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Published: Tuesday, 12/15/2009

New report bodes well for Toledo area's technology

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

A new government report predicting energy use in the United States for the next quarter century has good news for northwest Ohio, showing large increases in the use of technologies such as solar energy and biofuels that were pioneered locally.

The Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration released a 25-year estimate Monday of how much and what types of energy will be consumed in the United States annually through 2035.

The estimate predicts a relatively modest increase in energy use over the period but says much of the increase will be met by alternative energy sources.

Overall, the report predicts a net 0.6 percent increase in electrical generating capacity per year through 2035, with renewable energy production growing more than twice as rapidly as other energy sources. It predicts dramatic growth in solar, wind, and biomass.

"Our projections show existing policies that stress energy efficiency and alternative fuels, together with higher energy prices, curb energy consumption growth, and shift the energy mix toward renewable fuels," Richard Newell, administrator of the agency, said.

On the automotive side, the report predicts a decrease in the use of traditional gasoline-powered internal combustion engines and a rise in the use of ethanol-based flexible fuels, gasoline-electric hybrids, and diesel engines.

It also predicts a per-barrel price of crude oil in 2035 at $133 in today's dollars. Crude was trading at about $70 yesterday.

RedLion Bio-Energy LLC, a Toledo start-up, this month received a $20 million grant from the Department of Energy to advance development of biodiesel fuels made from waste products, which burn cleaner than petroleum-based diesel fuels.

It was one of several pioneering companies that received grants to advance alternative energy research.

"There's no doubt that we definitely see a larger market for the renewables. Anything that can make us get off the OPEC gravy train is good for America," said Alex Johnson, Red Lion's president and co-founder.

The Blade's news services contributed to this report.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at:

lvellequette@theblade.com

or 419-724-6091.



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