About 15 members of the national 25X25 steering committee spent time in Erath County last week touring Microgy’s Huckabay Ridge project.

The group, which met in Waco before touring the facility, was formed as part of an effort aimed at having America’s farms, forests and ranches provide 25 percent of total energy consumed in the United States by 2025.

“Microgy’s Huckabay Ridge project holds great potential to help the area’s dairy farmers manage their wastes and resolve the dairy-related water pollution problems in the area," said Travis Brown, renewable energy specialist with the Office of Rural Community Affairs and co-chair of the Texas 25x '25 Alliance.

"In fact, this project soon will be taking the manure from 10,000 cows in the area and producing biogas that, when converted to electricity, can power 10,000 homes."

In conjunction with the tour, during its Waco meeting, the national 25X25 national steering committee released a new study indicating Texas could lead the national in "the production of renewable energy under the goal of getting 25 percent of our energy from renewable energy sources by 2025," Brown said.

"We're already number one in wind power, and with just a bit of forward-thinking state leadership, our solar, biofuels and biomass industries will soon join wind power in helping meet the state's energy demands," said Russel Smith, executive director of the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association and a member of the state alliance, in a press release.

"Agriculture in Texas is waking up to the tremendous opportunities renewable energy offers," said Gary McGehee, state director for the Texas Farm Bureau and another alliance member. "Our farmers and ranchers can realize new revenues streams from renewable energy and also help make the nation less dependent on imported energy."

DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at doug.myers@empiretribune.com or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.