ACE: When Telling the Truth About Ethanol, It’s Easy

Troy Prescott Cardinal EthanolAs members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) gather in Des Moines, Iowa this week to “Unite and Ignite” for their 26th annual conference, we’re reminded of some previous advice from Troy Prescott with Cardinal Ethanol about telling the good news story of ethanol.

“When you’re telling the truth, it isn’t hard to keep telling the story,” he told Joanna back when she talked to him during ACE’s Biofuels Beltway event last March in Washington, D.C., as about 70 ethanol backers gathered on Capitol Hill to tell that ethanol story (and you thought no one ever spoke the truth in Washington!).

Troy said they faced some real doubters in the Nation’s capital, including Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who had just sponsored legislation to keep E15 from going to the marketplace. But he said they stuck to the facts about ethanol, and giving credit to the senator, Hatch’s office listened. Troy explained that while Utah is not a cornbelt state, it’s still in the senator’s and his constituents’ best interests to see ethanol succeed now, because today’s support of corn ethanol will pay off when the industry is able to move more to cellulosic, and places like Utah can reap the benefits.

“You just have to find the niche that gets them to start thinking, ‘Hey, this could be good for my state.’”

While he realizes he’s not going to convert everyone, Troy believes continuing to tell ethanol’s factual story, even to those in the cornbelt, will pay off in the long run, bit-by-bit.

“You just gotta keep chippin’ away, getting your word out,” he concluded.

Listen to Joanna’s interview with Troy here: Troy Prescott, Cardinal Ethanol

Visit the ACE 26th Annual Ethanol Conference photo album.

Why You Should Not Miss the ACE Conference

The 26th American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Conference is less than two weeks away. The event is being held in Des Moines, Iowa August 26-28th and the conference will be offering great sessions covering issues that are important to the ethanol industry. I asked Shannon Gustafson, Director of Strategic Projects for a brief overview of some of the key issues that will be discussed.

Conference article photo 2She said the first day of the conference general session will highlight “policy & innovation” with topics like “Opportunities for Ethanol Producers to Reduce Carbon Intensity,” “RFS Pathways to Innovation,” and a Q&A with ACE leadership. The second day of the general session will highlight “marketing & profitability” with topics like “Taking Advantage of RINS in the Marketplace,” “Automaker Perspective: Outlook for Higher Ethanol Blends and Octane,” “Current Financial Status of the Industry & Co-Product Trends and Their Impact on Profitability,” and “Trade Policy and the U.S. Ethanol Industry.” She said they will also have breakout sessions designed to help ethanol plant managers and board members with things like governance and elections. The full agenda can be found here.

I asked Gustafson, why the ACE Conference is unique in relation to other biofuel conferences. “The ACE conference is unique in that it is an intimate gathering that provides industry members ample opportunity to meet face to face with their counterparts at other plants, ask questions directly to speakers, and dig deep into what issues are affecting the industry in the moment,” explained Gustafson.

She also noted that the ACE Conference is perfect for ethanol plant management and board members, and is also a great event for anyone that works directly or peripherally in the industry. Between the General Session and Breakout Sessions, attendees will find both high level overviews of topics as well as the opportunity to dive deeper into topics during Q&As.

But maybe one of the best aspects of the event is that plant managers and attendees will be able to go back home and put information into action. “Plant members that attend our event will go back with a firm grasp of what is happening in Washington and how it will affect their plant in the coming months,” said Gustafson. “They will also take back skills that can be put to use in board meetings to enrich relationships between board members and plant management and how to make wise staffing decisions, as well as more technical knowledge related to air enforcement and RINs.”

Registration is still open but because of the intimate venue, is limited. So register now before its too late.

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.”

Conference Gives Homebrew Biodieselers a Home

CollectiveBiodieselConf1Of course, most people who follow renewable fuels are familiar with the National Biodiesel Board‘s annual conference and expo. It’s a great venue for some of the bigger commercial ventures, but for those who might be brewing up a few gallons in their garages, there’s a place just for them. This article in the Aspen Business Journal talks the Collective Biodiesel Conference, returning to Colorado this year and attracting some of the nation’s leading experts, researchers and innovators in the biodiesel industry.

[T]he conference … was first held in 2006 at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden grew from a very humble beginning.

“There was no real conference for ‘home-brewers’ [of the fuel],” said Graydon Blair, one of the conference founders. “It was just a bunch of people on the internet talking about biodiesel.”

Blair, an expert in small-scale biodiesel brewing and president of Utah Biodiesel Supply, has been involved in the industry since 2003. He said the original conference grew from an idea he and three other biodiesel enthusiasts shared because the only other annual conference catered to larger commercial businesses.

“We wanted to share ideas on a small scale,” he said. “We wanted people to come to a central place and share ideas about biodiesel and what it does, and let others who are doing it share their stories.”

That tradition of sharing ideas continues Aug. 15-18 at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge. More information is available here.

Unite and Ignite

Unite and Ignite is the theme for this year’ 26th annual American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Conference that will take place in Des Moines, Iowa August 26-28, 2013. ACE UniteExecutive Vice President Brian Jennings says the theme of “Unite and Ignite,” points to the critical topics and timely opportunities that will be covered.

“Our upcoming conference will be helpful to those in the industry who are looking at new ways to overcome Big Oil’s stalling tactics with respect to blending our affordable and clean fuel ethanol with their gasoline,” said Jennings. “General session topics focusing on opportunities with RINS, RFS pathways to innovation, how ethanol producers can improve their carbon reduction scores and others will help provide ethanol plant managers and board members with a good game plan on how to bolster their marketplace efforts going forward.”

Breakout sessions at the event include: Overview of State and EPA Ethanol Air Enforcement Activities; Iowa vs. Brazil: Outlook for Advanced Biofuel RINs; The Impact Employees Have on Your Plant’s Success; Roles & Relationships: Building and Maintaining Constructive Relationships Among Board Members, Management and Investors; and Building Your Board: Election Management.

“I’m looking forward to discussing these topics and more with ethanol industry leaders next month. And I can’t think of a better location to do that than Des Moines,” said Jennings.

Speakers and additional agenda detail can be found at www.ethanol.org. To register to attend the upcoming ACE Conference, click here.

Ethanol Policy Update to Kick Off Discussions at FEW

FEWroundtableLooks like the discussions are going to kick off right at the upcoming International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo (FEW), June 10-13, 2013, in St. Louis, Mo. One of the first sessions will be the Association Roundtable: Mid-Year U.S. Ethanol Policy Update, featuring moderator Tom Bryan, President, BBI International; Bob Dinneen, President & CEO, Renewable Fuels Association; Tom Buis, CEO, Growth Energy; and Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President, American Coalition for Ethanol, set for Tuesday, June 11 at 9 am:

Join the top executive officers of the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and the American Coalition for Ethanol for a vital summer policy update on safeguarding RFS2, correcting misinformation about RINs, building the market for E15 and mid-level blends and maintaining our national commitment to commercializing advanced and cellulosic ethanol.

Still plenty of time to make your reservation for the event. Click here for more information.

Passive Solar Conference Offers Free Public Lectures

Solar 2013As part of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) National Solar Conference that is kicking off tomorrow, April 16-20 at the Baltimore Convention Center, the 38th Annual Passive Solar Conference will explore two broad themes – the emerging architectural discipline of passive solar design, and the rapidly growing science of building technology. A free lecture open to the public will be given by American Institute of Architects (AIA) Fellow and architect Travis Price, author of “The Archeology of Tomorrow: Architecture and the Spirit of Place,” on Friday April 19 at 3:30. Price will discuss “The Mythic Modern: Mythology, Ecology and Technology…the Spirit of Place.”

The Passive Solar Conference will cover a broad range of themes in emerging architecture, including the Department of Energy road map for Building Integrated Solar Technologies (BIST), which aims to double building efficiency by 2050. ASES notes that today buildings in the US consume more than 70 percent of the electricity and 50 percent of the natural gas produced, accounting for 40 percent of U.S. energy consumption.

Other sessions will explore “Passive Haus,” design, a concept originating in Germany to minimize energy consumption, the trend in Net Zero building, and the impact of climate change on regional design. In a series of sessions oriented around building technology, the conference will present the latest research on energy modeling for buildings, automated controls, and daylighting strategies. Finally, several forums will address important regulatory issues including building codes, zoning and the right to solar access.

The conference exhibition hall will be open to the public starting at 10:00 am from April 17-19 for $10, with a special public day on Saturday, April 20 priced at $5. On Thursday, April 18, two evening sessions, Young Professionals in Renewable Energy (YPiRE) and Emerging Transportation, beginning at 6:30 pm and 7:00 pm respectively, are free and open to the public. The Travis Price lecture on Friday April 19 at 3:30 pm is also free and open to the public.

“Farm to Fly” Agreement to be Signed at ABLC

ABLC2013-1As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be at the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center near Washington, D.C. on Monday. And I just got this breaking news item in my email box from our friend, Jim Lane from Biofuels Digest:

vilsack-lahoodAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will announce that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Federal Aviation Administration, along with other partners, are extending an agreement to help develop viable renewable fuels for the aviation industry.

Secretary Vilsack and Secretary LaHood will both deliver remarks at the 2013 Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference. This extension follows the initial success of the 2010-2012 “Farm to Fly” partnership to strengthen research and capacity building for aviation biofuels.

I’ll be there to get their comments on this agreement and more! Hope to see you at the ABLC!

See You at Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference!

ABLC2013-1We’ll see you next week at the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference (ABLC) in Washington, DC!

Our friends from Biofuels Digest are promising this will be a great forum running April 15-17 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center with real dialogue on the real issues facing the biofuels industry. Just look at some of the folks who will be attending!

Thomas Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, USDA
Brooke Coleman, Executive Director, Advanced Ethanol Council
Brent Erickson, Executive VP, BIO
Joe Jobe – CEO, National Biodiesel Board
Mike McAdams, President, Advanced Biofuels Association
Mary Rosenthal, Executive Director, Algae Biomass Organization
Harry Baumes, Director, Energy Policy, USDA
Mindi Farber-DeAnda, Head, Biofuels & Emerging Technologies, Energy Information Agency
Gerald Ostheimer, FAS Science Advisor, USDA – US technical lead, Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP)
Congressman Joe Garcia (D-FL)
Valerie Sarisky-Reed, Acting Director, DOE Biomass Program

Plus, many, many more from industry, financing and the military.

I’ll be there Monday to catch all the action and post it right here on Domestic Fuel. See you in DC!

Agenda Announced for Int’l Fuel Ethanol Workshop

FEWMore than 140 speakers will be talking during four track session at the upcoming 2013 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo, the ethanol industry’s largest and longest-running conference. Officials released the agenda for the June 10-13, 2013 event in St. Louis, Mo.

“Attendees of the 29th annual FEW will gain extremely important information about the ethanol industry,” said Tim Portz, Vice President of Content & Executive Editor at BBI International. “This year we had an overwhelming number of speaker abstracts. The large number of submissions, coupled with the feedback from last year’s attendees, that included producers representing 87 percent of all U.S. installed capacity, is helping to shape this conference’s agenda into the most current and relevant FEW we’ve ever produced.”

The 2013 FEW is expected to draw more than 2,000 attendees and will include national and international ethanol producers, investors, industry suppliers and policymakers. During the course of the event, they’ll discuss issues categorized into four tracks:

Track 1: Production
Track 2: Leadership & Financial Management
Track 3: Coproducts
Track 4: Cellulosic & Advanced Ethanol

Check out the entire agenda, and find more information at www.FuelEthanolWorkshop.com.

EDF & Citi’s Energy Conference Succussful

The Environmental Defense Fund and Citi teamed up to host an energy conference, “Innovations in Energy Efficiency and Distributed Generation Finance II,” earlier this week. The event will bring together experts from around the country to explore innovative ways to fund energy efficiency projects in California.

EDF logo copy“California continues to take bold steps toward clean energy and provide the private sector with clear opportunities to invest in energy efficiency and renewables, a critical part to growing our nation’s economy,” said former Governor Bill Ritter during his keynote presentation. “A key part of achieving our clean energy potential, and creating jobs in America, is ensuring access to quality financing for homes and businesses that want to participate in the new energy economy.”

Ritters is currently the director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University. The Center’s mission is to incorporate best practices from around the world to help guide the country to a more secure, sustainable and affordable energy future.

citi logoCalifornia State Sen. de León focused on SB 37, a key bill he currently authors that would establish a first-in-the nation On-Bill Repayment (OBR) program allowing consumers a creative way to save money and energy by financing energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy projects through their utility bills. “We need to continue with the bold action that has made California a leader in energy efficiency,” Sen. De León said. “This is a priority because it helps build an economy that is forward thinking.”

Using data from a 2009 McKinsey study, EDF estimates that there are at least $40 billion of investment opportunities for energy efficiency projects in commercial buildings in the U.S. alone that will provide annual returns in excess of 20 percent. Yet despite this attractive potential, few of these projects are being funded. Today’s conference was designed to facilitate discussion of current and emerging innovative solutions, new partnerships, lessons from recent transactions and remaining obstacles to developing and scaling the market.

Global Hydropower & Geothermal Growth Slow

According to a new report from the Worldwatch Institute, although the global consumption and installed capacity of hydropower and geothermal technologies have increased steadily since 2003, both types of energy saw slower growth in 2011. Global installed capacity of hydropower reached 970 gigwatts (GW) but there was only a 1.6 percent increase from the year before. Total geothermal capacity reached 11.2 GW, slowing to below 1 percent for the first time since 20o2, according to the report, authored by Evan Musolino.

“Despite the recent slowdown in growth, the overall market for hydropower and geothermal power is increasing in part because these two sources are not subject to the variability in generation that plagues other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar,” explained Musolino, a research associate with the Worldwatch’s Climate and Energy Program. Hydrogpower Photo Fast Company“The greater reliability of hydro and geothermal can thus be harnessed to provide reliable baseload power.”

Among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), hydroelectricity accounted for almost 6 percent of primary energy consumption. It played a more important role in other countries—-at a little over 7 percent of usage—-and these non-OECD nations accounted for 60 percent of worldwide hydroelectricity consumption. On a regional basis, South America and Central America are most dependent on hydroelectricity relative to total energy use.

Although some 150 countries produce hydropower, half of the global capacity was concentrated in just five nations at the end of 2011. China remains the leader, with 212 GW installed, followed by Brazil (82.2 GW), the United States (79 GW), Canada (76.4 GW), and Russia (46 GW).

Similar to  hydropower, the report finds geothermal resources are highly location-specific. Continue reading

DOE to HOST 2013 APRA-E Energy Innovation Summit

ARPA-E-logoThe Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) will host its fourth annual Energy Innovation Summit from February 25 to 27, 2013 at the Gaylord Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The goal of the Summit is to bring together thought leaders from academia, business, and government to discuss cutting-edge energy issues and facilitate relationships that help move technologies into the marketplace.

Confirmed speakers at this year’s Summit include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, and DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar. The Summit also features a Technology Showcase displaying over 250 breakthrough energy technologies from ARPA-E awardees and other innovative organizations.

Other speakers include:

  •  Nick Akins, CEO, American Electric Power President
  • Mitch Daniels, Purdue President and former Governor
  • David F. Gordon, Eurasia Group Head of Research and Director of Global Macro Analysis
  • Ellen Kullman, CEO, DuPont
  • Blythe Masters, Head of Global Commodities and Corporate & Investment Bank Regulatory Affairs, J.P. Morgan

Click here for additional information on the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, including the full Summit agenda.

Iowa Wind Energy Association Announces 6th Conference

The Iowa Wind Energy Association has announced the dates for its 6th Annual Wind Conference: March 25-27, 2013 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. This year’s event will focus on four general themes that reflect the national and world leadership position that Iowa has achieved in the wind energy sector. Topics include technology development, small and community wind, operation and maintenance, education and training, and research. Confirmed speakers include Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.

Prior Wind Energy DayGeneral session presentations will focus on national policy and wind energy growth and sustainability issues. Many of these sessions will focus on the utility scale segment of the wind energy industry with a major presentation about transmission development and large scale wind farm deployment in Iowa and the nation.

Again this year, IWEA will provide a Research Poster Display project, sponsored by Exelon Energy, that will provide an opportunity to highlight research being done to improve the function and profitability of the wind energy industry.

I had the opportunity to speak with IWEA Executive Director Harold Prior, Ph.D. during Iowa Wind Energy Day at the Iowa State Capitol. Prior said that the conference has a good history of attracting the six Iowa Congressional delegation who give attendees an update on public policy issues in Washington.

Prior noted that the wind industry is a relatively young industry and one of the key benefits of the conference is the ability for IWEA members and attendees to network.  Despite its youth, Iowa is the nation’s leader in the number of wind energy manufacturing companies and number of wind energy jobs. Prior said Iowa is ranked as the 7th best wind resource in the nation and the state is a central location with convenient access to major navigable rivers and the national interstate highway system.

For more information about the conference, listen to my interview with Harold here: 6th Annual Wind Energy Conference