Ethanol Approaching $5 Billion Industry in Minnesota

Governor Tim Pawlenty's plan to promote alternative energy, steer the United States away from foreign oil, and modernize the Great Lakes economy is taking hold in Minnesota. And it's beggining to demonstrate some impressive results.

The ethanol industry is projected to do $5 billion in business in 2008, according to a report in today's West Central Tribune. The industry also could generate approximately 18,400 jobs for rural minnesotans.

“For a long time, people weren’t seeing the results” from the state’s investment in ethanol," Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson told the Tribune.

In 2007, 16 ethanol plants consumed 15 percent of the state's corn production to produce 550 million gallons of fuel. The estimated economic impact was $2.77 billion and more 10,300 jobs.

Five new or expanded plants are expected to add to production in 2008, pushing the state's estimated ethanol capacity to more than 1 billion gallons.