I believe that North Carolina as as State can become energy independent in our own right, all the while solving a host of problems from the economic market, to the impending doom of our tobacco farmers and industry.
Over the next 20 to 30 years, renewable biofuels will naturally begin to grow in prominence in our fuels matrix, as “dying commodity” fossil fuels begin a slow exponential climb in costs over the next century. The Federal push for biofuels, while probably creating a bubble economy, will reduce the market entry barriers for enterprises seeking a part of this market. What is likely to follow is a 10 to 20 year “green bubble” following which only the most fit technologies survive.
As it happens, the current oil of choice for biofuels is corn, but corn is one of the worse oils for motors. One of the best oils for motors, is hemp oil. Hemp is currently illegal to produce in the United States because it would have interfered with the pulp market of a certain tree baron into paper in the 1930’s. Hemp is non-psychoactive, and has been used for 1000’s of years for food, fuel, and clothing. George Washington himself, as well as Thomas Jefferson, grew hemp as a cash crop.
As it happens, the perfect conditions for hemp production are identical to those for tobacco production, except that hemp may need fewer rotations in the soil.
I believe that as the market for tobacco withers, replace those fields with hemp for oil for biofuels production, bring in a company to process into fuel, and over time convert our tobacco industry into a hemp-oil based biofuel industry.
If it pays off, then NC Agriculture may well become wealth again, in a way that makes NC the nation’s next Saudi Arabia.
The best part is, it doesn’t have to be regulated into existence.
Revoke/claim 10th Amendment privilege over industrial hemp production, making it legal in NC to grow hemp. Hire a lobby org to entice a company to come in and start processing the hemp into oil, and a company to come in and start processing hemp oil, distilling the ethyl alcohol, and producing biofuel ready to pump into a fuel tank. Hire an Ag lobby to ask tobacco farmers to start diversifying, and growing hemp for oil to sell to the oil and fuel production companies.
Revoke 1 law and hire 2 lobbies is the end of government involvement. A Conservative energy plan for North Carolina, that may make us one of the most prosperous, and energy-secure states in the union over the next 40 years.