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South Georgia Leads on Bioenergy

By: Sen. Tyler Harper (R - Ocilla)

Renewable biomass energy has become an important part of the agricultural and forestry landscape here in Georgia and has also developed into an economic engine in rural areas. Georgia’s 25 million acres of forestland makes it the number one state for commercial timberland in the U.S. This has translated into a booming biofuel industry. Our large tracts of rural land with abundant sunlight has also made the solar industry an increasing economic engine in rural Georgia. No other state in the country has made more progress in their quest for renewable energy and I am proud to say that Southeast Georgia is leading the way.

 

Georgia’s abundance of trees, agricultural products, and biomass byproduct give us a tremendous opportunity to increase the availability of renewable biomass resources in the U.S while helping Georgia’s economy and increasing jobs. We are ranked third in the U.S. for biofuel potential and our biofuel industry is projected to add $5 billion to our economy over the next decade. Biofuel plays a vital role for our economy and our environment. It also gives us the ability to have a reliable, renewable source of energy that is produced right here in South Georgia.

Biomass and fuel have also become one of Georgia’s most important exports. We are fortunate to have Georgia Biomass in Waycross, the world’s largest biomass wood pellet facility. They produce and export over 750,000 tons of wood pellets a year to Europe. The Port in Brunswick is expanding its capacity to meet the growing demand overseas for our biomass products.  This creates more jobs in our region and gives us access to international markets.

  

Agriculture remains the number one industry in our state and one of the primary driving forces in Georgia’s economy playing a vital role in producing cleaner, more reliable energy sources. Renewable biomass energy is not just important for a more reliable source of fuel, national security, and a cleaner environment, it means more economic growth and jobs in Georgia. As part of National Bioenergy Day, I believe it is important for Georgians to realize that renewable biomass energy is vital to our environment and our economy.