National Academies Press: OpenBook

Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use (2010)

Chapter:Appendix E: Supplemental Information on Land-Use Externalities from Biofuels: A Case Study of the Boone River Watershed

« Previous: Appendix D: Description of GREET and Mobile6 Models and Their Applications
Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Supplemental Information on Land-Use Externalities from Biofuels: A Case Study of the Boone River Watershed." National Research Council. 2010. Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12794.
×

E
Supplemental Information on Land-Use Externalities from Biofuels: A Case Study of the Boone River Watershed

The committee uses the erosion productivity impact calculator (EPIC) model in conjunction with detailed field-level data for the Boone River Watershed to evaluate a number of “scenarios” where each scenario is associated with a different possible land use constituting different crops grown and different management practices on the land. To begin, a baseline land use corresponding to the 2005 cropping pattern and land management is developed, and an estimate of the externalities associated with the baseline is made. Then, various alternative land uses are proposed and evaluated using EPIC to predict the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous, sediments exported from each field as well as the amount of carbon sequestered. These levels can be aggregated to the watershed level and compared with the baseline. We also compute the amount of biofuels that the new land use can produce so that the externalities can be considered relative to the amount of acreage used to grow the feedstock or to the amount of fuel produced or both. Finally, using values from the literature, we monetize the externality end points.

The land-use conditions we evaluate include a baseline that represents 2005 cropping patterns and land use and the following counterfactual scenarios:

  1. Continuous corn: The existing corn acreage that rotates with soybeans is converted to continuous corn—a change to about 90% of the acreage. As there is very little Conservation Reserve Program land or idle land in this watershed, this change is the main way in which planting decisions in this watershed can respond to increased demand for corn usage via ethanol.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Supplemental Information on Land-Use Externalities from Biofuels: A Case Study of the Boone River Watershed." National Research Council. 2010. Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12794.
×
  1. Corn stover: The stover is removed from the baseline acreage and used to produce ethanol. We consider three possible rates of removal: 50%, 80%, and 100%.

  2. Continuous corn and corn stover: This scenario is a combination of the first two; all corn and soybean rotations are changed to continuous corn, and then stover removals of 50%, 80%, and 100% are simulated.

  3. Switchgrass: Switchgrass acreage is randomly placed on the baseline acreage from the baseline in percentages of 25%, 50%, 75% and, on the complete watershed, 100%. A nitrogen fertilizer rate of 123 kg/ha was simulated for the switchgrass, a rate consistent with optimal rates reported by Vogel et al. (2002) and Heggenstaller et al. (2009) for Iowa switchgrass biofuel production.

Our analysis draws heavily from the model and data sources developed by Gassman (2008), and we refer the interested reader to that document for substantially greater details on the data sources, collection methods, and assumptions. Here, we outline the basics of the model and summarize the externality estimates from the model. The Boone River Watershed covers over 500,000 acres in north central Iowa. Figure E-1 shows its location along with the Upper Mississippi River Basin and the state. The watershed is dominated by corn and soybean production, which together account for nearly 90% of its land use. The watershed is also characterized by intensive livestock production; land-applied manure from these livestock operations and commercial fertilizer applications are the primary sources of nutrients to the watershed stream system. However, manure applications were not accounted for in these simulations.

A key source of land-use data for the Boone simulations is a field-level survey of cropping patterns and conservation practices undertaken by C. Kiepe, formerly with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, who visually inspected all the fields (common land units) in the Boone watershed during the spring of 2005. These highly detailed spatially explicit data provide the basic information to populate the EPIC model. Table E-1 summarizes the cropping pattern observed: The region is almost entirely in a 1-year rotation of corn and soybeans. A few acres are in continuous corn or pasture, and a few are enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program and are planted in a perennial cover. Additional data sources include soils information from the Soil Survey Geographic Database and the Iowa Soil Properties and Interpretations Database, climate data from NOAA and the Iowa Environmental Mesonet, topographic information from the Iowa Digital Elevation Model, and livestock operations from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Extensive additional details on these and other data sources used to populate the model can be found in Gassman (2008).

Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Supplemental Information on Land-Use Externalities from Biofuels: A Case Study of the Boone River Watershed." National Research Council. 2010. Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12794.
×
FIGURE E-1 The Boone River Watershed.

FIGURE E-1 The Boone River Watershed.

TABLE E-1 Boone River Watershed Baseline Cropping Pattern

 

Acres

Percent of Watershed

Corn-soybean rotation

474,000

89

Continuous corn rotation

21,000

4

Pasture

16,000

3

Conservation Reserve Program

13,000

2

Other (mixture of other rotations and alfalfa)

9

<1

Total

533,000

100

Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Supplemental Information on Land-Use Externalities from Biofuels: A Case Study of the Boone River Watershed." National Research Council. 2010. Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12794.
×

REFERENCES

Gassman, P.W. 2008. A Simulation Assessment of the Boone River Watershed: Baseline Calibration/Validation Results and Issues, and Future Research Needs. Ph.D. Thesis, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.

Heggenstaller, A.H., K.J. Moore, M. Liebman, and R.P. Anex. 2009. Nitrogen influences productivity and resource partitioning by perennial, warm-season grasses. Agron. J. 101(6):1363-1371.

Vogel, K.P., J.J. Brejda, D.T. Walters, and D.R. Buxton. 2002. Switchgrass biomass production in the Midwest USA: Harvest and nitrogen management. Agron. J. 94(3):413-420.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Supplemental Information on Land-Use Externalities from Biofuels: A Case Study of the Boone River Watershed." National Research Council. 2010. Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12794.
×

This page intentionally left blank.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Supplemental Information on Land-Use Externalities from Biofuels: A Case Study of the Boone River Watershed." National Research Council. 2010. Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12794.
×
Page470
Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Supplemental Information on Land-Use Externalities from Biofuels: A Case Study of the Boone River Watershed." National Research Council. 2010. Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12794.
×
Page471
Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Supplemental Information on Land-Use Externalities from Biofuels: A Case Study of the Boone River Watershed." National Research Council. 2010. Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12794.
×
Page472
Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Supplemental Information on Land-Use Externalities from Biofuels: A Case Study of the Boone River Watershed." National Research Council. 2010. Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12794.
×
Page473
Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Supplemental Information on Land-Use Externalities from Biofuels: A Case Study of the Boone River Watershed." National Research Council. 2010. Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12794.
×
Page474
Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $64.00 Buy Ebook | $49.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Despite the many benefits of energy, most of which are reflected in energy market prices, the production, distribution, and use of energy causes negative effects. Many of these negative effects are not reflected in energy market prices. When market failures like this occur, there may be a case for government interventions in the form of regulations, taxes, fees, tradable permits, or other instruments that will motivate recognition of these external or hidden costs.

The Hidden Costs of Energy defines and evaluates key external costs and benefits that are associated with the production, distribution, and use of energy, but are not reflected in market prices. The damage estimates presented are substantial and reflect damages from air pollution associated with electricity generation, motor vehicle transportation, and heat generation. The book also considers other effects not quantified in dollar amounts, such as damages from climate change, effects of some air pollutants such as mercury, and risks to national security.

While not a comprehensive guide to policy, this analysis indicates that major initiatives to further reduce other emissions, improve energy efficiency, or shift to a cleaner electricity generating mix could substantially reduce the damages of external effects. A first step in minimizing the adverse consequences of new energy technologies is to better understand these external effects and damages. The Hidden Costs of Energy will therefore be a vital informational tool for government policy makers, scientists, and economists in even the earliest stages of research and development on energy technologies.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!