Powering the Country & REAP Announcement

Powering the Country & REAP Announcement

Powering the Country & REAP Announcement plus Food Forethought. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Northwest Report.

80% of the power needed by the whole country could be supplied by renewable energy sources by 2050 according to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. A very large part of that could come from wind and solar energy sources, which are sometimes criticized due to their unpredictable output. The NREL said 50% could be achieved using technologies already available today. Contribution by all 50 states is one of the keys to make it happen, with each state playing to its strengths. Additional there the issue of grid storage. A smarter power grid that can balance supply and demand from renewable energy sources is needed.

Yesterday, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA has selected projects nationwide for Rural Energy for America Program funding.

VILSACK: An additional 450 projects that we’ll be funding in 48 states and several territories, investing nearly $7.4 million dollars. This will continue the work of the REAP program in encouraging renewable energy projects and energy efficiency projects.

The announcement includes $412,304 in grant funding to 20 agricultural producers and rural businesses to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems. For example, in Washington State, Port Angles Hardwood, LLC., has been selected to receive a grant to study the feasibility of installing a woody biomass co-generation system.

Now with today’s Food Forethought, here’s Lacy Gray.

Pretty soon you may be able to have your cake and eat it’s package too. Edible packaging is the latest thing in the food technology revolution. Harvard’s Dr. David Edwards has been working on the development of WikiCells, an edible membrane that’s made from biodegradable polymers and food particles that imitates natural containers found in nature, such as the skins of fruits. Some of Edwards and his team of researchers creations consist of an “orange membrane” that is filled with orange juice, a tomato membrane that holds gazpacho soup, a grape-like membrane that holds wine, and my favorite - a chocolate membrane that contains hot chocolate. Edwards feels that flavor possibilities are endless. The environmental impact that such food technology could have in the areas of limiting waste and waste costs is enormous. Of course some type of conventional yet biodegradable wrapping will need to go around this new, edible wrapping to ensure food safety, but still edible wraps could greatly reduce the amount of conventional packaging that is required now. Who knows, in the not so distant future, you may be throwing that boxed baking mix into the mixer bowl pouch and all.

Thanks Lacy. That’s today’s Northwest Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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