Market News

 April 12, 2010
Bio-based Energy and Products Market Opportunities

 The Consulate General of Canada in Seattle has commissioned a comprehensive study of Bio-based Energy and Products Market Opportunities in the Pacific Northwest from Seattle-based EnviroIssues.

This study is replete with contact information and background details on the issues affecting the bio-energy marketplace in the United States generally and the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska in particular. Here are a few extracts from the 60-plus page report.


Bio-based energy and products are developing into an important part of the Pacific Northwest economy as demand for energy increases and non-renewable sources become scarcer. This market opportunities assessment was produced on behalf of the Consulate General of Canada in Seattle in order to assist Canadian companies interested in bio-based energy business opportunities in the western United States, specifically in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. This market assessment is a comprehensive guide for bioenergy, biofuels and bioproducts resources.

United States snapshot

Federal policy affects all potential bioenergy and biofuels markets across the United States. Some of the recent key policies relating to energy and renewable alternatives include the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 and the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

Additionally, there are various regulatory agencies at the federal level that influence bioenergy activities in the United States. Some of the key agencies include: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, whose mission is to protect human health and the environment, the U.S. Department of Energy, charged with ensuring energy security and promoting environmental responsibility and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who regulates the agricultural industry, including crops that may be grown for biofuels.

Washington snapshot

Of the four western states evaluated, the state of Washington emerged as the current leader in bioenergy activity. Washington has numerous policies promoting the use of alternative energy and various organizations, businesses and non-profits pursuing the development of this economy. Additionally, Washington has the potential to utilize considerable sources for biomass, including from its forestry and agriculture activities.

Oregon snapshot

The state of Oregon has the development of alternative energy as a priority, as reflected in recent policies. The public research institutions in Oregon have numerous programs to research and develop renewable resources, including programs at Oregon State University, Portland State University and the University of Oregon. With Oregon's vast coverage of forest, Oregon also has the opportunity to develop a renewable energy industry from woody biomass.

Idaho snapshot

Idaho appears to have less momentum in the bioenergy industry than Oregon and Washington, but this could be attributed to its smaller population. The Idaho Energy Plan of 2007 identifies developing in-state renewable resources as a priority for the state to reduce its dependency on out-of-state non-renewable resources. Similar to Oregon and Washington, Idaho has the opportunity to utilize biomass from its forestry industry. Additionally, agriculture and specifically dairy farms could provide a large amount of biomass to produce renewable energy.

Alaska snapshot

The state of Alaska provides a unique opportunity for the development of a biofuels economy. The cold climate of Alaska may create challenges not found in other states; however, the geography of small populations and the current high cost of energy may create beneficial opportunities for developing and testing bioenergy technologies. The fishing industry in Alaska provides a considerable opportunity for biodiesel production using fish waste and Alaska also has a large amount of forest land that could provide woody biomass to produce renewable energy.

The full study is available here