Iowa Gov Branstad to Speak at IRFA Summit

Biofuel advocate Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will address the 8th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit and Trade Show on January 28, 2014. Branstad has been a vocal supporter of the Renewable Fuel Standard, has participated in an RFS rally held last November and created a Protect the RFS Petition in support of the biofuel legislation that has been attacked by biofuel detractors. In addition, for the first time since the passage of the RFS in 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to reduce the amount of renewable fuels blended in America’s transportation fuel.

Protect the RFS“Governor Branstad’s staunch, unwavering support of the federal RFS and Iowa’s renewable fuels industry has helped Iowa remain the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production,” said IRFA President Steve Bleyl. “Under Branstad, the state is at the forefront of proactive public policy for E15 and biodiesel. The renewable fuels community looks forward to hearing from the Governor on continuing Iowa’s renewable fuels leadership and urging the EPA to maintain a strong and growing RFS.”

The Summit is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required. Click here to learn more about the event and to register.

RFA’s Bob Dinneen to Keynote IRFA Summit

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen will be the keynote speaker at the 8th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit and Trade Show hosted by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA). The event takes place January 28, 2014 at The Meadows Conference Center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.

RFA Bob DinneenIRFA notes that under Dinneen’s leadership for more than two decades, the RFA has been a driving force behind creating a dynamic and robust national ethanol industry. Dinneen was instrumental in enacting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in 2005 and, two years later, in expanding the RFS to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

“As the ethanol industry faces one of its most challenging times in history, we’re fortunate to have RFA and Bob Dinneen leading the charge to preserve and advance the federal Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Rick Schwarck, IRFA President and President of Absolute Energy in St. Ansgar. “Powerful forces stand in staunch opposition to the RFS and development of next generation ethanol. Summit attendees are lucky to hear the latest RFS and ethanol insight from a top insider like Dinneen.”

The Renewable Fuels Summit and Trade Show is free and open to the public. To register and learn about sponsorship and trade show opportunities, please click here.

China’s Offshore Wind Power Industry on Track

During the 18th Congress of Chinese Communist Party meeting, a call was made to create a “Biological Civilization” strategy that would encompass a plan for more use of green energy including offshore wind. On June 4-6, 2014 Offshore Wind China 2014, Wind Farm O&A China 2014 and Distributed Generation China 2014 are simultaneously taking place at the Shanghai New International Expo Center and Shangri-La’s Kerry Hotel Pudong.

Optimale Bedingungen / Ideal conditionsThe organizers of the June events include Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Committee, China National Renewable Energy Centre and Shanghai International Exhibition Co., Ltd. The groups have announced they will focus on the seven topics for the conferences in an effort to move the offshore wind industry and green energy industries forward.

1. Experience Wind Power Industry’s Turn-around through Release of Latest Progress on Offshore Wind Projects. Offshore wind power developers along with planning and design organizations will be invited to deliver speeches on progress of offshore wind power projects.

2. Catch New Industry Trends by Bringing together Leading Wind Turbine Manufacturers. Key offshore wind turbines manufacturers, including Vestas / Mitsubishi, Goldwind, Gamesa, United Power, Sinovel, Shanghai Electrics / Siemens and Ming Yang will gather to present the advanced offshore wind technologies.

3. Capture Future Market Opportunities in Sector of Wind Farm Operation and Maintenance. The event features Wind Farm O&M Market to explore life-cycle management and after-sales services of onshore and offshore wind farms.

4. Provide Full-range Solutions with Focus on Offshore Installation and Construction. With a focus on offshore installations and construction, leading offshore installation companies including CCCC Third, ZPMC, Jiangsu Longyuan Zhenhua, CCCC Fourth will gather at this event to showcase installation equipments and share practical experiences.

5. Join Hands with Leading Wind Power Nations to Share in Advanced Experience. Attendees will meet with associations and delegations from developed countries including U.K., Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and U.S. to have exchanges with overseas firms.

6. Improve Trade Mechanism by Expanding On-site Communications and Negotiations. The event will further enhance the trade mechanism to hold “On-Site Match-making Meetings between Turbine Manufacturers and Components Suppliers”.

7. Witness Offshore Mega Project by Visiting Offshore Wind Farm under Construction. Attendees will have opportunity to visit East Sea Bridge Offshore Wind Farm (Phase II) during its construction stage, and the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the first of its kind in China.

IRFA 2014 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit Announced

2013 Iowa RFA SummitThe Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) has announced the start of registration for the 8th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit and Trade Show. The Summit is free, open to the public, and will be held January 28, 2014 at The Meadows Conference Center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.

With discussion over renewable fuels policy at fever pitch, the 2014 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit will discuss state and national issues facing the renewable fuels industry, including the future of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), biofuels’ impact on future engine technology, and emerging markets for cellulosic ethanol, E15, and biodiesel. Featured speakers will be announced leading up to the Summit.

“The Renewable Fuels Summit is Iowa’s premier renewable fuels event bringing together industry leaders, decision makers and the general public to shape Iowa’s energy future,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “This event provides a great opportunity to hear experts address state and national issues facing the future of renewable fuels, as well as network with biofuels professionals and business leaders throughout the Midwest.”

Click here to register for the Summit and learn about sponsorship and trade show opportunities.

WEC Issues 10-Point Action Plan for Sustainable Future

The World Energy Council (WEC) has issued a 10-point action plan for how governments, industry, and key decision-makers should refocus their efforts and resources to achieve real progress in resolving the energy trilemma. The World Energy Congress is taking place 2013TrilemmaCoverThumbnail-209x300in Daegu, Korea this week. The report, “World Energy Trilemma: Time to get real – the agenda for change,” provides a detailed guide to creating a global policy framework that addresses the energy trilemma: energy security, energy equity, and environmental sustainability.

The WEC said the report is the culmination of the findings of a two-year World Energy Council study, “World Energy Trilemma,” conducted with Oliver Wyman, the management consulting firm. Recommendations from the past two years of study were the result of interviews with over 100 energy leaders in 41 countries, including chief executives, ministers, and heads of development banks.

“Governments face a daunting challenge to deliver secure, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy services,” said Joan MacNaughton, executive chair of the WEC’s World Energy Trilemma studies. “How well they meet it has a fundamental bearing on the social and economic prospects of their countries. Over the last two years our World Energy Trilemma study has identified what governments and energy leaders believe is needed to balance the energy trilemma.”

WEC Balancing Energy TrilemmaMacNaughton noted that while leaders say they are ready to act now, they acknowledge the need for more guidance and support. “Our analysis provides the basis for countries to assess their political and institutional risk, and our new ‘Agenda for Change’ report describes how they can mitigate such risk and unlock the investment to deliver the required energy infrastructure. This subject will be the core of discussions between government and business leaders at the World Energy Congress,” added MacNaughton.

The WEC’s 10-point Agenda for Change action plan includes:
Action 1: Connect the energy trilemma to the broader national agenda.
Action 2: Provide leadership to build consensus – nationally and globally.
Action 3: Improve policymaker dialogue.
Action 4: Increase engagement with the financial community.
Action 5: Minimise policy and regulatory risk and ensure optimal risk allocation.
Action 6: Adopt market-based approaches to carbon pricing to drive investments.
Action 7: Design transparent, flexible and dynamic pricing frameworks.
Action 8: Drive (green) trade liberalisation.
Action 9: Meet the need for more research, development & demonstration (RD&D).
Action 10: Encourage joint pre-commercial industry initiatives, including early large-scale demonstration and deployment.

According to the report, addressing strong demand growth, widening access to the 1.2 billion people currently not served by energy grids, and balancing the upgrade of aging infrastructure with environmentally progressive systems requires investment and coordination on an unprecedented scale. However, the impact of shale gas discoveries in more than 40 countries, cost breakthroughs in certain renewable technologies, and increasing the efficiency of transport, construction and household energy use could enable communities to live and work within a widely more sustainable energy landscape.

Strong Optimism for Geothermal Globally

Craig Mataczynski President GEAThe GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo hosted nearly 2,000 delegates in Las Vegas, Nevada for an event that featured the latest technologies in geothermal, and frank discussions on opportunities and challenges internationally as well as within the United States. Optimism was felt throughout the conference and was underscored by the release of Geothermal Energy Association’s (GEA) release of a report featuring more than 700 global geothermal projects.

“Each year, the GEA brings together the geothermal business community from all around the world at its EXPO,” noted GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. “The sense from the industry was strong optimism for sustained growth in the global market despite lagging U.S. markets, and hope that as the United States works to meet higher state RPS requirements and new climate change goals the value of geothermal will be recognized which will spur growth.”

The report released prior to the event estimated that projects in the pipeline would more than double current worldwide capacity from the 12,000 Megawatts (MW) expected to be on-line by year’s end, and beyond that “developers are actively engaged with 27,000 MW of geothermal resource globally.”

In the U.S., GEA pointed out that as the percentage of electricity produced from intermittent sources increases, the stress on an aging power system designed for fossil fuels encourages geothermal’s continuing role as an important part of the power supply mix.

“The market will turn around as geothermal’s full value to the grid is recognized,” Gawell said. “Its baseload capacity makes it valuable for replacing retiring fossil fuel facilities, and its ability to provide flexible support will add to power system reliability.”

This year’s gathering incorporated a wide range of activities supporting U.S. companies working in the international market. Both the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the U.S. Agency for International Development supported delegations from Turkey and East Africa, respectively. Presentations in the EXPO hall featured delegates from several countries seeking to develop their geothermal power potential. GEA also held a standing room only dialogue with U.S. companies discussing how to expand U.S. exports of goods and services in key world markets.

A wide range of technology was on display at the GEA Geothermal Energy Expo, which featured 125 booths. EXPO booths highlighted the latest in technology to support today’s power projects and tomorrow’s “enhanced geothermal system” developments.

At the event, GEA also held its annual members meeting and elected a new President for the Association. Craig Mataczynski, President and CEO of Gradient Resources, was elected as GEA’s President. Speaking in the Opening Session of the event, Mataczynski laid out a bold new vision for the industry: “to contribute in excess of 5% of the electric energy needs in the United States and globally.”

Renewable Fuels Association Chooses 2014 Leaders

RFA-logo-13Some familiar faces will stay in leadership roles for the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), as the group elected its officers to the Board of Directors during today’s annual RFA membership meeting held in Minneapolis, MN. Neill McKinstray, President of the Ethanol Group, The Andersons, Inc., remains Chairman of the RFA Board of Directors for a second year after previously serving as Vice Chairman.

“Ethanol has proven to help families, rural communities, and consumers across the country. It reduces prices at the pump, revitalizes rural communities, and makes America safer by decreasing our dependence on foreign oil. The battle we are in will only continue to escalate and it is vitally important that the RFS remain in place.” McKinstray stated. “The RFA is a strong and vocal advocate for the ethanol industry and I look forward to another year working side by side with RFA’s highly professional staff and other producers to continue the growth and evolution of this vital industry. We all know what is ahead and I look forward to facing those challenges head on.”

McKinstray is joined by:

• Vice Chairman Randall J. Doyal, CEO of Al-Corn Clean Fuel in Claremont, Minnesota.

• Treasurer Walter Wendland, CEO of Golden Grain Energy in Mason City, Iowa.

• Secretary Mick Henderson, General Manager of Commonwealth Agri-Energy in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

• President Bob Dinneen, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, Washington, DC.

RFA National Ethanol Conference Registration Opens

NEC1Time to finalize your plans to attend the Renewable Fuels Association’s 19th Annual National Ethanol Conference with the theme of Falling Walls, Rising Tides, Feb. 17-19, 2014. Conference registration is now open, and the RFA needs you at the JW Marriot in Orlando, Fla.

Now more than ever our industry should be proud of its success in bringing down barriers that limit our production and use, and which have resulted in noticeable reductions in demand for fossil fuels and imports, expanded markets around the world for both fuel and food, and consumer choice for renewable, domestic fuel options. We have answered the call with the introduction of E15, a proven fuel that is cost-effective for both consumers to use and retailers to install and provide. We see continued growth in E85 due to positive economics, and opportunities for advanced ethanol have never been brighter as the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) rises steadily over the coming years.

This is one event you sure don’t want to miss, as more than 1,200 attendees are expected for the two days chocked full of valuable, impactful ethanol expertise and numerous networking opportunities. Click here to register.

USDA’s Doug O’Brien Visits Novozymes’ Facility

USDA 9-12-13 034--Doug O'Brien, Dwayne Breaux (crane operator)During the Advanced Biofuels Conference that took place last week in Omaha, Nebraska, Novozymes hosted USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development, Doug O’Brien. Following his keynote address, O’Brien headed to Blair, Nebraska, the home of Novozyme’s enzyme manufacturing facility.

Also on the tour of the Novozymes facility were several members of Novozymes plant management, Jim Realph, Mayor of Blair, Neb., and Maxine Moul, USDA Rural Development Director for Nebraska.

Novozymes operates two enzyme manufacturing plants, one of which opened in Blair in May of 2012. This plant produces enzymes for both first generation biofuel production, such as corn-based ethanol, as well as advanced biofuels such as cellulosic fuels produced from corn stover and cobs, switchgrass and more. Novozymes has dozens of strategic partnerships with biofuel companies around the world to help develop efficient and cost-competitive biofuels from a wide-range of feedstocks. The Blair production facility employs 100 people.

Waste-to-Energy Insider Interviews

Renewable Waste Intelligence has just released a report, RWI Insider Interviews:
The Municipal Perspective on Waste Conversion Projects, that features five in-depth interviews with executives that focus on waste management to energy. Interviews featured RWI Insider Interviewsare with the County of Maui; the City of San Jose; Humboldt Waste Management Authority;, Monterey Regional Waste Management District; and the City of Glendale. The interviews provide insight into the experience of companies currently undergoing municipal waste conversion projects including opportunities and challenges the projects face.

The goal of the brief is to give the reader insight into how municipalities deal with regulatory & technical issues, have changed public perception, utilised public-private partnerships and financed projects; and understand how municipalities go about selecting project partners and technology providers.

For instance, Kyle Ginoza, Director of the Department of Environmental Management in the
County of Maui, Hawaii, notes, “The greatest challenge is perhaps ensuring that a waste conversion project is economically viable. We face constraints in acceptability of the project from an electricity generation perspective, since there is a multitude of existing renewable energy projects in the region. Consequently, our waste conversion project will entail generating liquid and solid fuels as the output marketable products.”

The paper was launched as a prelude to the upcoming Waste Conversion Congress taking place December 3-4, 2013 in San Diego, California. Click here for more information and to register.

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.