A major energy bill on the floor in Washington would require a dramatic expansion in the ethanol and bio diesel fuel supply.
Right now the United States produces about 5 billion gallons of ethanol per year. The bill would raise production to 30 billion gallons by 2020 and 60 billion gallons by 2030. The bill would also require major oil companies to ensure within 10 years that half of their gas stations would be able to pump gasoline containing 85 percent ethanol, also known as E-85.
Currently, there are two public E-85 fueling stations in Kentucky. One in downtown Louisville and one in Hopkinsville. As more cars are E-85 comparable the demand for ethanol plants is on the rise.
South Central Kentucky Ethanol in Logan County is in the first of 10 stages upon completion. The plant received more than $42,000 in grant money from The Governor's Office of Energy Policy.
If constructed, what impact would it have on you?
"It's going to be a big boost to the region; when you get more grain going in the market it will definitely be more competitive," Donald Dunn said.
Dunn is a USDA Farm Service Agency Chief Executive Director. He's responsible for all federal farm programs on the local level. Although he's not involved in the construction of the plant, Dunn said the benefits of an ethanol plant are good since corn prices are through the roof this year.
"Last year at this time corn prices were below $2; this year at times they've been at $4."
Dunn also said farmers have the right idea if legislation passes and if the ethanol plant is constructed they could be making big business for the area.
"For Kentucky it's another outlet for grain producers to sell their grain and as price goes up, of course, demand goes up," Dunn explained, which is exactly what Darrell Crawford is hoping.
Crawford is the project coordinator, although deployed overseas, and has outlined plans for a 30 million gallon per year production facility that would cost about $75 million and would provide jobs and significant economic boost to the region.
According to Dunn with farmer support and another year full of corn yields the plant could add a lot to Kentucky and could even decrease the price of gas per gallon for drivers.
Log onto www.skethanol.com to see the ten step plan for South Central Kentucky Ethanol.