E. Willard Miller Professor of Economic Geography and Director, Environmental Inquiry Minor
The Pennsylvania State University
State and local policy discourse is a buzz with interest in getting in on the renewable energy boom. In biofuels, most state policy buzz sums up to infrastructure investment for the retail distribution of liquid fuels. While retail level access to new energy sources is important, the gains from biofuels can be much bigger if policy makers and private entrepreneurs can figure out how to lock on to and access the value chains associated with the technology and of the industry. There are many hurdles, some are financial, some are institutional and some are cultural. My talk describes the current policy environment and then pursues a line of inquiry focusing on questions about work force and business development, and the challenges to communities facing this era of energy-induced technological and institutional change.