EPA Publishes 2013 RVOs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published the final 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumetric blending requirements, or Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO). The EPA determined that based on an evaluation of the volumes of cellulosic biofuel expected to be available for 2013, the 2013 standard for cellulosic biofuel will be 6 million ethanol-equivalent gallons.

The renewable fuels industry has come out in support of the rule. Following are some brief statements from several leading biofuel organizations.

aeclogoBrooke Coleman, Executive Director, Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC): “It is clear that U.S. EPA has done its homework when it comes to setting the 2013 standard. The commercial cellulosic biofuel facilities that U.S. EPA projected to start up in 2013 are indeed operating, and the adjusted targets reflect the number of actual gallons expected to be available through the end of the year. We agree with U.S. EPA that there will be sufficient quantities of advanced biofuels in the market to maintain the broader advanced biofuel standard, which is consistent with the legislative intent of the RFS to promote advanced renewable fuels.

nbb-logoAnne Steckel, Vice President of Federal Affairs, National Biodiesel Board (NBB): “With this decision, the EPA is helping consumers, creating jobs and reducing emissions. This target will clearly be met, and it will continue to diversify our fuel supplies so that we’re not at the mercy of global oil markets every time we fill up at the pump.”

Growth_Energy_logo-1Tom Buis, CEO, Growth Energy: Tom Buis CEO of Growth Energy:  “Growth Energy is pleased that the EPA has finalized the 2013 biofuel volumes and has continued to show its strong commitment to the RFS.  We look forward to closely reviewing the final rule and we strongly support increasing levels of renewable fuel into our nation’s fuel supply. The RFS continues to be a resounding success, helping create jobs in America that cannot be outsourced, revitalizing rural economies across the country in addition to reducing our dependence on foreign oil and improving our environment, all while providing consumers with a choice and savings at the pump.”

RFA-logo-13Bob Dinneen, CEO and President, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA): “First and foremost, by decreasing the cellulosic requirement by 99.4 percent to a very realistic, achievable number, the EPA has totally obliterated Big Oil’s myth that the RFS is inflexible and unworkable. As in years past, the finalized annual requirements are a testament to the inherent flexibility that is the backbone of the RFS.”

ACElogoBrian Jennings, Executive Vice President, American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE): “ACE appreciates that the EPA has issued the final volumes for 2013, keeping the total volume intact and thoughtfully used the flexibility given to it by Congress to set the final cellulosic target at 6 million gallons. We think that total is realistic to reach this year. To ensure that the RFS drives sufficient demand for E15 and higher blends of ethanol, and serves as a catalyst for innovation in advanced and cellulosic biofuels, ACE will continue our constructive dialogue with EPA as it considers its flexibility to address the volumes for 2014 and beyond.”

Advanced Biofuels Association LogoMichael McAdams, President of the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA): “ABFA salutes the EPA and today’s announcement of the 2013 RVOs. We are delighted to see EPA validate the significant contributions that advanced and cellulosic biofuels are making to the American biofuels sector. Today’s announcement of 6 million gallons of cellulosic fuels should put to an end the argument that refiners are being taxed to pay for phantom fuels.  Advanced and cellulosic biofuels will continue to grow over time, giving Americans a diversity of lower carbon fuels for our future.”

New Corn Ethanol Plant to Break Ground

According to an article in the Jamestown Sun, the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy plant located at the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. will be breaking ground on its corn-based ethanol plant on August 9, 2013. Once the first shovels of dirt are moved, Rich Garman, project engineer for Great River Energy, said construction crews will hit the ground.

Dakota Spirit AgEnergyThe $150 million ethanol plant will employ approximately 275 people during construction. Once in operation, the plant will employ around 36 people, produce 65 million gallons of ethanol each year and use around 23 million bushels of corn per year.

“We’ll start out as corn-based and see what the future brings,” Garman said in the article.

Garman said the plant will also use steam from Spiritwood Station, which is currently shut down due to a lack of demand for electricity in Minnesota. “Starting up Spiritwood Station is in response to this. We’ve already started the process of getting it ready to come online.”

Electricity production at Spiritwood Station and ethanol production at DSA are set to begin in January 2015.

Solar Science Academy Inspires Cali Students

Nearly 250 students from 10 California school districts are participating in this summer’s SunPower Solar Science Academy, an academic program launched last year by SunPower Corp. The project- and work-based learning program is delivered over the course of one week in each participating district, immersing district students and teachers in a solar-focused curriculum that emphasizes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

SunPower Solar Science AcademySchool districts participating in this summer’s program include Antioch, Cutler-Orosi, Dublin, Fresno, Mount Diablo, Oakland, Oxnard, Porterville, San Ramon Valley and Santa Ana. Several of the districts also participated in the 2012 SunPower Solar Science Academy, which served 140 students at six school districts.

This week, approximately 30 students and four teachers from Fresno Unified School District’s (FUSD) Edison High School began their Solar Science Academy experience, hosted by Fresno City College.

“At Edison High School, we are excited about working with SunPower to offer new opportunities to students and staff,” said FUSD’s Organization Development and Change Management Program Manager Ellie Honardoost. “The SunPower Solar Science Academy helps our educators bring relevant and real-life applications of knowledge into the classroom while preparing students for challenges of the 21st century. We’re grateful for the chance to participate, and support development of our community’s young people during the summer months.”

Over the course of one week, students and teachers participating in the program work with industry professionals, and participate in learning laboratories and field trips to nearby solar system installations. The academy concludes with student presentations to a panel of industry executives, school board members, teachers and community leaders.

“As solar power plays an increasingly critical role in meeting global energy demand, students participating in the SunPower Solar Science Academy may be the engineers and business leaders charting our energy future,” said SunPower Managing Director Bill Kelly. “In the process of learning about solar technology and energy solutions for residential, commercial and power plant applications, the students’ enthusiasm and ability to understand complex concepts is very inspiring. SunPower is proud to provide this opportunity, and of the increased number of participants in the Solar Science Academy program this year.”

SunPower has teamed with the Contra Costa Economic Partnership (CCEP), Tulare County Office of Education and Vital Link of Orange County to offer the Solar Science Academy.

International Trade Key Topic at Ethanol Conference

International trade will be a key topic at the upcoming American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Conference in Des Moines, IA August 27-28th. Executive Vice President for the ACE, Brian Jennings, said that Doug Newman, who is an International Trade Analyst with the International Trade Commission (ITC), will be a good fit for the conference. “Doug brings ACElogotimely perspective on key issues such as EU anti-dumping duties and the important role export markets play for profitable returns on ethanol and distillers grains.”

Newman has covered a variety of industries and trade issues in his 34 years at the ITC. His current portfolio includes biofuels, sugar, confectionary and cocoa products. Doug was also responsible for calculating the CBI ethanol dehydration quote until its expiration at the end of 2011 and has worked to improve the accuracy of ethanol trade data. Doug has a BS in Economics and a MA in International Transactions, both from George Mason University.

“While our primary focus has been on developing the U.S. market for E15, E85, and mid-level ethanol blends, it’s also critically important to pursue ways to increase the size of the global market for ethanol and co-products. Doug’s presentation will shine light on the global opportunities and challenges for ethanol producers,” said Jennings.

He added, “Combined with other sessions such as Opportunities for Ethanol Producers to Reduce Carbon Intensity, RFS Pathways to Innovation, Co-Product Power: Diversification and the Financial Health of Today’s Ethanol Plant, and Taking Advantage of RINs in the Marketplace, we’re offering a diverse conference for ethanol producers, one that will arm them with information they need to be succeed today and well into the future.”

To view the conference agenda and to register, click here.

Emerging Markets in Geothermal Energy

During the Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting and GEA Geothermal Expo in Las Vegas from September 29-October 2, 2013 the international geothermal community will discuss emerging market opportunities and successes. One of the largest geothermal events in the world, last year’s event brought together more than 2,300 people from 39 countries and six continents to discuss the future of geothermal energy.

Geothermal EnergyMany recent reports show that geothermal energy is poised for tremendous global energy growth. Installed geothermal capacity is on track to surpass 12,000 MW globally by the end of the year in 25 countries, and over 60 countries are reported to have projects in development. Countries including Chile, Philippines, Japan, and Kenya have demonstrated impressive progress. Developers in these countries continue to secure financing, PPAs, exploration permits and leases or enter the construction phase of development.

Several sessions will focus specifically on international markets including:

  • Monday, September 30th (12:00 pm-1:30 pm): International Luncheon: A ticketed lunch focusing on geothermal development in Kenya.
  • Monday, September 30th (1:30 pm -4:45 pm): International Session: A series of speakers summarizing geothermal developments in international regions. Open to participants in the GEA Expo or GRC Annual Meeting.
  • Tuesday, October 1st (First Program: 10:00 am; Second Program: 2:00 pm): International Visitors Presentations: Informal presentations by international participants on business developments and opportunities around the world. Open to participants in the GEA Expo or GRC Annual Meeting.

“We are developing a program that reaches out to meet the needs of the international geothermal community. If you are in the geothermal business in Africa, Europe, the Pacific Region, or elsewhere, this is where you can do business, make connections, and meet companies with the latest technology,” said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. “We expect participants will find the program content rich, timely and appealing.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFPOET Founder and Executive Chairman, Jeff Broin, was honored by Top Producer Magazine readers as the top brave thinker in agriculture over the last 30 years.
  • According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 832,000 barrels per day (b/d) — or 34.94 million gallons daily for the week ending July 26, 2013. That is down 21,000 b/d from the week before and the lowest in 16 weeks. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 861,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 13.12 billion gallons. Stocks of ethanol stood at 16.5 million barrels. That is a 4.7% decrease from last week. Imports of ethanol were 13,000 b/d, down significantly from last week. Year-to-date imports stood at 175.7 million gallons according to EIA weekly data. EPA expects 666 million gallons of imports will be needed to meet the 2013 advanced biofuel standard.
  • Kathryn Christensen, a Professor of Practice at the University of Nebraska/Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications, will discuss trends in media reporting at the Nebraska Ethanol Board meeting on August 7th. The meeting is open to the public.
  • ICM has been issued Canadian Patent No. for its Advanced Oil Separation (AOSTM) System. ICM’s AOS technology employs both mechanical and chemical separation and delivers significant economic value to an ethanol plant by dramatically increasing a volume of non-food grade oil recovered from the plant’s process streams. AOSTM uses a centrifuge as a mechanical dewatering device to deliver a targeted emulsion concentrate stream for further processing by adding a polar solvent, ethanol, as an emulsion breaking-agent.

Concord Pacific To Purchase 5 Solar Projects

Concord Pacific Energy has entered into an agreement with Canadian Solar Solutions to acquire five utility-scale solar power plants totaling 49 MW and valued at more than U.S. $277 million. Under the agreement, the five utility-scale solar power plants, located in Chesterville, Pefferlaw, Springwater, Sudbury and Wyebridge, Ontario, Canada, are canadian_solar_solutions solar projectexpected to start construction during 2013 and 2014 with commercial operation expected in 2014. Canadian Solar will provide turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (“EPC”) services to complete the projects and will provide operations and maintenance services after completion. BowMont Capital and Advisory acted as financial advisor to Concord on the transaction.

“Concord Green Energy is always looking at a variety of investment opportunities in green energy production to fulfill our mission of creating sustainable communities,” said Cliff McCracken, Senior Vice-President Concord Pacific. “Critical to our success in this area is finding and working with strong EPC partners who deliver high-quality projects that we can feel good about aligning with our brand. Canadian Solar has a reputation as a leading provider of solar energy solutions, making its projects attractive investments for our firm.”

The five utility-scale solar power plants will power approximately 8,713 homes. In addition, the installations will include approximately 236,000 Canadian Solar CS6X high-performance modules. The CS6X modules have been formally tested and awarded international certifications. The solar farms are expected to in total create more than 500 new jobs during the development and construction phases of all five solar projects.

“Concord shares our vision of creating renewable clean energy to power our communities,” added Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar. “This agreement is a further example of Canadian Solar’s successful transition from a premier PV module manufacturer to a PV total solution provider and the agreement with Concord is expected to contribute to our success. Through a careful and focused approach, we have built an attractive pipeline of sought-after solar power projects in Canada and the U.S., and are pursuing growth opportunities in other key markets. We look forward to successful cooperation with Concord.”

Are Electric Cars Really Green?

IMAGITRENDSAccording to two recent articles published in IEEE Spectrum, electric vehicles (EVs) may not be so “green”. The first report, Unclean at Any Speed, describes how the subsidies for electric cars may cause more harm than good after considering full electric vehicle lifecycles. It advocates directing EV subsidies toward initiatives such as emissions testing, bicycle infrastructure, public transit and land-use changes.

The second article, coined by Ozzie Zehner, is a response to electric car proponents published in the same journal, and describes how the high cost of electric cars and solar cells exposes the substantial amount of fossil fuels that their manufacturing employs.

Zehner, is a visiting scholar at the University of California – Berkeley and the author of Green Illusions. He once built an electric hybrid car of his own, but is now more cautious about promoting costly high-tech strategies. “Stating that an electric car is clean is like saying that a light bulb is clean. Light bulbs don’t produce exhaust, but it doesn’t mean we IMAGITRENDScan use them with zero emissions. The same holds true for electric cars,” said Zehner in an NPR interview Monday.

In his article, Zehner identifies a price tag predicament. “The cost of manufactured goods ultimately boils down to two things: natural resource extraction, and profit,” explains Zehner. “Extraction is largely based on fossil-fuel inputs. Generally speaking, if a supposedly green machine costs more than its conventional rival, then more resources had to be claimed to make it possible.”

He indicates that pricey green technologies, including solar cells and electric cars, likely require more fossil fuel and produce more carbon dioxide than their conventional counterparts. Zehner warns that even if electric car costs come down, “we will have invested billions of dollars to maintain an otherwise unsustainable transportation infrastructure.”

Zehner remarks that researchers could instead “measure the virtues of electric cars against those of walkable neighborhoods, and the costs of generating more energy against the savings from using less.” He admits these may not seem comparable at first but that “in a world of 7 billion people living in increasingly precarious times, these are the tough questions that matter.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFVerenium Corporation has announced that James Levine, Chief Executive Officer, and Janet Roemer, Chief Operating Officer, will present at two upcoming conferences. Roemer will present at the Southern California Investor Conference on Thursday, August 8, 2013 at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach, California at 2:00 pm ET and Levine will present at the upcoming Jefferies 2013 Global Industrials Conference in New York City on Monday, August 12, 2013 10:30 a.m. ET.
  • New Energy Farms is hosting an Open Day featuring a CEEDS demonstration.  For farmers, end users and project developers requiring feedstock, this is an opportunity to see a breeding demonstration of napier grass, miscanthus, arundo donax and sugarcane.  The event is September 19, 2013 in Leamington, Ontario.
  • Advanced Energy Economy announced the appointment of Todd Keller as Vice President, Federal Policy. Keller previously led legislative efforts for the National Wildlife Federation, and served as the Director of Recreation Policy for the Outdoor Industry Association. Keller will work to build the Accelerating Energy Leadership Political Action Committee.
  • Moore Energy, a Southampton, PA based renewable energy design and installation firm, recently completed the installation of a 39,000 watt solar system at the Northampton, Bucks County Municipal Authority. The solar system was installed at no cost to the Authority through a Power Purchase Agreement, and will guarantee a 20% reduction in utility costs. The solar system is comprised of 150 WINAICO 260 W modules.

New Biofuels Projects Announced by DOE

During remarks at the Energy Department’s (DOE) Biomass 2013 annual conference, Secretary Ernest Moniz highlighted the important role biofuels play in the Administration’s Climate Action Plan to increase our energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions algae photobioreactorsfrom the transportation sector. During the event, Secretary Moniz announced over $22 million in new investments to help develop cost-competitive algae fuels and streamline the biomass feedstock supply chain for advanced biofuels.

“By partnering with industry and universities, we can help make clean, renewable biofuels cost-competitive with gasoline, give drivers more options at the pump and cut harmful carbon pollution,” said Moniz.

The research projects announced build on the DOE’s broader efforts to bring next generation biofuels online, with the goal of producing cost-competitive drop-in biofuels by 2017 and algae biofuels by 2022.

Nearly $16.5 million was given to four projects located in California, Hawaii and New Mexico aimed at breaking down technical barriers and accelerating the development of sustainable, affordable algae biofuels. The projects will help boost the productivity of sustainable algae, while cutting capital and operating costs of commercial-scale production. The projects include:

  • Hawaii Bioenergy ($5 million DOE investment): Based in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii Bioenergy will develop a cost-effective photosynthetic open pond system to produce algal oil. The project will also demonstrate preprocessing technologies that reduce energy use and the overall cost of extracting lipids and producing fuel intermediates.
  • Sapphire Energy ($5 million DOE investment): Headquartered in San Diego, California, Sapphire Energy will develop a new process to produce algae-based fuel that is compatible with existing refineries. The project will also work on improving algae strains and increasing yield through cultivation improvements.
  • New Mexico State University ($5 million DOE investment): For its project, New Mexico State University will increase the yield of a microalgae, while developing harvesting and cultivation processes that lower costs and support year-round production.
  • California Polytechnic State University ($1.5 million DOE investment): California Polytechnic State University will conduct research and development work to increase the productivity of algae strains and compare two separate processing technologies. The project will be based at a municipal wastewater treatment plant in Delhi, California that has six acres of algae ponds.  Continue reading

Feedstock Flexibility Program Final Rule Published

The Farm Service Agency has made the final Feedstock Flexibility Program (FFP) public and was published in the Federal Register on Monday, July 29, 2013. Congress created the FFP in the 2008 Farm Bill, allowing for the purchase of excess sugar to produce Screen Shot 2013-08-02 at 9.10.14 AMbioenergy in order to avoid forfeiture of sugar pledged as collateral by processors when securing short-term commodity loans from United States Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).

Federal law allows sugar processors to obtain loans from the CCC with maturities of up to nine months when the sugarcane or sugar beet harvest begins. Upon loan maturity, the sugar processor may repay the loan in full or forfeit the collateral (sugar) to the government to satisfy the loan. The last time sugar forfeitures occurred was in 2004 but atypical market conditions have necessitated USDA to take a number of actions this crop year to manage the sugar supply at the least cost to the federal government. If needed, FFP is an additional tool to manage the domestic sugar surplus.

As part of continuing efforts to manage the surplus, USDA is currently operating a purchase of sugar from domestic sugarcane processors under the Cost Reduction Options of the Food Security Act of 1985, and simultaneously will exchange this sugar for credits offered by refiners holding licenses under the Refined Sugar Re-export Program.

ZeaChem Recieves EPA Approval on Cellulosic RINS

zeachemlogoZeaChem Inc. has announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given registration approval for the cellulosic biofuel produced at the company’s demonstration biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon. The EPA Fuels Programs Registered Company/Facility ID List has been updated accordingly with ZeaChem’s biorefinery verified as an approved registered facility for the production of Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) qualifying D3 cellulosic biofuel RINs. Carbon Solutions Group, a project development, environmental asset management and advisory firm in Chicago, Ill., provided registration services to ZeaChem.

ZeaChem is a producer of sustainable and economical advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals from domestic, renewable agricultural and forestry resources. Earlier this year, ZeaChem successfully produced the first volumes of cellulosic chemicals and ethanol at its demonstration biorefinery on the path to commercialization. With facility registration complete, cellulosic ethanol production will now generate RINs to achieve the national RFS2.

Gevo Puts GIFT System Online

Gevo has announced that it has brought its second million liter fermenter and GIFT system online at its Luverne, Minnesota isobutanol facility.

gevo“We have been successful in operating full-scale fermentations using our GIFT(R) system — which separates the isobutanol from the fermentation broth — on a second million-liter fermenter and GIFT system,” said Patrick Gruber, Gevo’s chief executive officer. “This serves to further validate our technology and plant know-how. We plan to bring the final fermenters and GIFT(R) system online at Luverne later this year, testing run rates, then ramping up production and sales over the balance of 2013 and in 2014.”

Gevo plans on selling the isobutanol it produces in the specialty chemicals and specialty oxygenated fuel blendstock markets, and use it as a building block to make jet fuel and chemical products, such as paraxylene, which is converted into PET and used in the production of bottles and fibers.

ICMlogo1Dave Vander Griend, ICM’s chief executive officer, noted, “We’re pleased to congratulate Gevo on their exciting announcement. Through our collaboration over the years, ICM has supported Gevo’s efforts to become the global first commercial producer of renewable isobutanol. We were thrilled to test Gevo’s GIFT(R) technology at our pilot plant in St. Joseph, Mo., in addition to constructing new portions of their facility in Luverne. In doing this, it enabled us to implement a model of retrofitting existing assets and implementing new technology with broad market capabilities.

Our combined efforts enabled us to support Gevo in bringing their first million-liter fermenter online, and then achieving the next critical step of bringing a second fermenter online, which we’re celebrating today,” Vander Griend concluded.

DOE Heralds Cellulosic Benchmark

The Department of Energy (DOE) is thrilled with the announcement that INEOS Bio’s Indian River BioEnergy Center in Vero Beach, Florida is producing cellulosic ethanol at commercial scale. Often hailed as the “phantom fuel,” the success of the plant is demonstrating that advanced biofuels are “no longer around the corner” and here today. The company’s technology was originally developed with DOE support back in the 1990’s – to convert grass clippings photo scottswood scraps, grass clippings and other waste materials into transportation fuels as well as energy for heat and power.

“Unlocking the potential for the responsible development of all of America’s rich energy resources is a critical part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Today’s announcement of commercial-scale cellulosic production represents an important benchmark for American leadership in this growing global industry. It also demonstrates the need for early-stage investment in innovative technologies that will help diversify our energy portfolio, reduce carbon pollution and lead to tomorrow’s energy breakthroughs.”

The Indian River County BioEnergy Center (Center) will have an annual output of eight million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year from vegetative, yard and municipal solid waste as well as six megawatts of clean, renewable power annually – enough to run the entire facility and provide excess power to the local community.

The project’s gasification-fermentation technology – which produces fuel, heat and power – has its roots in a University of Arkansas research project, supported by a $5 million DOE investment over fifteen years. The Department’s early support helped this technology obtain a number of patents, with the core intellectual property purchased by INEOS Bio in 2008.

Now This Is Interesting…

Now this I find interesting. Yesterday I brought you the story about how Xcel Energy is taking aim at net metering, one of the most important tools to increase solar power adoption on homes. Yet the company is the top wind energy provider and has announced plans to expand its wind power production to “reduce customer costs, protect against rising and volatile fuel prices, and benefit the environment. Ironically, these are also benefits of solar power.

Yet I understand the dichotomy of support. For the most part, you can’t put a wind turbine on the roof of your home, although there are some up and coming home wind turbine technologies that would face the same challenges if changes were made to net metering regulations. The problem is simple – utility companies don’t make money on renewable energy projects that reduce bills or even provide enough power to sell excess energy to the grid. And the biggest threat to utilities’ bottom lines today is solar energy.

Here is another reason why wind is “good” for utilities. With the significant growth of the industry, prices are competitive and then there is the federal Production Tax Credit that was renewed just in the nick of time at the end of last year.

XCEL ENERGY WIND GROWTH“Wind energy is a valuable, low-cost substitute for natural gas and other fuels right now,” said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy in a press statement detailing their intentions for wind energy. “These projects will lower customer costs by at least $800 million over their lives and will provide a valuable hedge to rising and volatile fuel prices for well into the future.”

The company has submitted to state regulators throughout its service area proposals to purchase at least 1,500 megawatts of wind resources, a 30 percent increase in overall wind capacity. The wind power expansion, along with previous conservation, renewable energy and power plant improvement projects, according to the company, puts them on track to reduce its carbon emissions by 28 million tons, or more than 31 percent by 2020.

“These projects demonstrate how to do environmental leadership the right way,” Fowke continued. “Both economic and environmental benefits can and should be achieved.”

If the projects are approved, the company expects that more than 20 percent of its total energy mix will be supplied by wind. While this would be a great accomplishment that other utilities could and should follow, let’s hope other utilities don’t follow their lead on net metering – a move that could stall solar power adoption in the residential sector.