SEIA Supports Florida Solar Bill

Floridians have a chance to vote in support of solar by supporting the Solar Choice 2016 ballot initiative. This grassroots community effort was launched as a means to allow more homes and businesses to generate electricity from solar. Florida is one of only five states in the nation that prohibits its citizens from buying electricity from companies that install solar panels on homes and businesses. Calling it vitally important to the development of clean energy resources in Florida, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has announced its “strong support” of the bill.

“This fight is about consumer choice and private property rights – cherished, long-standing American principals that we strongly support as an organization and an industry,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. “Despite its sun-rich resources, Florida ranked only 20th in the nation last year in new installed solar capacity. For a state that touts itself as the ‘sunshine state,’ that’s a huge disappointment. Clearly, the legal prohibition against certain solar installations solar panels in agrepresents a serious roadblock to the development of clean, reliable solar energy statewide. We urge Floridians to sign this critically important, freedom-of-choice petition, allowing it to be placed on next year’s ballot.”

According to Florida law, 683,149 signatures are needed by February 1, 2016 to be included on the ballot. If ultimately successful, Resch said the ballot initiative could dramatically spur new solar development in Florida, providing the state with a big economic boost.

“Today, the U.S. solar industry employs 174,000 Americans nationwide – more than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined – and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into our economy,” Resch added. “This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for both the U.S. economy and our environment. It’s time for Florida to share in this growth, too.”

Report – Bioenergy Does Not Raise Prices

DBL Investors Renewable Electricity ReportThere has been a pervading argument that an increase in renewable energy in the U.S. will increase the price of energy. According to a new report, “Renewables Are Driving Up Electricity Prices. What Wait?” This is not true.

The paper was authored by Nancy E. Pfund & Anand Chhabra with DBL Investors examines the 100 year old utility business model by looking at the top and bottom states that derive electricity from renewable sources.

The report finds that over the past 10 years, greater generation from renewable energy sources, or bioenergy, did not equate to skyrocketing electricity prices. In fact, states that generate a larger proportion of their electricity from renewable sources often experienced average retail electricity prices significantly below states that are producing less renewable electricity.

Ethanol Advocate on a Mission

ace-flyin-15-couserIowa cattle producer and ethanol advocate Bill Couser was a man on a mission this week in Washington DC with the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Fly-In.

Couser finally got a sit down with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to talk about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and other issues. “I was able to schedule a half hour with her and I took the cattle industry and the ethanol industry in there and we sat down there as one,” said Couser. “The impression we got from Gina is that she’s there to work with us.”

Couser is co-chair of the Iowa-based America’s Renewable Future, which recently helped to sponsor the Iowa Ag Summit where potential presidential candidates were interviewed live about their views on important agricultural issues, including the RFS. At that event, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who just became the first to officially throw his hat in the ring for the Republican presidential race, stated his opposition to the RFS and Couser had a chance to speak with him about it. “He’s a man from Texas who is set in his ways,” said Couser. “We’re looking forward to the future and visiting with him more.”

Listen to an interview with Bill from the ACE fly-in here: Interview with Bill Couser, America's Renewable Future


2015 ACE Fly-In Photo Album

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/Solar Power, Inc. has announced that it has entered into a Joint Development Agreement with SG Panama Solar LLC, a division of SDL Solar, to develop, build, own and operate solar assets. The agreement calls for SPI to provide technical and financial support to complete the development and implementation of over 100 MW of identified solar projects in the Republic of Panama by establishing a joint venture with SG Panama Solar LLC, in which SPI will hold a controlling interest.
  • SunEdison, Inc. has announced that it plans to purchase up to 1,000 vanadium flow batteries (over 100 megawatt hours) from Imergy Power Systems, a leader in advanced energy storage solutions. The vanadium flow batteries will be used to store solar-generated electricity for SunEdison’s rural electrification and solar powered minigrid projects in India.
  • Blackbird International Corporation (BBRD), a global leader in renewable sea wave energy technology, is in the process of arranging a visit to Grenada in order to begin negotiations in the private and public sectors to implement its sea wave energy system. BBRD with their partner in the Caribbean, Mr. Jarvis of SEEDSOWERS corporation, have been in communication with top ranking government personnel in order to introduce BBRD’s sea wave energy technology power stations in the region and help the Government battle the energy crisis – a result of the lately constant El Ninue seasons and storms that have caused so much upheaval in the region.
  • Green Charge Networks has announced a strategic partnership with one of Japan’s largest trading houses, ITOCHU Corporation. ITOCHU will distribute, supply and procure Green Charge Networks’ intelligent energy storage solutions internationally. The agreement enables Green Charge to expand its footprint into new markets both in Japan and other international regions. ITOCHU has more than 130 offices in 65 countries worldwide with over $53 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2013.

Ethanol Fly-In Focus on RFS

ace-fly-15-ronThe American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and more than 70 of its members have been in Washington, DC this week meeting with lawmakers, administration officials, and top staff members as part of the group’s “Biofuels Beltway March” annual fly-in.

The group had 160 meetings with lawmakers or their staff representing 43 states scheduled during the two day event with a primary focus on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and ACE President Ron Alverson of Dakota Ethanol was pleased with how the meetings went Tuesday. “It was really a stark contrast to the last few years we’ve been out here in that these folks really know the RFS now,” he said.

Alverson noted in particular meetings that he had with senators from Arkansas and Delaware who had concerns about poultry feed costs, but they were able to find areas of common ground. “One of them is energy security and the other is the low cost fuel we produce,” he said. “I thought we had really constructive conversations.”

Listen to Jamie Johansen’s interview with Alverson here: Interview with ACE president Ron Alverson


2015 ACE Fly-In Photo Album

Standards Released for 20% Biodiesel Heating Oil

ASTMlogoNew standards have been released for up to 20 percent blends of biodiesel in heating oil. The National Biodiesel Board says ASTM International, an organization which sets industry consensus standards for fuels, released new performance specifications for blends of 6-to-20 percent biodiesel, a blend known as Bioheat fuel, with traditional heating oil. The existing No. 1 and No. 2 grades in ASTM D396 already cover 5 percent biodiesel or less.

“The oilheat industry is reinventing itself as a 21st century fuel by moving to higher blends of low carbon biodiesel and ultra low sulfur levels across the board,” said John Huber, president of the National Oilheat Research Alliance.

The new B6-B20 grade is a blend of all the parameters contained in the existing No. 1 and No. 2 oilheat grades, but adds parameters for stability and allows a slightly higher distillation temperature for the blends. The changes are the same as those for B6-B20 in on-and-off-road diesel fuel passed by ASTM in 2008.

“The data set behind these changes is one of the most extensive I’ve seen in more than 20 years at ASTM,” said Steve Howell of M4 Consulting, an ASTM Fellow who chairs the ASTM Biodiesel Task Force. “Having an official standard for higher biodiesel blends in heating oil will help foster consumer confidence, and give blenders and distributors a needed tool to incorporate more low carbon, ultra-low sulfur biodiesel into heating oil.”

Some Bioheat dealers say they have been selling B20 blend for a number of years already with no issues for their customers.

“The technical data with this ballot for the new B6-B20 grade verified what we have known for years — that B20 made with high quality biodiesel works well,” said Seth Obetz, president of Pennsylvania-based Bioheat distributor Worley and Obetz. “We have marketed high quality B20 for 14 years and our customers see fewer problems with B20 than with conventional heating oil.”

Cali 1st State to Generate 5+% Solar Power

A recent Today in Energy article states that California has become the first state to generate more than 5 percent of its annual utility-scale electricity generation from solar power. The EIA Electric Power Monthly reported that the state’s utility-scale (1 MW or larger) solar plants generated a record 9.9 million MWh (megawatt hours) of power in 2014. a 6.1 million MWh increase from 2013. California’s utility-scale solar production in 2014 was more than three times the output of the next-highest state, Arizona, and also more than all other states combined.

Today in Energy Cali SolarThe Today in Energy article cites the record achievement in part due to several large plants that were phased into operation in California during 2014, including two 550 MW solar photovoltaic plants, Topaz and Desert Sunlight (Phases 1 and 2), as well as the 377 MW Ivanpah (Phases 1, 2, and 3) and the 250 MW Genesis solar thermal plants. In total, nearly 1,900 MW of new utility-scale solar capacity was added, bringing the state’s utility-scale capacity for all solar technologies to 5,400 MW by the end of 2014.

California has promoted solar power through a series of state policies, including a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that requires electricity providers to obtain 33% of the power they sell from eligible renewable sources by 2020. In 2014, the state obtained 22% of its electricity from nonhydropower renewables including wind, solar, and biomass.

California also created incentives, including rebates and net-metering policies, to encourage rooftop and other small-scale solar capacity, whose generation is not captured in the above figure. By the end of 2014, more than 2,300 MW of small-scale solar capacity was installed on homes and businesses, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

The top three states in utility-scale solar generation in 2014 were California, Arizona, and Nevada. However, states with less-favorable solar resources, such as New Jersey and Massachusetts, also are among the top 10 states in total solar generation. All of the top 10 states—with the exception of Florida—have a renewable portfolio standard in place. Most of those policies include a specific target for solar power or customer-sited generation.

Egypt Solar Energy Market Report

The Egypt Solar Energy Association (ESEA) has a released a report detailing the growth of the Egyptian solar industry: “Egypt’s Solar Energy Market – FiT Program and Beyond 2015”. Over the past several weeks, solar has made gains with the announcement of 2.3 GW of power to be generated by photovoltaic energy within the next few years. In addition, leading international players have publicly announced new partnerships with local enterprises to bring proposed solar projects to fruition.

Egypt Solar Industry Association logoThe Egyptian government recently concluded the international Economic Development Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh with hopes of attracting $60 billion dollars in foreign direct investment, including billions for renewable energy.  As a result, there has been a wave of announcements from the solar industry declaring gigawatts of development and billions of dollars in investment, not only in PV power plants, but also in manufacturing facilities, research and development and training.

Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy has already begun to establish favorable policies and a regulatory framework to help make solar energy a true alternate large-scale source of Egypt’s energy mix.

Egypt SIA’s new market report provides detailed insights on the latest solar market developments as well as in-depth perspectives from some of the key stakeholders, including regulators, laws firms, developers and EPC contractors who are active in the emerging Egyptian solar energy market. In addition, the report offers a unique outlook on solar developments beyond the feed-in-tariff scheme; tracking opportunities in various industries and governorates across Egypt.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd. has officially announced the establishment of a local warehouse in Cape Town, South Africa. This new facility will initially store 500 kW of modules and will expand its storage capacity to 1MW later in 2015. Suntech established a full time presence in South Africa in 2014 as part of its expansion efforts in the region.
  • JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. has announced that all of its PV modules have passed the high-grade hailstone impact test conducted by TUV Rheinland. During the high-grade hailstone impact test, hailstones with a diameter of 45 millimeters strike the glass surface of JA’s modules at a speed of 30.7 meters per second (about 110.5 kilometers per hour). The anti-kinetic energy impact performance of JA modules is ten times the original industry standard.
  • Atlantic Wind & Solar, Inc. has announced it has completed construction on a 500 KW Utility Scale solar power plant in Mississauga, ON, Canada. The $3 million commercial rooftop installation, consisting of approximately 2,300 panels, is expected to produce 12,500 megawatt hours of power over the next 20 years supplying Ontario with clean reliable energy. The power will be sold under the provinces Feed-In-Tariff program.
  • Golden Age Resources, Inc. has announced a new Management Team and plans to launch its Latin American Initiatives, which has been carefully organized over the last several months. New officers and directors are Mr. Terence Byrne, President, CEO, SFO, and Director and Mr. Thomas Wolff, Vice President of Latin American Operations, and Director.

Growth Energy Points to Cruz Record on Biofuels

growth-energy-logoAs Texas Sen. Ted Cruz announces his candidacy for president, Growth Energy is reminding voters of what the ethanol group calls his “pro-fossil fuel, pro-drilling legislation attempts to kill the homegrown renewable fuels industry.” This news release points to Cruz’s American Energy Renaissance Act, which Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, says will promotes Big Oil and deny consumer choice.

“The recent legislation introduced by Senator Cruz is not only shortsighted in terms of a comprehensive energy policy, but it seeks to stifle all production and growth of homegrown, sustainable biofuels that help create American jobs and reduce our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels. This legislation fails to factor in the important role biofuels play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while also providing consumers with a choice and savings at the pump.

“Senator Cruz seems to believe that he is exercising leadership by attacking the only energy policy that has contributed to our economic, energy and national security. Yet Senator Cruz fails to challenge or acknowledge the excessive subsidies oil companies have received for 102 years and counting at the expense of the American taxpayer. Let’s be clear – this is not ‘profiles in courage,’ this is pandering to Big Oil.

“He says there are no benefits from renewable fuels; however, the Renewable Fuel Standard has helped reduce our dependence on foreign oil by nearly 50 percent, from 60 to 33 percent, saved consumers at the pump, cleaned our air and revitalized our rural economy. Furthermore, his legislation is a direct attack on America’s farmers, the backbone of this nation, who are working overtime to feed the world and fuel America.”

Growth concludes that Cruz’s legislation would take away the freedom of choice for consumers to choose higher performing, less expensive fuel for which there is a demand.

Proterra EV Buses Travel Million Miles

Proterra battery-electric(EV) buses have been driven one million miles. The company recently congratulated its customers on achieving the EV industry milestone and held a celebratory event at its plant in Greenville, S.C. where they honored their transit agency partners for their leadership as EV pioneers.

Each transit agency was honored with award commemorating their early adoption of EV bus technology and acknowledging their role in building the future of mass transit and sustainable urban mobility.

Proterra battery electric busCustomers receiving the awards were: Foothill Transit (Pomona, Calif.), WRTA (Worcester, Mass.), the City of Seneca, S.C./Clemson Area Transit, RTC Washoe (Reno, Nev.), TARC (Louisville, Ky.), VIA Metropolitan Transit (San Antonio, Texas), San Joaquin RTD (Stockton, Calif.), and StarMetro (Tallahassee, Fla.).

“Reaching our 1,000,000th mile in revenue service is a significant milestone, not just for Proterra, but for the entire transit industry,” said Proterra President and CEO Ryan Popple. “Along with our forward-thinking and highly valued transit agency partners, we can offer the world a million proof points to bolster the fact that electric vehicles not only offer great performance, but represent the best total cost of ownership and environmental option for transit agencies.”

By combining performance, efficiency and flexibility, Proterra buses offer the lowest per passenger cost and environmental impact of any transit bus technology—electric, diesel, hybrid or natural gas. Proterra has now received orders from 14 different transit agencies in cities across North America. Over the course of their 1,000,000 miles in service, Proterra customers have saved nearly 250,000 gallons of fossil fuel and have eliminated nearly 3.5 million pounds of emissions from being released into the environment.

Bennet Files Amendment for Bridge to Tax Reform

Trade groups are calling for national support of the Bennet Amendment for Bridge to Tax Reform. U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) has filed an amendment to the annual budget resolution being considered this week by the Senate that would make room for renewable and efficiency tax credits. The amendment specifies “a fund for “creating clean energy jobs, including extending over a reasonable period of time, as a bridge to tax reform, expired and expiring tax credits for renewable energy production and investment.”

The renewable tBennet Tax Reform Amendment Trade Group Supportersrade groups endorsed the amendment in a letter:

Dear Senator:

The U.S. Senate begins debate this week on the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Resolution. Senator Michael Bennet will be offering an amendment (#715) which expresses support for the extension of expired and expiring federal tax credits for renewable energy production and investment as the bridge to tax reform. On behalf of the thousands of American companies and over 500,000 Americans working in the renewable energy sector, we strongly encourage you to support the Bennet Amendment.

Over the past five years, nearly 44% of all new domestic power generation capacity has come from renewable energy resources, including more than 56% of all new power generation capacity in 2014 – surpassing all other energy sources. The investment tax credit (ITC) and the production tax credit (PTC) have been the primary federal policy drivers for this growth, spurring private sector investment, creating jobs, and driving down costs significantly, making renewable and clean technologies more cost competitive.

The clean energy sector has the potential to be one of the greatest engines of middle class job growth in the 21st century, while providing our nation with secure sources of clean and renewable domestic energy. To realize that objective, however, we must have a supportive and certain tax policy environment.

Again, on behalf of our thousands of member companies and more than half a million Americans working in our industries, we ask you to send an unambiguous signal of support for clean and renewable energy. Please vote for the Bennet Amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution in support of continuing tax incentives for clean and renewable domestic energy sources.

The letter is signed by representatives of the Solar Energy Industries Association, American Wind Energy Association, Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, Geothermal Energy Association, American Biogas Council, Energy Recovery Council, National Hydropower Association, Biomass Power Association, Distributed Wind Energy Association and Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/European Wind Energy Association Chief Executive Officer Thomas Becker is stepping down as the head of the association for personal reasons after two years of service Following his appointment in December 2012, Mr. Becker outlined his vision for an industry group that placed renewed emphasis on how the wind energy sector could contribute to jobs, exports and green growth. EWEA’s Deputy CEO Malgosia Bartosik will lead the association and assume the responsibilities of the CEO during this transitional period.
  • Dyadic International, Inc. has announced today the appointment of Jack Kaye to the Board of Directors, effective April 1, 2015. Mr. Kaye will serve on the audit and compensation committees. With the addition of Mr. Kaye, there will be seven members on the Dyadic Board.
  • Developing Swaziland’s vast renewable energy resources would provide substantial socio-economic benefits for its population, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The report estimates that bagasse could meet half of all domestic electricity demand while solar power could contribute substantially to the remaining demand. More than 76 per cent of Swaziland’s current electricity supply comes from imports, predominantly from South Africa. Electricity import tariffs in Swaziland doubled between 2009 and 2012 and are expected to continue this upward trend.
  • Greenergy, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of waste based biodiesel, has earned the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) sustainability certification for the production of biodiesel from used cooking oil at its facilities in Immingham and North Cave. RSB is recognized by NGOs as the ” most comprehensive and ambitious” biomaterials sustainability certification program in the world. RSB provides a holistic approach towards sustainability assurance, covering social, environmental, economic and operational aspects in its analysis.

ICM Celebrates 20 Years of Ethanol Innovations

icm_anniversary_logo_01Kansas-based ICM, Inc. is celebrating 20 years of innovating in the ethanol and renewable fuels industry. The company credits the passion of its people for its longevity and its ability to design more than 100 ethanol plants.

“I think 20 Years of Innovation is an appropriate way to describe the life of the company,” says ICM President Chris Mitchell. “It started out as a small group of people who had to come together and figure out what they were going to do when they started the business. Over the years, it transformed into a larger family of people who’ve had to come together and figure out how to best meet the needs of an evolving industry.”

Some of these needs have led to the development of key innovations such as improved dryers, greenfield plants, Corn Oil Separation, Selective Milling Technology™, Fiber Separation Technology™, and Gen 1.5 Grain Fiber to Cellulosic Ethanol Technology™.

Reflecting on the company’s history, ICM CEO Dave Vander Griend says, “There was kind of a defining moment in time when a lot of things — like policy, public perception, and technology — all came together to help ethanol find its place. I feel fortunate to have been there, to have the background I had at the time, and to be surrounded by a good group of people and industry partners who could rally together and really grab ahold of the thing and help it grow.”

You can learn more about ICM on the company’s 20th anniversary web page.

EPA, Justice Settle with Utah RIN Violator

epa-150The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have reached a settlement with a Utah-based company that was alleged to have generated more than 7.2 million invalid renewable fuel credits worth more than $2 million. This news release from the EPA says Washakie Renewable Energy, LLC generated the Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs, from the company’s Plymouth, Utah facility in 2010.

During that time, however, Washakie did not produce any biodiesel at the Plymouth facility. The biodiesel associated with the 7.2 million RINs would have accounted for a reduction of emissions equivalent to more than 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Washakie has purchased and retired from the market an equivalent number of RINs, which achieved this reduction of emissions.

Renewable fuel producers and importers generate RINs for each gallon of renewable fuel in the U.S. market that meets greenhouse gas emissions reduction standards established under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Washakie will pay a $3 million penalty under the settlement, which was lodged today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“This case is another example of EPA’s commitment to maintain the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard program,” said Cynthia Giles, EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Making sure producers are supporting their claims with production of actual renewable fuels is critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling climate change.”

“The defendant made quite a profit by failing to adhere to the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Program regulations,” said Assistant Attorney General Cruden. “The penalty here sends the message that renewable fuel producers will be held accountable for meeting all legal requirements. The Department of Justice remains committed to taking the profit out of illegal activity.”

The EPA says this is the first case under the second Renewable Fuels Standards in which, as a part of a settlement, EPA secured the replacement of invalid RINs by the producer of those RINs. That takes the burden off the buyers of the RINs who bought them to meet EPA compliance issues.