As work on the Transportation Bill progressed in the Senate Tuesday, two amendments that would have extended tax incentives for renewable energy sources were defeated.
An amendment offered by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) failed on a tie vote of 49-49, since 60 votes were needed for passage. The amendment would have extended a variety of incentives, including the Cellulosic Biofuels Producer Tax Credit (PTC) the Accelerated Depreciation Allowance for Cellulosic Biofuel Plant Property, and the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit available to blender pumps and other ethanol fueling infrastructure, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind and grants in lieu of tax credits to eligible solar projects, all of which are due to expire at the end of this year.
“Unfortunately the Senate missed an opportunity to put to bed the pressing need to extend expiring tax incentives for cellulosic biofuels and other sources of domestically produced clean energy,” said Advanced Ethanol Council Executive Director Brooke Coleman. “Echoing the 49 U.S. Senators who voted for the Stabenow amendment today, we cannot afford to miss any more opportunities to get this done.”
The measure would have also extended the $1 per gallon biodiesel tax incentive, which expired at the end of last year, through the end of this year. Another amendment offered by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) that would have extended the biodiesel tax credit was also defeated. “We thank Sen. Stabenow and Sen. Roberts for including biodiesel in their amendments, and we urge Congress to break this partisan gridlock and find a way to enact policies like the biodiesel tax credit that have strong bipartisan support,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board.
While the extension amendments failed to pass, an amendment to repeal most of the same tax incentives by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) was also defeated in the Senate. DeMint’s amendment would have repealed tax credits for the wind, plug-in vehicles, and renewable fuels, but would have also addressed some taxes for fossil fuels. It failed by a much more resounding vote of 72-26.
The chairman of the National Biodiesel Board will be presenting an update on the U.S. industry during a global biofuels conference next week.
Renewable Energy Group Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Gary Haer will present during the “Global Biodiesel Production and Trading” panel at the World Biofuels Markets Congress & Exhibition on Wednesday, March 14 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
“The U.S. biodiesel industry experienced phenomenal growth in 2011 with the sound, stable federal policy in place,” explained Haer. “As the biodiesel industry prepares to grow our role as North America’s commercialized, domestically-produced Advanced Biofuel, it is critical to work with customers, vendors and potential partners on an international scale to expand sustainable biodiesel production and enhance trading and business opportunities.”
The conference is organized by Greenpower Conferences.
Dozens of lawmakers have sent letters to the White House calling for an increase in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2013.
A bipartisan group of 60 members of Congress on both the Senate side and the House signed letters urging the Obama Administration to follow through with the EPA’s proposal to increase the biodiesel volume requirement under the RFS next year.
“The skyrocketing gas prices we’re seeing should remind us all why Congress – with overwhelming bipartisan support – started the RFS in the first place, which was to diversify our energy supplies and limit our vulnerability to just these kinds of price spikes,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board. “This is strong energy policy and we shouldn’t shy away from it now.”
At issue is an EPA proposal to increase the biodiesel volume requirement under the RFS to 1.28 billion gallons in 2013. Late last year, the Obama Administration delayed the decision, saying it needs further review, and the EPA could issue a final rule within weeks. Biodiesel has been a highlight of the RFS so far, exceeding its volume requirement last year with record production of 1.1 billion gallons. An Administration decision to rescind the modest increase to 1.28 billion gallons would stunt the industry’s growth and likely lead to plant closures and thousands of lost jobs.
The National Biodiesel Foundation raised nearly $22,000 at its 4th Annual Silent Auction and raffle. Funding benefits outreach, education, research and demonstration activities for the advancement of biodiesel.
“The event not only provides us the opportunity to generate funding but offers a forum to promote the Foundation and showcase current activities and goals,” said Tom Verry, executive director of The Foundation. “We are pleased to see participation of donors and bidders expand over the past years. This is a further indication of the events overall success. We thank all the companies and individuals who donated or participated in the event.”
Additional accomplishments for the National Biodiesel Foundation during 2011 included:
- • Conducted biodiesel education and training as a participant in the Alternative Fuel Trade Alliance. Specifically, this project (1) increased the number of states that enforce ASTM standards and biodiesel fuel quality; (2) achieved Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification for the National Biodiesel Board’s biodiesel technician training curriculum; and (3) trained Clean Cities Coordinators around the country on how to generate and capitalize on media to increase awareness of biodiesel sustainability;
- • Coordinated and administered the Department of Energy Clean Cities grant which established biodiesel terminals and stations across the US. The primary objective of this project is to displace approximately 86 million gallons of petroleum-based diesel;
- • Helped promote Bioheat® awareness campaign in New York City achieving significant inroads into a billion gallon heating oil market;
- • Co-hosted the 3rd Annual Biofuels Science and Sustainability Tour, designed to educate congressional members and their staff on the Iowa renewable fuels industry.
It’s everything you ever wanted to know about algae but were afraid to ask.
The Algal Biomass Organization (ABO) has a new website designed to showcase the potential of algae-based products to provide sustainable and scalable sources of food, energy and fuel.
AllAboutAlgae.com was developed in cooperation with the National Biodiesel Board and provides information, videos and photos all about algae-derived products such as biodiesel, aviation fuel, biochemicals, animal feed and nutritional supplements.
“Products made from algae have incredible potential to meet these needs, and this website is designed to inform and excite people about algae. Allaboutalgae.com is a one-stop shop of comprehensive, easy-to-understand information about this exciting industry,” said ABO Executive Director Mary Rosenthal.
The site includes the most basic to the more complex aspects of algae and answers questions about what algae are and their unique characteristics as a feedstock for fuels, food, feed and more. It includes reviews of the history of algae research, state-of-the-art technology and the latest efforts of the industry to begin large-scale production. Allaboutalgae.com was funded, in part, by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The big news today at the National Biodiesel Conference was the unveiling of the biodiesel bike built by Paul Teutul, Sr., Orange County Choppers. The bike was built in partnership with CIMA Green. Today the bike debuted on stage driven by former NBB Chairman, Ed Hegland. Then Paul Sr. himself drove it onto the biodiesel vehicle showcase floor where he talked about the project with attendees. CIMA Green actually had two bikes built and donated one to the National Biodiesel Board along with a check for $50,000 to use for transportation expenses to showcase the bike at various events around the country.
I spoke with Paul Sr. just prior to his entry into the exhibit hall and he says the bike was a tough one to build. He says it’s not a speed demon but it won’t break down, “It’s just made to go.” The bike has affectionately been named Susie, btw.
Listen to my interview with Paul Sr. here: Interview with Paul Sr.
Listen to Paul Sr. describe the biodiesel bike here: Paul Sr. Remarks
Here’s video of Paul, Sr. driving into the exhibit hall.
Remember that you can follow what the Twitterverse is saying about the conference using the hashtag #NBB12.
2012 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album
Only a couple days now until the kick-off of the Super Bowl – and the 2012 National Biodiesel Conference.
We caught up with National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit to get a preview of what promises to be a great conference. “Attendance is up, exhibitors are up, sponsorship is up, which is really a reflection of the fact that the industry’s back,” Jobe says. “The industry has come back and it’s really one of the most exciting come back stories since maybe Harley-Davidson.”
Jobe says there’s enthusiasm and excitement, but also a lot of work that needs to be done. “We need to talk about how we think about the industry going forward through the lens of the RFS, which is going to be the cornerstone of the industry moving forward,” he noted.
The conference will be held February 5-8 at the Gaylord Palms Convention Center in Orlando and while on-line registration is closed, there will be on-site registration for last minute attendees.
Listen to an interview with Jobe here: Joe Jobe interview
U.S. biodiesel production officially topped one billion gallons in 2011, according to final year-end numbers released by the Environmental Protection Agency today.
The total volume of nearly 1.1 billion gallons is by far a record for the industry and easily exceeded the 800 million gallon target required under the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The previous record for biodiesel production was about 690 million gallons in 2008.
National Biodiesel Board (NBB) vice president of federal affairs Anne Steckel says the milestone demonstrates that the biodiesel tax incentive and the Renewable Fuel Standard are working just as Congress intended. “Now is not the time to be second-guessing the RFS or eliminating the biodiesel tax incentive,” said Steckel. “We’re proving that the policies work, that American innovation and competitiveness can pull us away from our dangerous dependence on imported fuel. Just as President Obama said in his State of the Union this week, we need to stay the course to continue creating jobs and building America’s energy capacity.”
The biodiesel industry’s success in 2011 comes after Congress reinstated the fuel’s $1-per-gallon tax credit in December 2010 and as the EPA’s RFS program for biodiesel completed its first full year of implementation. Without those policies in place in 2010, production dropped dramatically as dozens of plants shuttered and thousands of people lost jobs.
The CEO of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) told attendees at the 6th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in Des Moines on Tuesday that the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) is the number one priority for the industry in 2012.
“We have an immediate challenge before us,” NBB CEO Joe Jobe said of the postponed decision regarding 2013 volumes for biomass-based diesel under the RFS2. “The EPA recommended that we raise those volumes from the statutory minimum of a billion gallons to 1.28 billion gallons.” The Office of Management and Budget has to approve that recommendation and Jobe says that decision will be made within the next 45-60 days.
“We need to establish a precedent whereby we can have conservative, modest growth in the biomass-based diesel category,” Jobe said. He called on the biodiesel industry to make its collective voice heard on the issue. “We ask that you participate in our effort to send letters to the White House, to the OMB, to the administration and to members of Congress,” said Jobe, noting that more details about the effort will be coming soon.
Listen to part of Jobe’s address to the 6th annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit here: Joe Jobe comments
Photos from 2012 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit
Reaction to President Obama’s call for an “all-of-the-above energy strategy” in Tuesday’s State of the Union address was met with applause by many renewable energy interests, who at the same time hope his words will be backed with actions.
“We applaud the President’s announcement that he is going to push for homemade, U.S.-energy after 40 years of being addicted to foreign oil,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “We have to move ahead with American ethanol as part of that solution.”
“The U.S. biodiesel industry is proving that we can accomplish the president’s goals of creating jobs while building a clean-energy economy,” said Anne Steckel with the National Biodiesel Board. “That’s why we’re calling on the Administration to quickly finalize the delayed EPA rule for boosting biodiesel use under the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2013.”
National Corn Growers Association Chairman Bart Schott said they were pleased to hear President Obama’s continued commitment to the nation’s energy independence. “As family corn farmers have risen to the challenge to meet our nation’s energy needs, we are hopeful the direction the President outlined offers similar opportunities for others to expand our energy independence,” he said.
“Working with the President, we can help America become less dependent on foreign oil and a smarter consumer of energy,” Adam Monroe, President of Novozymes North America, said. “Innovations like advanced biofuels can play a major role in the President’s vision but we need steady policies like the Renewable Fuel Standard – and we look forward to working Congress to preserve them.”
Biodiesel blends operate trouble-free all winter in cold climates in vehicles, buildings and even homes. All you need to be successful is high-quality fuel and good fuel management, according to the National Biodiesel Board.
The largest municipal user of biodiesel, New York City, uses biodiesel blends in snow removal equipment. The New York City Parks & Recreation Department was the first city agency to pilot biodiesel in 2005 and still uses B20.
The 850-vehicle strong diesel fleet helps to maintain more than 29,000 acres in New York City. The fleet includes more than 40 different types of vehicles and equipment – handling everything from snow removal to landscape and parks maintenance to road construction and waste management.
The New York City Sanitation Department also uses biodiesel blends in vehicles used to fight winter weather, such as salt spreaders and plows.
“We can’t afford for our garbage trucks not to run,” said Supervisor of Mechanics Spiro Kattan. “Our trucks don’t only pick up garbage, they are also equipped with snowplow hitches. We’re a part of the city’s snow emergency plans and the residents of New York City would not be too happy if our vehicles went down during a snow storm.”
Further, JFK International Airport uses B20 to keep runways clear even in the worst of snowstorms.
In addition, New York City enacted a groundbreaking law requiring that all heating oil sold in the city contain at least two percent biodiesel beginning in October 2012. Bioheat® is already keeping many homes and offices warm this winter, including New York City Parks’ buildings.
The EPA has published a final rule approving camelina oil as a feedstock under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2).
Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) released the following statement in support of the ruling.
“Biodiesel’s evolving feedstock diversity is one of its greatest strengths, and we’re pleased to see the EPA recognizing camelina as yet another feedstock that meets the agency’s standards as an Advanced Biofuel,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at NBB. “As it has with other biodiesel feedstocks such as animal fats, recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and canola oil, the EPA’s proposal shows that biodiesel produced from camelina oil reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent compared with diesel fuel. This is good news for our industry and will give biodiesel plants another tool in the toolbox as they continue producing record quantities of America’s Advanced Biofuel.”
Nearly 108 million gallons of biomass-based diesel were sold during the month of November, continuing a record year of production, according to figures released by the EPA. Biodiesel makes up the vast majority of the EPA’s biomass-based diesel category under the Renewable Fuel Standard program, representing about 95 percent of the volume this year.
In a news release from the National Biodiesel Board, biodiesel production specifically had reached an all-time high 908 million gallons through the end of November. The previous annual record for biodiesel production was 690 million gallons in 2008.
Biodiesel is produced in nearly every state in the country and is on pace to support more than 39,000 U.S. jobs in 2011 while replacing roughly 1 billion gallons of petroleum diesel. Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as agricultural oils, recycled cooking oil and animal fats, it is the first and only commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an advanced biofuel. Biodiesel can be used in existing diesel engines and meets strict specifications of ASTM D6751.
The National Biodiesel Board is pleased with the increase in biomass-based diesel requirements for 2012 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) finalized today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The 2012 rule raises the Biomass-based Diesel program to 1 billion gallons, up from 800 million gallons this year. According to the latest EPA figures, the biodiesel industry had produced some 908 million gallons through the end of November, exceeding the 2011 requirement with one month of production remaining.
“This industry has shown without a doubt that it can meet and exceed the goals of this program in a sustainable way, with a diverse mix of feedstocks,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at NBB, the trade association for the U.S. biodiesel industry. “Our industry has plants in nearly every state in the country that are hiring new employees and ramping up production, in part because of the demand that this policy creates. As the only EPA-designated advanced biofuel being produced on a commercial scale nationwide, we look forward to continued growth in 2012.”
Steckel also urged the administration to issue a final rule for 2013 volumes raising the Biomass-based Diesel requirement to 1.28 billion gallons, as the EPA proposed earlier this year. The EPA on Tuesday postponed finalizing the 2013 volume, saying it needs more time for review.
Biodiesel makes up the vast majority of the Biomass-based Diesel program under the RFS. Because it also qualifies as an advanced biofuel under the program – with greenhouse gas emission reductions of 57 percent to 86 percent – biodiesel is also eligible to help meet general advanced biofuels requirements under the program.
Representatives of the U.S. biodiesel industry are urging Congress to pass a seamless extension of the biodiesel tax incentive. The $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit is slated to expire on Dec. 31. Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate to extend it for three years. Proponents of the bill testified this week in a hearing on alternative energy tax incentives, held by the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on energy, natural resources and infrastructure.
“This tax incentive is a job creator and Congress will be putting jobs in jeopardy if it adjourns without passing an extension,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).
The tax incentive was allowed to expire in 2010 but was reinstated this year. Since the reinstatement, the biodiesel industry has set a new production record of more than 802 million gallons through October. That is more than double last year’s volume of about 315 million gallons. Increased production supports more than 31,000 jobs this year while generating at least $3 billion in gross domestic product and $628 million in federal, state and local tax revenues, according to a recent economic study conducted by CardnoENTRIX, an international economics consulting firm.
“Stable, long-term federal incentives are necessary for this industry to continue to grow,” Paul Soanes, president and CEO of Texas-based Renewable Biofuels, Inc (RBF) said at the hearing.
Soanes said RBF has increased production at its plant in Port Neches, Texas from 9 million gallons in 2010 to more than 62 million gallons this year, hiring new employees and investing in capital improvements. Similar stories are taking place within the biodiesel industry across the United States.