Kyocera Celebrates Tailand Solar Farm Completion

SPCG Public Company Limited and Kyocera Corporation have begun full operational launch of one of Southeast Asia’s largest solar power projects. Since 2010, 35 “solar farms” totaling approximately 257 megawatts (MW) have been constructed under the project, and connected to the utility grid in Northeastern Thailand. A ceremony held earlier this month in Surin Province commemorated the launch of the installations.

The project has an annual power output of approximately 345,000,000kWh — equal to the annual electrical consumption of approximately 287,500 Thai households. The power generated from the solar farms will be supplied to the Provincial Electricity Authority of Thailand (PEA).

7.46MW Solar Power Plant in Korat Thailand 2 Photo-Kyocera“Drawing from our four decades of experience in the solar industry, Kyocera has delivered high-quality solar modules which will generate clean, renewable energy for many years to come,” said Mr. Nobuo Kitamura, Senior Executive Officer and General Manager of the Corporate Solar Energy Group at Kyocera Corporation. “Kyocera is honored to have taken part in this project, which we believe is an important milestone for the development of solar energy in Thailand.”

Kyocera notes that Thailand’s rapidly expanding economy has brought rising concerns regarding the national power supply in recent years, alongside growing awareness of the need to reduce dependence on gas imports. In order to diversify its energy portfolio, a feed-in-tariff system for renewable energy sources was adopted in 2007. In response to the resulting strong demand for renewable energy, SPCG began the solar farm project in 2009 to construct and operate multiple solar power plants in Thailand. Kyocera was chosen to supply the necessary solar modules, totaling approximately 1,100,000 panels for all sites. The 35th solar farm was completed and connected to the utility grid in June 2014.

Wandee Khunchornyakong, CEO of SPCG Public Company Limited said of the project, “SPCG is very proud to be a pioneer of solar farm development in Thailand and the ASEAN community. SPCG is confident that our success will be an aid to future generations,” said “We are highly honored to be able to achieve this together with Kyocera, our long-term partner, with whom we shared the same philosophy, vision, and determination to develop one of the best solar projects in the world.”

The companies hope that the newly launched solar farms will reinforce the region’s power supply. They remain committed to promoting solar energy as a means to attain a low-carbon society.

Green Charge Networks Closes $56M Capital Raise

Green Charge Networks has closed a $56 million capital raise. K Road DG is providing funding and strategic management services to the company to enable them to accelerate deployment of GreenStation, under Green Charge’s Power Efficiency Agreement (PEASM). According to the company, the funding round is the largest amount of capital raised by any company in the intelligent energy storage space.

Green Charge offers an energy storage product that they say is proven to reduce power demand charges for commercial and industrial customers on their monthly utility bills. Green Charge’s GreenStation has been successfully installed by 7-Eleven, Walgreens, UPS, school campuses, and cities across New York and California. Now with the PEASM, Green Charge will own and operate energy storage assets deployed at customer sites, while providing the customer with a powerful combination of utility bill savings, zero capital and maintenance costs, and mitigated performance risk.

Green Charge Networks logo“Power efficiency is the next frontier in energy savings,” said Vic Shao, CEO at Green Charge. “We plan to leverage the alliance and financing from K Road DG to scale our company’s deployments and continue our customer-centric innovations.”

Green Charge Network explains that similar to a solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), the PEASM shifts the performance burden onto Green Charge as the asset owner instead of the customer. This type of financing model was key to spreading distributed solar around the globe, but has not been available in the energy storage market until now. This financing allows Green Charge to serve the broadest cross-section of the market.

“We are excited to enter into this strategic alliance and to provide growth capital that will drive deployment of Green Charge’s innovative technology to C&I customers on a commercial scale,” added William Kriegel, CEO of K Road DG. “K Road DG believes that Green Charge’s technology solutions respond directly to a global demand for intelligent energy storage.”

Market research firm IHS predicts that the energy storage market is expected to grow to an annual installation rate of over 40 GW by 2022 — from only 0.34 GW in 2012 and 2013.

NRDC Report Guides Buying Sustainable Biofuels

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) looks at how federal agencies and other large commercial customers can buy sustainably produced biofuels and avoid those linked to things such as defined by NRDC as major deforestation, destroyed wildlife habitat and fouled waterways.

NRDC Sustainable Biofuels Fact SheetThe report “Biofuel Sustainability Performance Guidelines,” was commissioned by NRDC and authored by LMI as was written in response to large fuel consumers begin to pivot toward more plant-based fuel options to boost their “green” credentials and sustainability efforts while reducing their use of fossil fuels. The report is intended to help guide fuel buyers such as federal, state and municipal bulk fuel procurement officers, contractors and suppliers, and corporate sustainability officers.

“Biofuels can be a clean alternative to dirty fossil fuels, but they’re not all created equal,” said Brian Siu, senior energy policy analyst at NRDC. “Some biofuels are produced in ways that endanger precious land, wildlife and the environment. As the U.S. government and large business expand their use of biofuels, they should ensure they come from sustainable sources, and relying on the best certification systems can help them make these smart choices.”

According to NRDC, many large fuel buyers are beginning to understand the risks of poorly sourced biofuels, but are unable to determine whether their biofuels are produced sustainably. Third-party certification systems can provide this service, but vary significantly in stringency and protectiveness. The non-profit said a sound certification system should check each stage for impacts on water quality, soil, biodiversity, air quality, land use, and waste. It also should check for the social impacts on economic issues, human rights, food security, and workforce safety.

Study lead Jeremey Alcorn, senior consultant with LMI, said of the report, “NRDC offered LMI an exciting opportunity to apply our practical analytical experience to analyze established and emerging biomaterial and biofuel sustainability certification standards, and we believe that this report will fill a critical need by informing bulk biofuel procurements and enabling a better understanding of the utility of different certification programs in achieving enhanced sustainability performance.”

To help stakeholders, NRDC’s report examined seven leading programs that certify biofuel production practices for sustainability. The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials ranked best. RSB ranked best for helping to ensure economic, environmental and social sustainability of biofuels production practices in places such as the United States, Indonesia, South America and Asia.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFPacific Ethanol has announced it was awarded a $3 million matching grant from the California Energy Commission to develop a sorghum feedstock program collaboratively with Chromatin, Inc., CSU Fresno’s Center for Irrigation Technology and the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center. This undertaking also includes the California In-State Sorghum Program to support a lasting expansion in California’s ability to produce low-carbon ethanol from in-state feedstock that meets both the renewable fuel and greenhouse gas reduction goals stipulated under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard and California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard.
  • Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, Inc. and SunPower Corp. announced an agreement under which HASI is expected to provide up to $44.5 million in non-recourse debt to help finance SunPower’s residential solar lease program. The transaction allows SunPower to leverage existing lease assets and expand its program while increasing its cash position and strengthening its balance sheet. More than 20,000 Americans are enrolled in the company’s lease program.
  • The 14th Annual Renewable Energy Roundup & Sustainable Living Expo will take place September 26 – 28, 2014. The Roundup will take place in Belton at the Bell County Expo Center, 301 W Loop 121 (at IH-35), Belton, TX 76513. This year the theme is “water solutions”.
  • AEP Energy today has begun installation of a 101-kilowatt (kW) solar array on the roof of The Ohio State University’s Student Life Recreation and Physical Activities Center (RPAC). AEP Energy will fund, build, own and operate the approximately 10,000-square-foot array, made up of 367 solar panels arranged in a configuration similar to the “Block O.” Installation is expected to be completed in approximately eight weeks.

Caesars Entertainment Adds EV Charging Stations

Caesars Entertainment resorts is adding new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at 13 of their resorts and casinos. In partnership with NV Energy, nearly all of Caesars’ Northern and Southern Nevada resorts and casinos now have operational EV charging stations on site, in addition to Harrah’s Resort Southern California. A total of 48 charging ports have been installed in guest parking lots as well as valet areas, and are available for guests to use at no cost.

caesars-entertainment-logoCaesars is planning on expanding its EV charging network into other domestic resorts and when completed, their entire U.S. resorts and casinos will feature EV charging stations.

Caesars’ EV charging stations are on the ChargePoint network, allowing drivers to easily check station availability and find charging spots in real time through the ChargePoint mobile app, the web and car navigation units. The Level 2 charging ports at Caesars’ stations accommodate both hybrids and all-electric models using the industry standard J1772 plug, and charge vehicles in less time compared to plugging in the average home garage.

“We want to make it easy for our guests to continue their green habits while they stay and play at our resorts. Supporting the adoption of electrical vehicles is important to Caesars, and we are thrilled to make convenient charging another great amenity for our guests,” said Eric Dominguez, corporate director of facilities, engineering and sustainable operations at Caesars Entertainment.

Caesars is promoting awareness and encouraging cleaner forms of transportation, which directly ties into the company’s low carbon strategy and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A recipient of the EPA’s Climate Leadership Award, Caesars has cut greenhouse gas emissions at its domestic properties by over 12 percent from 2007 to 2013 on an absolute basis, while reducing energy intensity by 20 percent.

“As a company, we aim to not only reduce our impact on the environment, but lead other companies and inspire our communities to take environmentally-friendly actions,” added Dominguez. “We look at the EV station project as an essential stride towards a future of green transportation.”

New Anti-Dumping Tariffs Will Slow U.S. Solar Industry

The U.S. Department of Commerce has imposed new anti-dumping tariffs as high as 165.04 percent on imports of solar products from China and 44.18 percent on imports from Taiwan. It should be noted, that China has instituted anti-dumping tariffs on solar panels entering their country as well.

In response to the announcement, Jigar Shah, president of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), said, “Today’s determination is another unnecessary obstacle for the U.S. solar industry that will hinder CASE-logothe deployment of clean energy by raising the prices of solar products. Due to these tariffs, previously viable projects will go unbuilt, American workers will go unhired and consumers that could have saved money through solar energy may not be able to benefit.”

Shah noted that SolarWorld has issued a request to expand the scope of products affected by the solar dispute, but the U.S. Department of Commerce has made no decision. CASE members a disappointed and Shah said accepting a broader scope would eliminate decades of legalalize that defines scope using the ‘single country of origin’ and ‘substantial transformation’ trade rules. The proposed new scope is also fundamentally inconsistent, said Shah, with the Department’s own previous determination in the 2012 solar cell dispute.

“We urge SolarWorld AG to work with the U.S. solar industry and choose to end their continued litigation in favor of a win-win solution like the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) settlement proposal,” added Shah. “CASE members, which represent the industry majority, demand a solution that ends uncertainty in the marketplace by preventing further trade litigation and that allows solar power to compete cost-effectively with traditional energy sources, thus enabling the market’s further growth. To aid in this process, we ask President Obama to make resolving the solar trade dispute a priority on his clean energy agenda and convene the parties for negotiations.”

According to the 2013 National Solar Job Census, the U.S. solar industry currently employs over 142,000 Americans, 70 percent of which are employed downstream in the system installation, sales, distribution and project development sectors. Solar product manufacturing remains robust, employing over 29,000 Americans, but the narrow solar cell manufacturing industry that would benefit from these tariffs represents less than 2 percent of overall U.S. solar employment.

John Morrison, COO of Strata Solar, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and representing over 1,000 jobs added, “Due to their scale, the utility and large commercial solar sectors are particularly sensitive to the uncertainty and price increases caused by these tariffs. Until this dispute is resolved, our industry will build fewer projects and install less solar. It’s time to end the litigation, negotiate a solution and put more Americans back to work.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFMosaic has announced that financial services and solar industry veteran Bruce Ledesma has been named the company’s Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Ledesma will be responsible for scaling operations to service Mosaic’s growing base of investors, borrowers and solar installers. Ledesma has a proven track record of successfully growing businesses through rapidly evolving market conditions.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has announced the extension of the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Rebate program, which will continue to provide $2,000 rebates for 500 additional large-battery system plug-in hybrid electric and battery-electric vehicles, or until Dec. 31, 2014.
  • According to The Global Biodiesel Market 2014-2018 report, the growth of the global biodiesel market is primarily dependent on the availability, quality, and yield of feedstock because the source material accounts for more than 80 percent of the cost of biodiesel production. On the other hand, biogas is gaining traction as a versatile energy carrier with significant potential to meet growing demand in the power, heating, and fuel markets.
  • Westermeerwind BV reached financial close on July 25, 2014 for the construction of the Westermeerwind wind farm in IJsselmeer. The Westermeerwind wind farm consists of 48 wind turbines with a capacity of 3 MW to be installed in the water between 500 and 1100 metres from the dikes of the Noordoostpolder. Installation work is scheduled to start in March 2015. The first turbines are expected to start delivering power to the existing grid at the end of 2015. They will supply sustainable energy for nearly 160,000 homes.

USGC Calls on China to Approve Biotech Cert for DDGS

China is considering whether it will approve MIR 162, a biotech certification requirement for distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) by the Chinese import inspection authority (AQSIQ). Today, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is calling on China to approve the certification that would follow the point of origin. In this case, U.S. shipments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, guaranteeing that the shipment is free of the biotech trait. Although MIR 162 is not been approved, the country has already passed a mandate against biotech traits that have caused disruptions in existing DDGS trade and making future trade more difficult.

distillers_grains_ Photo US Grains Council“China is asking for something that cannot be done. This certificate they’re asking for does not exist,” said Tom Sleight, USGC’s president and CEO. “It’s time for China to look at and approve this trait. It’s been approved for commercialization in the United States since 2010, and it’s been approved by all importing countries, including the European Union, for quite some time. We think that the lack of approval of MIR 162 is becoming an undue impediment on trade.”

The Council is working to address the new disruption to DDGS trade with the U.S. government and the U.S. ambassador to China, as well as with MAIZALL, which represents grower organizations in several major corn exporting countries. In addition, USGC staff and consultants around the world are working with other markets interested in DDGS, in part because prices have declined.

Sleight concluded, “We have some really excellent prospects that are panning out quite nicely, particularly in Mexico, Taiwan, Canada, the rest of Latin America and Korea. There’s a lot of interest in this product.”

GEA Announces 2014 GEA Honors Winners

In advance of the 2014 GEA Summit to take place in Reno, Nevada on August 5-6, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) has announced the winners of their 2014 GEA Honors. The awardGEA logos, which will be presented during the Summit, recognize companies, projects and individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the geothermal industry. The winners were selected in categories including Technological Advancement, Economic Development and Environmental Stewardship. Now in its fourth year, GEA also provides special recognition of companies and individuals who have made notable advances and achievements for geothermal energy.

The following companies and individuals will be awarded 2014 GEA Honors in the following categories:

  • Environmental Stewardship – Awarded for fostering outstanding environmental stewardship through the use of geothermal systems: Salton Sea Restoration & Renewable Energy Initiative
  • Technological Advancement – Awarded for developing a new, innovative or pioneering technology to further geothermal development: Baker Hughes, POWER Engineers, and Ormat Technologies, Inc.
  • Economic Development – Awarded for making a substantial contribution to the development of local, regional or national markets through the development of geothermal systems: Dewhurst Group/Grupo Dewhurst.
  • Special Recognition companies – Mono County Board of Supervisors, AltaRock Energy Inc. and The National Geothermal Data System (NGDS)
  • Special Recognition people – Bill Price, Enel Green Power North America; Dita Bronicki- Ormat;  James C. Hanks, President, Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors along with: Greg Mines who is recognized for his work in Power plant, GETEM and other analysis work he has performed in the last 30 plus years; and Hillary Hanson and Rachel Wood who are interns at the Idaho National Laboratory who have been working with public information provided to federal and state agencies by geothermal operators to improve the DOE Geothermal Technologies Office’s understanding the evolving performance and operation of geothermal power plants.

Click here to learn more about the award winners.

Oily Palms

According to Americans United for Change (AUC), Iowa Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst has attracted national attention with her stance on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – that she is not supportive of subsidies. This before the news broke last week that the billionaire oil baron Koch brothers maxed out their contributions to Ernst’s campaign on top of the over $20,000 the Koch donor network has funneled to her campaign coffers. The new breaking news is that ExxonMobil PAC is toasting Ernst at a $1,000 a plate in Washington, D.C. this Wednesday, July 30, 2014.

In response, AUC, a pro biofuels and pro-RFS organization, is hitting the radio waves this week in Des Moines, Iowa calling on Ernst to choose a side: Iowa jobs, or Big Oil profits. However, AUC said Ernst seemed to side with the latter.

The group cites that when Ernst was pressed to take a firm stand on the RFS, Ernst stressed she’s “philosophically opposed” to farm subsidies and that she “want[s] people to choose products that work for them and not have them mandated by the United States government.” Not exactly the ringing endorsement for ethanol that Iowa rural communities may be hoping to hear, said AUC.

Jeremy Funk, Comm. Dir., Americans United for Change, which recently ran full page ads in Iowa urging Ernst to clarify her muddy RFS position, said, “There’s easy choices and there’s hard choices. For someone hoping to represent a state that leads the nation in renewable fuels production, you might think that unconditional support for the Renewable Fuel Standard and 73,000 Iowa jobs would be a no-brainer. But for some reason, it’s a hard choice for Joni Ernst.”

“Big Oil has taken notice of Ernst’s begrudging support for the RFS while remaining ‘philosophically opposed’ to it. What is a telling choice is for Ernst to welcome Big Oil’s support with open arms at a decadent Washington fundraiser this week,” continued Funk. “Big Oil lobbyists would love nothing more than to be able to say, “You see, even a Senator from Iowa thinks the RFS is unnecessary.” Big Oil would love to be able to use Ernst as a poster child in their multi-million smear campaign to drive ethanol out of business. They hate that consumers have a cheaper and cleaner option at the pump thanks to Iowa renewable fuels. They hate that every gallon sold of ethanol produced domestically means one less gallon sold of gas made from dirty crude oil from unstable regions like Iraq.”

Funk noted that the more money Ernst receives from Big Oil interest, the more reluctant her support for renewable fuels.” Ernst needs to get her priorities straight: choosing between Iowa’s economy and the special interests shouldn’t be a choice at all,” Funk concluded.

NASCAR Races 6 Million Miles on E15

On Sunday, July 20, 2014 NASCAR drivers raced at the Brickyard in Indianapolis, Indiana and hit a historic milestone – 6 million miles raced using Sunoco Green E15. The feat was three years in the making and took place at one of the most famous racetracks in the world – Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In 2011, NASCAR and American Ethanol partnered to bring E15 to the sport. Since the beginning of the 2011 season, Sunoco Green E15 has fueled every car and every truck in each of NASCAR’s national race series. According to NASCAR, the introduction of Sunoco Green E15 has been a pivotal part of the NASCAR Green initiative, and has successfully increased horsepower and decreased emissions for the sport.

NASCAR 6 Million Miles on E15Brian France, CEO of NASCAR, released a statement in response to the 6 million mile-milestone saying, “NASCAR conducted an exhaustive analysis before making the seamless transition to Sunoco Green E15, a race fuel blended with 15 percent American Ethanol. As we eclipse six million tough competition miles across our three national series, we can definitively say this renewable fuel stands up to our rigorous racing conditions while significantly reducing our impact on the environment. We are proud to celebrate this milestone at Indianapolis Motor Speedway along with our partners at the National Corn Growers Association and Growth Energy.”

The 6 million mile-mark is especially significant because it mirrors the 6 million miles of testing conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy to initially approve E15 for all light duty cars and trucks, model year 2001 and newer.

“NASCAR validates what a great performance fuel [E15] is, said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “If you meet with the teams and talk with the owners – they’ve got increased horse power, they’ve got higher performance, and, as Richard [Childress] said, it’s cleaner.”

Through NASCAR, Buis said American Ethanol has proven that E15 is a high performance, low cost fuel option that is homegrown and better for our environment. It supports American jobs that will never be outsourced, bolsters rural economies and enhances our nation’s energy and national security.

Listen to the press conference here: NASCAR Races 6 Million Miles on E15

*Special thanks to Meghan Grebner with Brownfield Ag News for providing audio and photo from the press conference.

RFA to DOE: Update Your E85 Data!

Today the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is calling on the Department of Energy (DOE) to accurately account for all stations selling E85. According to RFA, the DOE’s Alternative Fuels Data Center is missing a vast number of E85 stations – nearly 1,000- after comparing the list to the “crowd-sourced” website E85Prices.com that lists 3,449 retail locations offering E85.

RFANewlogo“The AFDC database is way off in its reporting of E85 stations, and this is negatively influencing discussions over the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) blending requirements. It isn’t just a handful of stations that are missing; we are talking about the exclusion of hundreds of stations nationwide. In fact, they missed 40 percent of the stations that are included in other databases! That’s simply unacceptable,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the RFA.

In a letter sent to the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, the RFA illustrates the central role of the database in crucial policy decisions, stating, “EPA’s mistaken belief that existing E85 refueling infrastructure is insufficient to distribute the 2014 RFS volumes specified in the statute is based in large part on information from the AFDC. As a result, the Agency wrongly proposed to reduce required renewable fuel blending volumes in 2014.”

Dinneen stressed the urgent need for updated, accurate information as the EPA decides the final 2014 RFS blending requirements. He noted, “Accurate data is the foundation of well informed decisions. The so-called ‘blend wall’ — the level at which oil companies claim they can no longer blend ethanol into gasoline — can be scaled through increased use of E85. Therefore, an accurate accounting of E85 stations distributing low-cost, renewable fuels is vital to informing the debate over RFS implementation.”

The letter concludes, “The correctness and completeness of the database has never been more important, as crucial policy and regulatory decisions are being informed by the information. Inadequate data leads to ill-informed policy decisions, which can have significant consequences for affected industries.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFEmerging markets will play a major role in the expansion of global nuclear installed capacity, which will increase from 371 Gigawatts (GW) in 2013 to 517 GW by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.5%, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. According to “Emerging Nuclear Power Countries- Market Forecast, Key Companies and Development Analysis to 2030,” while the world’s nuclear power generation decreased in 2011 and 2012 in the aftermath of the Fukushima meltdown, the market is gradually recovering, with large-scale capacity additions expected in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.
  • Legislative support is waning for biofuels blending requirements in the European Union (EU) and the United States, according to analysis in a just-released Platts Commodity Pulse video. During the video, Platts Agriculture Editors Tim Worledge, Guilherme Kfouri and Sean Bartlett review biofuels’ role in the global energy supply mix during the past decade and discuss the current legislative challenges in the biodiesel and ethanol markets in the U.S. and EU.
  • According to the report from Juniper Research, “Green Mobile: The Complete Guide to Vendor Strategies & Future Prospects 2014-2019,” charging mobile devices will generate more than 13 megatonnes CO2e (CO2 equivalent) of greenhouse gases per annum globally by 2019, against an anticipated 6.4 megatonnes this year. Nearly 50% of these 2019 emissions –equivalent to annual emissions from 1.1 million cars – will come from coal-fired Asian electricity grids powering growing smartphone use. The report also found there is low consumer awareness of renewable energy and sustainable habits in these markets. It is down to vendors to take the lead in making energy companies provide more green electricity for both industry and consumers.
  • Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene is the latest of NG Advantage’s customers to change its heat source from fuel oil to compressed natural gas (CNG). The Medical Center joins a growing number of large institutions and industrial sites not located on a gas pipeline in New England and northern New York State. These sites were referred to as “stranded properties” by the gas industry. NG Advantage LLC offers a new service of trucking CNG using its “virtual pipeline” – a fleet of high–tech carbon fiber trailers – to very large energy users not located on a pipeline.

ACE Announces Final Ethanol Conference Agenda

The 27th annual Ethanol Conference agenda is set and will include an update on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) from the Environmental Protection Agency. The event is taking place August 4-6, 2014 in Minneapolis. In addition to the RFS update, Paul Machiele, director for fuel programs for the EPA will also be discussing other agency ethanol priorities. Registration is still available.

“As EPA and the White House close-in on a final decision about the 2014 RFS we’re pleased that Paul Machiele will be on hand to meet with our members,” said ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings.

ACElogo“Consistent with our conference theme of ‘Power by People’ we’re pleased that the 2014 conference will feature updates from ACE members and other speakers on the policy, marketing, and innovation initiatives that will help position the industry for future profitability,” Jennings added.

The ACE conference will also feature new findings from an economic study on “Eco-Performance Fuel,” an Innovators panel of four ACE-member ethanol producers who are adding new processes and technologies, a Retailer Roundtable involving gas station owners who are making money and attracting new customers by selling higher blends of ethanol fuel, and panel discussion focusing on international sales opportunities for ethanol and distillers grain.

Three breakout session tracks will be offered for ethanol plant board directors, mangers/CEOs, and operators focused on technology advances. Breakout session topics include risk management, the impact of proposed FDA regulations on plant operations, and technology to speed or increase yeast fermentation rates.

Rwanda Set to Commission Solar Plant

The first utility-scale solar PV power plant is set to go online in early August 2014 in East Africa. The 8.5 MWp solar farm will be commissioned by the Government of Rwanda and is currently in its testing phase. Today less than one in five households in Rwanda have access to electricity. The new solar project will increase the country’s production capacity by up to 8 percent.

rwanda state flagIn early July, Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba led a high-level delegation which visited the Gigawatt Global Rwanda Ltd construction site, the utility-scale solar power plant located near Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) in Rwamagana District, eastern Rwanda.

“Generation and provision of electricity to all Rwandans is a priority for the Government of Rwanda. This initiative to produce 8.5 megawatts of clean energy is an important addition towards closing Rwanda’s current energy gap,” said the Minister at the site.

The Norwegian company Scatec Solar is the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) company responsible for building the power plant, and Remote Partners is the local management and support firm. The project has been funded by Norfund (Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries) and KLP. The Dutch company Gigwatt Global is the developer of the project. Once the plant is online, Scatec Solar will operate and maintain the plant which will feed electricity directly into the national grid. The price is lower than for electricity generated by diesel oil.

The Government is encouraging private sector involvement and private-public partnerships as part of its development policy. In addition, energy for all is an important goal in the fight against poverty. Energy must be affordable, energy supplies must be reliable, and last but not least, energy is ideally clean and renewable. Solar energy is an important part of the energy mix along with hydropower and other sources of renewable energy in Africa.