The excitement surrounding the biofuels market opportunity has been tempered somewhat by its many challenges, which include ethical questions of food versus fuel, limited availability of inexpensive feedstocks, petroleum price volatility, overcapacity of production and the global recession. However, a two recent reports from both Pike Research and Bio Economic Research Associates forecast that, despite these significant challenges, the combined biodiesel and ethanol markets will reach $247 billion in sales by 2020, up from just $76 billion in 2010. Total job creation, accounting for economic multiplier effects, could reach 123,000 in 2012, 383,000 in 2016, and 807,000 by 2022.
The Obama administration announced $350 million in stimulus funds to help expand geothermal resources and break down technological barriers. This is a huge jump in funding, dwarfing all previous government commitments and is more than all the funding for geothermal energy put together over the last 20 years. It also represents a dramatic reversal of previous trends of diminishing funding for this often overlooked renewable energy sector.