for corn from the ethanol industry has increased the relative advantage that row crops have over switchgrass. Results indicate that farmers will convert to switchgrass production only with significant conversion subsidies. To examine potential environmental consequences of conversion, we investigate three stylized landscape usage scenarios, one with an entire conversion of a watershed to switchgrass production, a second with the entire watershed planted to continuous corn under a 50% removal rate of the biomass, and a third scenario that places switchgrass on the most erodible land in the watershed and places continuous corn on the least erodible. For each of these illustrative scenarios, the watershed-scale Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) hydrological model (Arnold et al., 1998; Arnold and Forher, 2005) is used to evaluate the effect of these landscape uses on sediment and nutrient loadings in the Maquoketa Watershed in eastern Iowa.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: adoption subsidy, cellulosic ethanol, energy crops, land use, SWAT, switchgrass, water quality
Subjects: Natural resources and environment > Energy resources
Business and industry > Economic development
Business and industry > Economic forecasts
Natural resources and environment > Energy resources > Alternative energy resources
ID Code: 5090
Deposited By: Margaret Barr
Deposited On: 06 Jun 2007
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2007
URI: http://publications.iowa.gov/id/eprint/5090

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