San Fran No 1 Electric Vehicle City

ChargePoint_Infographic_EV_GrowthChargePoint has released a list of the top 10 friendliest metropolitan areas for EV drivers. The San Francisco Bay Area (including San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose) led the nation, followed by Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego and Honolulu. The company scored the cities based on the number of EVs on the road and the number of charging stations available on the their network as of December 31, 2014 while adjusting for population differences.

ChargePoint’s Top 10 EV-Friendly Metropolitan Areas:

  1. San Francisco Bay Area, CA
  2. Los Angeles, CA
  3. Seattle, WA
  4. San Diego, CA
  5. Honolulu, HI
  6. Austin, TX
  7. Detroit, MI
  8. Atlanta, GA
  9. Denver, CO
  10. Portland, OR

“Although the West Coast continues to lead the nation in EV friendliness, the fact that cities like Atlanta and Denver broke into the top 10 demonstrates that this is not regional trend, but that our nation is quickly transitioning from gas powered cars to EVs.” said ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano. “In cities across the country, it’s becoming easier than ever to drive an EV – and that’s good news for our industry and for our environment.”

Although Los Angeles leads the nation in terms of registered EVs (nearly 57,000), the San Francisco Bay Area takes top billing after accounting for population differences (more than 48,000 EVs). Austin fell to the number-six ranking after having held the number-four spot on the 2013 list; Washington, DC and Boston, MA fell from the ninth and tenth spots, respectively, while EV infrastructure growth and registrations propelled Atlanta and Denver into the top 10.

FPL to Power Miami ePrix

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) will be powering the electric vehicles (EVs) racing for first place with solar power. The inaugural event will take place in downtown Miami on March 14, 2015. Formula E is a new FIA single-seater championship and the first fully-electric race car series. It kicked off in Bejing last September and ends this June featuring 10 teams, each with two drivers, racing on city streets. The racing series was developed to showcase R&D and excitement around EVs and the Miami ePrix marks the first U.S. appearance of the series.

“Our partnership with Formula E and the Miami ePrix is another example of our commitment to advancing zero-emissions solar energy and the use of electric vehicles in Florida,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “By the end of 2016 we Formula E racing series in Buenos Aireswill triple the energy we are able to produce from the sun, furthering our mission to provide low-cost, reliable and clean energy to our 4.7 million customers.”

“It’s an honor for us to have been selected as one of the 10 founding Formula E teams for the inaugural season,” said Michael Andretti, chairman and CEO of Andretti Sports Marketing who participated in the announcement. “I look forward to bringing this exciting series to North America and joining an impressive field of competitors at the upcoming race in Miami.”

During the announcement, electric race cars were charged with power generated from the Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, one of three solar power plants operated by FPL. Earlier this year, FPL announced plans to install more than 1 million solar panels at three additional solar power plants by the end of 2016. When combined with other community projects, FPL will triple its solar capacity, which currently totals approximately 110 megawatts.

“The Formula E Miami ePrix is all about sharing our passion for electric vehicles,” added Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings. “The race series is exciting, it’s entertaining, and we hope it will turn the world’s attention to the potential electric vehicles have to change the way we power transportation. We are pleased to partner with FPL – a company that shares our vision for powering the future with affordable, clean energy.”

Solar Plant Opens in Northern Cape Province

Abengoa and state-owned financier, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), together with KaXu Community Trust have launched a 100 MW solar plant – KaXu Solar One – near the town of Pofadder (Northern Cape Province). The new solar facility will power 80,000 homes in South Africa. The Department of Energy of South Africa awarded Abengoa the project. The power will be sold to the utility Eskom under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Representatives of the South African government, IDC and Abengoa during the grand opening of Kaxu Solar One.

Representatives of the South African government, IDC and Abengoa during the grand opening of Kaxu Solar One.

Minister of Economic Development, Mr Ebrahim Patel, officially inaugurated the solar power plant. He was accompanied by Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr. Bulelani Magwanishe, Premier of the Northern Cape, Silvia Lucas, executives of Abengoa and IDC and representatives of the local community.

Manuel Sanchez Ortega, Vice President and CEO of Abengoa, said of the project, “We are proud of the role we are playing to help South Africa meet its ongoing energy demands. This project will leave a legacy that will benefit the community of Pofadder, Northern Cape and the entire country. This would not have been possible without the leadership of the South African Department of Energy.”

KaXu Solar One, the first Solar Thermal Electricity (STE) power plant in South Africa, incorporates a storage system that enables production of 100 MW for 2.5 hours after sunset or before dawn. The project will result in approximately USD 891 million direct and indirect investment inflows to South Africa, generate approximately USD 516 million in taxes over the next 20 years.

Fadiel Farao, the Chairperson of the KaXu Community Trust, said KaXu Solar One will be a catalyst for economic development in the Khai Ma municipality in the Northern Cape. “The project has stimulated the local economy and will go a long way toward helping to generate much-needed economic opportunities for people in this area.” KaXu Community Trust is comprised of members of the local community.

Abengoa is building in the region Khi Solar One, a 50MW solar plant using tower technology and has already started the construction of a third project, Xina Solar One, a 100 MW parabolic trough plant. Xina Solar One will shape with KaXu Solar One the largest solar platform in sub-Saharan Africa.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/RBI Solar has supplied the racking for the 11.18MW-dc Kinsley Solar Farm in Deptford, New Jersey. The solar farm is part of Public Service Electric and Gas Company’s Solar 4 All program and covers 32 acres of the closed Kinsley Landfill. Conti Enterprise was the EPC for this landfill project. RBI’s in-house team of engineers worked with Conti to custom design a non-penetrating landfill racking solution that not only meets the wind and snow loading but also matched the financial requirements of the project.
  • Vivint Solar has broken ground on the construction of a 163,000 square foot corporate headquarters in Lehi, Utah. The company currently employs nearly 1,000 Utah residents – approaching 3,000 nationwide.
  • Over seventy percent of active individual investors (71%) describe themselves as interested in sustainable investing, and nearly two in three (65%) believe sustainable investing will become more prevalent over the next five years, according to a new survey published today by the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing. The new Sustainable Signals report examines the attitudes and perceptions of individual investors towards sustainable investing and considers the broader implications for investors, corporations and governments.
  • India’s clean coal capacity is expected to increase by approximately 103 Gigawatts (GW) between 2016 and 2025, as the country seeks to meet its electricity demand, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. The company’s report states that while India’s clean coal installations are in the nascent stages, many recent ultra-mega power projects have adopted supercritical (SC) technology, while future SC and ultra-supercritical installations will drive capacity additions over the forecast period.

Researchers Get Grant to Purify Biodiesel By-Product

saskatchewanulogoCanadian biodiesel producers might soon have a purer by-product from their refining operations. The University of Saskatchewan announced it has received a $500,000+ government grant to purify and convert raw glycerol more cost-effectively.

With this funding, researchers at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), led by Canada Research Chair in Bioenergy and Environmentally Friendly Chemical Processing and Professor of Chemical Engineering, Ajay Dalai, will be able to purchase highly-specialized equipment for the development and commercialization of new, more efficient and affordable glycerol purification and conversion technologies.

While raw glycerol has limited commercial value, the U of S’ purification technology could double the price that companies can charge for the substance, in turn adding more value to biodiesel production.

“Our Government is pleased to support this collaborative project between industry and University of Saskatchewan,” said The Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. “Providing innovative technologies that will help increase the productivity and competitiveness of the biofuel and biochemical sectors in Western Canada.”

University officials say they plan to develop and file three patents: one for the purification technology, and two for the conversion technologies. A Saskatchewan start-up company is expected to manufacture all three technologies for commercial use, and subsequently market them.

Vilsack Stresses RFS Support at #Classic15

classic15-vilsack-1Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke to over 7000 agricultural producers and industry members during his 6th appearance at Commodity Classic on Friday. Sec. Vilsack began by stating that he “was in the presence of greatness” and went on to thank farmers for all that they do on a daily basis. He also thanked farmers for their work on the Farm Bill when it came to grassroots support and involvement in motivating legislation.

Among the many issues Vilsack addressed was the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “There are a multitude of positives about this industry,” said Vilsack, who addressed members of Growth Energy on Thursday. “I’m going to educate my friends at EPA about the importance of this industry.”

classic15-vilsack-rfaThe secretary was applauded when he spoke adamantly in support of biofuels. “There’s a good news story here,” he said. “There’s an opportunity to tell America this is a good, solid industry.”

Strolling through Commodity Classic trade show after his address, Secretary Vilsack stopped by a few booths, including the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) where he picked up a couple of E15 VW bug stress balls for his grandchildren.

Listen to Secretary Vilsack’s complete remarks about biofuels here: Vilsack Addresses Commodity Classic - Biofuels Comments

2015 Commodity Classic Photo Album

Coverage of Commodity Classic sponsored by
Coverage of Commodity Classic sponsored by BASF Coverage of Commodity Classic sponsored by New Holland Coverage of Commodity Classic sponsored by Propane Education and Research Council

Growth Energy Holds 6th Leadership Conference

growth-energy-logoGrowth Energy held its sixth annual Executive Leadership Conference last week in Phoenix, featuring appearances by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative Darci Vetter.

Growth Energy Board of Directors co-chair Jeff Broin delivered a “Chairman’s Report” outlining the current state of the renewable fuels industry and how this year is all about “moving ahead and moving faster” to bring clean, homegrown fuels to the American consumer. Broin noted how 2014 was a historic year for our industry, stating that producers have been selling a “clean, green, high octane, homegrown product at a huge discount.”

In his report to the leadership, CEO Tom Buis highlighted the accomplishments of the industry this past year. Buis stated, “We have always faced challenges, that’s life, but we focused on growing demand for our product. We have doubled the number of retailers offering E15 this past year, it’s only a matter of time before 2015 becomes the year of E15.” He explained that E15 is the “low hanging fruit” we have to promote and get into the marketplace.

“We all know that this is a battle – one over market share, and one that will not be accomplished overnight,” Buis concluded. “The facts are on our side and regardless of the challenges; we are going to win this fight.”

Propane Group Promotes Low Cost at Work Truck Show

PERCThe low cost to run work vehicles on propane will be on display at this week’s NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) will be there to show fleet managers why propane autogas is a great savings on fuel costs.

“Propane autogas is unique in that it offers a strong ROI for fleets and a low total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the vehicle,” said Tucker Perkins, PERC chief business development officer. “When fleet managers consider maintenance, fuel costs, and uptime on our growing portfolio of medium-duty vehicles, they understand why fleets like UPS and DISH have made a switch from gasoline and diesel to a clean alternative fuel like propane autogas.”

Propane autogas’ advantages have prompted PERC to continue investing in the commercialization of medium- and heavy-duty equipment options with leading manufacturers. During the show, PERC is co-hosting two press announcements that highlight two new technologies:

– Blossman Services, Inc., will make a customer announcement about its Ford Transit conversion package on Wednesday, March 4, at 2 p.m. in the PERC booth, 5585.

– Roush CleanTech will make an announcement in its booth, 5103, on Wednesday, March 4 at at 2:35 p.m.

PERC will also host a breakout session, titled “Fueling a Competitive Edge: New Propane Autogas Technology & Offerings”, on March 4 from 4:30-5:15 p.m. Attendees can learn about new propane autogas technologies and offerings for medium-duty vehicles, including a diesel substitution system. Presenters include Ron Anders of FCCC, Ed Hoffman of Blossman Services, Inc., Todd Mouw of Roush CleanTech, and Tucker Perkins of PERC.

Check out PERC’s space at the show, booth #5585.

Syngenta Ups Ethanol Output, Growers’ Profits

syngenta1Agribusiness company Syngenta is working with ethanol producers to have a variety of corn that produces more ethanol at the refinery and makes more profit for the feedstock growers. The company says that growers of its Enogen variety of corn, specifically engineered to increase ethanol production, will receive some more incentives to grow the grain.

According to Chris Tingle, head of Enogen and Water Solutions for Syngenta, ethanol plants are increasingly seeking not just clean, dry corn with little or no damage or foreign material, but also grain with quality characteristics that can help maximize ethanol production.

“A growing demand for high-quality feedstock is creating opportunities for growers to increase their income per acre,” Tingle said. “By supplying the quality grain that ethanol plants want all year long, growers can maximize profitability, while helping to support the ethanol industry.”

Syngenta designed the Ethanol Grain Quality Solution specifically for growers who plant Enogen®, Golden Harvest® and NK® Corn hybrids. Its goals are to raise yields and drive grain quality through effective insect control, early-season weed management, glyphosate weed-resistance management, and Crop Enhancement (the Syngenta global business focused on minimizing the effects of nonliving factors, such as heat, wind and rain, on plants). The Ethanol Grain Quality Solution provides the ethanol plant and its growers more high-quality grain, while improving return on investment.

“Growers with an Enogen contract can receive an additional 10 cents per bushel premium above the current Enogen contract premium by following agronomic protocols outlined in the Ethanol Grain Quality Solution,” Tingle said. “Plus, growers who have purchased Golden Harvest or NK Corn can receive 10 cents more per bushel for any additional bushels of corn produced under the Ethanol Grain Quality Solution protocol, provided those bushels are delivered to the ethanol plant.”

Ethanol producers say Syngenta’s Ethanol Grain Quality Solution is providing a better ethanol feedstock for their plants, and since the farmers get the premium for growing Enogen, they are also able to achieve higher yields because they can afford some of the inputs that maximize production.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/Vivint Solar has announced that its Solmetric team will be fully integrated into the Vivint Solar operating structure and be known as Vivint Solar Labs. The new research and development team will focus on proprietary photovoltaic installation instruments and software.
  • Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) reported today that SunPower solar power systems at 16 schools are expected to significantly reduce the district’s annual electricity costs over the next 25 years or more. SunPower is bringing the math and science behind the solar technology into the classroom in the form of curriculum that helps prepare students for careers in the clean energy economy. SunPower installed 3.6 megawatts of systems at the 16 schools, using SunPower solar panels installed on building rooftops as well as solar carports in school parking lots.
  • The development of a policy that will help address barriers hindering participation of women in energy access in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region is underway. The policy is being developed together with a strategy that will guide its implementation across the countries. The process was launched during a workshop that was held on Tuesday, February 24 at the African Development Bank (AfDB) headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Byogy Renewables, a biofuels producer based in San Jose, California, has executed a strategic partnership agreement with Gen 2 Energy, an alternative energy company from Ames, Iowa, to develop a more cost-effective biofuel production process. New yeast strains developed by Gen 2 Energy, Iowa State University and the USDA, improve the alcohol yield of conventional fermentation from a variety of feedstocks – including agave, a monster energy crop being deployed as part of the Byogy value chain.

Rwanda’s Prez Paul Kagame Calls for Clean Energy

The 140 MW Oklaria 1 geothermal plant was recently commissioned in Naivasha, Kenya and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame was on hand for the event. He is advocating for more invest14131-President-Paul-Kagamement in renewable energy as Africa struggles with lack of electricity, and said this is a must for the country, and for Africa, to see an economic transformation.

“European countries are producing more electricity than Africa… what are they doing with their electricity that we can’t do?” asked Kagame. “This project that has been opened to start producing electricity is important not only to Kenya, but to Rwanda and East Africa,” Kagame said referring to the Oklaria 1 geothermal facility.

Kagame said it’s time Africa began a debate to address energy challenges on the continent and suggested governments to engage the private sector. “The debate is about having sufficient electricity to power industry, school, homes and the whole economy as it should be… we need to have a conversation between government and business,” he said.

HE-in-alkaria-geothermal-plantHe stressed that this needs to be an open dialogue, not one entity dictating to another about what should happen.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta agrees with Kagame’s call to action on reliable electricity as a foundation for economic growth and stability. “I am proud to be associated with President Kagame and others who have demonstrated willingness to the progress of our region.”

Early this year, Rwanda signed an agreement with Kenya to import 30MW as part of adding up to 70MW to be connected to the national grid this year. Infrastructure Minister, James Musoni, said the electricity will be connected to the national grid by October 2015. Rwanda’s current power generation capacity is 160MW. The country targets to have 563MW by 2018.

Rail Issues Panel at #NEC15

nec15-rail-panelThe last but certainly not least panel at the 2015 National Ethanol Conference dealt with the timely issue of rail transportation and how safety and congestion are impacting the marketplace.

Renewable Fuels Association Director of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis moderated the panel which featured Dana Lewis with Redfield Energy, Todd Tranausky with Argus Media, and Rail Supply Institute president Tom Simpson.

Davis told those gathered for the session that railroad are critical for the ethanol industry, moving 70 percent of all ethanol to its customers. It’s also a safe way to ship the renewable fuel, with 99.94 percent arriving to their destinations safely. But if rail cars aren’t available, there are consequences for the entire industry.

Lewis said her South Dakota-based company was one of those who felt those consequences of not having returning rail cars. That served as an unwelcome driver for Redfield, ultimately deciding how much ethanol they could produce because of the shipping issues, cutting into the company’s income and not being able to sell ethanol ahead of time because they couldn’t rely on being able to ship the green fuel. Adding insult to injury, many rail cars were siphoned off to the non-renewable petroleum industry in neighboring North Dakota. “Ethanol producers were further down the totem pole.”

Tranausky said that ethanol seems to be treated as a second class citizen when compared to other commodities, including oil. Ethanol-loaded cars wait longer and are relegated to older tankers that might not hold the volume that would keep more ethanol in the supply chain. Simpson explained that the rail industry has issues of its own, with a backlog of freight cars equivalent to nearly 10 percent of the fleet and more awaiting safety re-certifications.

Listen to the entire panel session here: NEC15 Rail Transportation Panel

2015 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

USDA Gives Biomass Energy Development $8.7 Mil Boost

usda-logoUp to $8.7 million in federal funding is being made available for next-generation bioenergy development in biomass. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is funding the bioenergy research and education efforts and will be publishing the final rule for a program that provides incentives for farmers and forest landowners interested in growing and harvesting biomass for renewable energy.

“USDA’s support for innovative bioenergy research and education supports rural economic development, reduces carbon pollution and helps decrease our dependence on foreign energy,” said [Agriculture Secretary Tom] Vilsack. “These investments will keep America moving toward a clean energy economy and offer new jobs and opportunities in rural communities.”

USDA will publish the final rule on the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) in tomorrow’s Federal Register. BCAP provides up to $25 million each year in financial assistance to owners and operators of agricultural and non-industrial private forest land who wish to establish, produce, and deliver biomass feedstocks to a qualifying energy facility. The rule includes modifications to cost sharing, eligible types of biomass and other definitions. Stakeholders are encouraged to visit www.regulations.gov to review program details and provide comments during a 60-day public comment period. Comments are due by April 28, 2015. The full program will resume in 90 days on May 28, 2015. Additional information on application dates will be announced this spring. For more information on the program, visit the web at www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap.

USDA is also looking for applications for research and education grants through the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI), a joint program through NIFA and the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) to develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass, increase the availability of renewable fuels and biobased products to help replace the need for gasoline and diesel in vehicles, and diversify our energy portfolio.

Biofuels and Ag Groups Protest Anti-RFS Bill

mess-rfs U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) today introduced legislation that would abolish the corn ethanol mandate in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), with Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) as a co-sponsor. The move was immediately criticized by both ethanol and agricultural organizations.

“Senators Feinstein and Toomey continue to operate under the misguided assumption that the RFS is driving food prices higher” said Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president Bob Dinneen. “It is not. Corn is less expensive today than when the RFS was passed! As the World Bank recently concluded, ‘most of the contribution to food price changes from 1997-2004 and 2005-2012 comes from the price of oil.’”

“Just like their previous failed attempt, this legislation is incredibly shortsighted,” said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. “Nearly identical legislation has been introduced in the past and has always failed to gain any traction since a majority of senators understand the importance of homegrown, American renewable fuels. This bill would eviscerate the RFS – the most successful energy policy enacted in the last 40 years.”

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson says the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act would “cripple rural America’s economy and be an enormous step backwards for America’s goal of energy independence by a decade or more.”

National Corn Growers Association
board member Keith Alverson of South Dakota added that Congress should not turn its back on success with renewable fuels. “The Renewable Fuel Standard is working,” said Alverson. “With a second consecutive record crop, there is more than enough corn to meet all demands for food, fuel, feed, and fiber. Corn farmers have more than met our commitment on the RFS. There are many good reasons to continue this policy, and we look forward to working with Congress to support it.”

Fuels America held a telephone press conference to discuss the legislation on Thursday with Dinneen, Alverson, POET’s Jeff Lautt, BIO’s Brent Erickson, and Advanced Ethanol Council’s Brooke Coleman. Listen or download here: Fuels America press conference on Toomey-Feinstein bill

Mycogen Seeds Joins Growth Energy

growth-energy-logoMycogen Seeds, the national retail seed company of Dow AgroSciences, has joined Growth Energy as a premiere associate member.

“We applaud Mycogen Seeds for recognizing the role ethanol plays in strengthening American agriculture and for supporting our nation’s homegrown food, feed and fuel solution,” said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. “Ethanol is fueling our future by creating jobs, improving the environment and increasing our nation’s energy independence, while also providing consumers with a choice and savings at the pump. We look forward to collaborating with Mycogen Seeds, a leader in seed innovation.”

mycogen-seeds-logoDamon Palmer, marketing director for Dow AgroSciences’ U.S. seed business, commended the partnership. “Our support of Growth Energy will help promote the importance of a strong ethanol industry for U.S. farmers. It’s about partnering with others in the Agriculture industry to develop markets for today and the future.

Mycogen Seeds’ partnership with Growth Energy supports ethanol as a market option vital to corn growers throughout the U.S.