Report: Renewable Energy Can Increase 27%

According to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the U.S. can increase its use of renewable energy from 7.5 percent to 27 percent in 2030. “Renewable Energy Prospects: United States of America,” (ReMap 2030) also concludes the U.S. can increase its use of renewable energy in power generation from 14 per cent to almost 50 percent by 2030, making it the world’s second largest renewable energy user after China.

“As the second largest energy consumer in the world, the U.S. must continue to play a leading role in the global transition to a sustainable energy future,” said Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of IRENA. “The recent agreement between the U.S. and China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a groundbreaking step, but this report aims even higher, showing that more ReMap 2030can be done at limited cost.”

The reports predicts that based on current policies in place, the share of renewable energy in the U.S. energy mix will only reach 10 percent by 2030. REmap 2030 estimates that an annual investment of USD 86 billion between now and 2030 is required to reach the 27 percent renewables mark – an increase of USD 38 billion annually beyond a business-as-usual scenario. But, the report argues, the higher renewable share will result in an annual savings of USD 30 to 140 billion by 2030 when accounting for factors like human health and reduced emissions.

“REmap 2030 shows that the US could install significantly higher amounts of renewables – and that it can do so affordably,” said Amin. “Even in a country with cheap shale gas like the U.S., renewable energy is still cost competitive and reduces air pollution, enhances energy security, benefits the economy, and plays a leading role in fighting climate change.”

The report is part of IRENA’s renewable energy roadmap, REmap 2030, which provides a plan to double the share of renewable energy in the world’s energy mix by 2030 and determines the potential for the U.S. and other countries to scale up renewable energy in the energy system, including power, industry, buildings, and the transport sector.

SunEdison & Omnigrid Bring Solar to India

SunEdison and Omnigrid Micropower Company Pvt. Ltd. have signed a framework agreement to develop 5,000 rural projects, representing 250 megawatts (MW) of electricity, throughout India over the next three to five years. Nearly 400 million people in India have no access to electricity. For those who do, the options are fossil fuel-based and expensive. To bring more reliable power to the country, SunEdison and Omnigrid will build upon the 36 kW micro power plants OMC Power has already put in place with the goal of bringing affordable renewable electricity to 10 million people.

“There are approximately 1.5 billion people that do not have access to electricity and another 1.5 billion people that don’t have reliable, 24/7 electricity. What is most exciting about this partnership is that SunEdison is embarking on its purpose of transforming lives in a very big way,” said Ahmad Chatila, President and Chief Executive Officer of SunEdison. “Solar solar electricity in Indiaelectricity costs have come down dramatically and continue to come down, thus making it a better choice than conventional fossil sources. We don’t have to make a false choice between cost and clean power any more. While a 1 gigawatt (GW) coal power plant can take 3 to 4 years to be developed and constructed, and a nuclear power plant of similar capacity can take 5 to 10 years, a solar photovoltaic power plant can be developed and built in less than a year and can compete on costs.”

SunEdison and OMC Power say they have developed a ready-to-scale solution that will provide reliable electricity for many poor communities. The companies explains their partnership leverages the expertise of each company, including technical know-how, local and telecom knowledge from OMC and project development and financing expertise from SunEdison. SunEdison and OMC have an offering that can help telecommunication organizations meet their regulatory requirements and provide energy to local communities while still going off-grid.

The co-founders of OMC Power, Anil Raj and Rohit Chandra, added, “Our Renewable Energy Services Company model is a proven and commercially viable approach which provides an immediate and substantial improvement in the quality of life in energy-deprived areas, while stimulating economic growth and prosperity. Our agreement with SunEdison is a huge step forward both for our company and for the people of rural India.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/BlueRock Energy and ReEnergy Black River LLC have entered into a services agreement to support ReEnergy’s delivery of power from its 60 MW ReEnergy Black River bioenergy facility to the Fort Drum U.S. Army installation near Watertown, New York. Under the agreement, BlueRock Energy is performing load forecasting, scheduling and delivery services from the plant to Fort Drum and other wholesale support services designed to provide ReEnergy timely and accurate power delivery services under ReEnergy’s agreement with Fort Drum.
  • Pacific Ethanol has announced its agreement with Dresser-Rand to install a 3.5 megawatt cogeneration system with gradual oxidizer at its Stockton, CA plant for approximately $12 million. The cogeneration system will displace purchased electricity by using Ener-Core, Inc.’s innovative gradual oxidizer technology to convert waste gas from ethanol production and natural gas into electricity and steam. With this technology, the plant will have among the lowest air emissions in the ethanol industry.
  • Paul Brophy has been elected by his peers on the Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) Board of Directors to be the next President. He replaces Louis E. Capuano, Jr., who remains on the Board of Directors as Past President. Brophy is currently President of EGS Inc. and has over 45 years worldwide experience in the field of energy and natural resources, of which 35 years has been in the geothermal industry based in Santa Rosa, California.
  • RES America Developments Inc. has entered into a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc. for 114 MW of wind energy and associated renewable energy credits in the Thumb of Michigan. The wind power will be sourced from the Deerfield Wind Energy project, which is located in Huron County, Michigan. The project is located on approximately 20,000 acres in the townships of Huron, Bloomfield, Dwight, and Lincoln. There are more than 215 local landowners are participating in Deerfield Wind Energy and will receive landowner royalty payments from the project.

US Ethanol Exports Hit High, DDGS Drop in Nov.

RFANewlogoExports of U.S. ethanol hit a nearly three-year high, while shipments of dried distillers grains (DDGS) slipped in November of 2014. In a piece from Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Senior Vice President Geoff Cooper, the biggest share of the 90.9 million gallons of ethanol, a 15 percent increase from just a month earlier, went to India and a couple of customers in the Western Hemisphere.

India was the top destination for U.S. product in November, receiving 27.6 mg, or 30% of total shipments. Canada and Brazil were other top customers for the month. Year-to-date exports through November stood at 760.2 mg, implying an annualized total for calendar year 2014 of 829.3 mg.

In a reversal from historical trends, shipments of undenatured fuel ethanol accounted for the majority of November exports. Undenatured fuel ethanol exports totaled 65.9 mg, an all-time monthly record and up 143% from October. India was the leading importer of undenatured product at 27.6 mg, followed by Brazil at 17.0 mg and South Korea at 6.1 mg. The volumes shipped to India and South Korea represented the largest-ever monthly volumes sent to those markets. The Philippines (5.4 mg) and Nigeria (3.3 mg) were other top destinations for undenatured fuel ethanol…

November exports of U.S. distillers dried grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product manufactured by dry mill ethanol plants—slid 19% from October to their lowest monthly level since March 2013. The decrease in November DDGS exports was reflective of the continued collapse of the Chinese market. Total DDGS exports for the month were 631,721 metric tons (mt), with Mexico (127,189 mt), Turkey (103,331 mt), and Canada (64,186 mt) again occupying the top three positions. After importing an average of 539,000 mt per month from March to August, China took in just 4,689 mt in November. Still, year-to-date DDGS exports stood at 10.59 million mt, meaning the U.S. achieved a new annual export record in 2014.

At the same time, U.S. ethanol imports hit a five-month high in November, but RFA officials say the numbers were still relatively low at just 4.9 million gallons. Year-to-date 2014 imports through November were just 72.4 million gallons, implying an annualized total of nearly 79.0 million gallons.

Algae.Tec to Expand Biodiesel Ops into China

algaeteclogoAustralia-based Algae.Tec will bring its algae-biodiesel technology into China. This story from Proactive Investors says Algae.Tec will issue a $500,000 convertible bond to China Finance Strategies Investment Holdings (CFS), with another $5 million in conditional options to come.

CFS has extensive relationships in China with its key executives having completed over 250 fundraising and advisory transactions in Greater China Region and invested in over 20 projects involving around US$1.5 billion.

Both companies will jointly explore commercial scale opportunities for Algae.Tec’s technology across Greater China incorporating the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

Algae.Tec expects its algae based renewable fuel and carbon capture technology to play a meaningful role in contributing to the Strategic Targets China has set for itself.

The potential for biodiesel projects could be helped by a recent U.S.-China agreement on greenhouse gas emission targets.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/China Ming Yang Wind Power has announced that its 6.0MW Super Compact Drive wind turbine generator has won the silver award of the Best Offshore Wind Turbines in the Windpower Monthly Turbines of the Year Awards 2014.
  • The South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a preferred bidder status for a 100 megawatt (MW) Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) project to a consortium led by SolarReserve, and International Company for Water and Power Projects (ACWA Power), the Saudi water and power developer, owner and operator. The project was developed in response to the DOE’s Round 3 (CSP) Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). The Redstone Solar Thermal Power project, with the lowest tariff bid to date from any CSP project in the country, is scheduled to achieve financial close later in 2015 and commence operations in early 2018.
  • Sunrun and Investec Inc. and Investec Bank plc have announced the close of $195 million of senior credit facilities to support the growth of Sunrun’s residential solar business. Sunrun will use the funds to help more Americans install high quality solar systems on their homes and reduce their electricity costs. This is Sunrun’s first syndicated financing and signifies a new source of capital for the company.
  • Blattner Energy has joined the board of directors for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). A premier EPC contractor in renewable energy construction, Blattner Energy has more than a century of experience leveraging new technologies and applying core competencies in emerging markets.

What’s Your Opinion on US Ag Coalition for Cuba?

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What do you think were the biggest ag stories of 2014?”

We were not limited on the number of important ag stories in 2014. It looks like RFS and the drought in the West topped this poll. Immigration and agriculture documentaries were a few others people added to the list. 2015 has already started off with a bang. It will be interesting to see what the year brings.

Here are the poll results:

  • New Farm Bill – 11%
  • Water of the US rule – 5%
  • California drought – 24%
  • PED virus in swine – 8%
  • High meat prices – 5%
  • Transportation issues – 10%
  • No RFS numbers from EPA – 24%
  • Trade issues – 5%
  • Other – 8%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, What do you think about new US Ag Coalition for Cuba?

More than 25 companies and organizations recently launched the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) in Washington to liberalize trade and re-establish Cuba as a market for U.S. food and agriculture exports. In this week’s ZimmPoll, we want to know what you think about it. Will it benefit all aspects of the ag industry or is it too soon?

Market Challenges, Fed Policy Talk at Biodiesel Conf.

2015biodieselconflogo1World energy market challenges and federal policies have had some major impacts on the biodiesel industry as 2014 closed out. That’s why this month, as a new year begins, attendees of the annual National Biodiesel Conference and Expo, January 19 – 22 at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Texas, will talk about what the petroleum glut and the delay of federal renewable fuels volume requirements for gas and diesel mean for biodiesel.

“With a new Congress convening in Washington, DC, promising significant new legislation aimed at biofuels and the energy sector, it just makes sense that we will be highlighting some of these same issues in the heart of the of domestic oil and gas industry,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).

[E]nergy policy will be front-and-center of the discussions, with state and federal experts on all sides of the issue presenting their views and expectations.

Of particular importance to biofuel producers is the fate of the Renewable Fuel Standard, the federal policy enacted under President George W. Bush with bipartisan support that ensures minimum volumes of biodiesel and other renewables are blended into the fuel supply. The year ended clouded in controversy as the EPA never finalized a rule for 2014’s volume requirements.

“Without a rule in place,” Jobe said, “biodiesel producers are hesitant to invest in their businesses and employees. In some cases, the uncertainty over the EPA potentially scaling back volume requirements has led some producers to shutter plants and lay off staff. The industry needs confidence that the federal government is committed to advanced biofuels and supportive of our growth.”

The 12th annual conference and expo also includes:

An opportunity for attendees and the public to test biodiesel vehicles at a unique ride-and-drive experience;
Automakers and fleets will display their latest cars and trucks at the vehicle showcase;
Texas fleet managers will share their experiences with biodiesel and how it’s making a difference in the Lone Star State;
A session on biodiesel infused heating oil shaking up the industry, and much, much more.

But energy policy will be front-and-center of the discussions, with state and federal experts on all sides of the issue presenting their views and expectations.

More information and registration is available at biodieselconference.org.

Fed Policy Blamed for Iowa Biodiesel Production Dip

IowaRFAlogoThe nation’s leader in biodiesel production remained that way in 2014, but federal policy is being blamed for Iowa’s dip from 2013’s record biodiesel numbers. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) says the state’s biodiesel production was 227 million gallons in 2014, down slightly from the 2013 record of 230 million gallons.

For the vast majority of 2014, Congress allowed the federal biodiesel blenders tax credit to expire, renewing it only in mid-December, too late to spur meaningful demand. At the same time, the EPA went through the entire year without setting a biodiesel number for the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). That one-two punch led to a nationwide biodiesel production reduction. Due to Iowa’s state-level biodiesel production tax credit, producers in Iowa were able to essentially maintain production in the face of the federal uncertainty.

“Iowa continues to lead in the production of biodiesel,” stated IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Not surprisingly, the lapse of the federal biodiesel credit and uncertainty over EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard proposal resulted in an industry slow down. Due to favorable state policies, Iowa was able to weather the storm better than most states.”

Shaw says federal uncertainty still hangs over 2015, but if a strong and growing RFS and a multi-year federal biodiesel tax credit extension is renewed, he believes the biodiesel industry would take a strong step forward.

Oregon Moves Forward with Clean Fuels Program

or-deqThe Oregon Environmental Quality Commission this week approved phase two of the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, which seeks to cut greenhouse gases by lowering the carbon content in Oregon transportation fuels. The new rules, developed by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, will go into effect February 1.

RFANewlogoThe Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is pleased that the commission decided to exclude indirect emissions when calculating the carbon intensity of various fuels regulated under the state’s Clean Fuels Program (CFP). “Oregon officials used common sense and good judgment in proposing and approving the framework for Phase 2 of the CFP. All fuels have indirect carbon effects,” said RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Oregon did the right thing by taking a careful approach to indirect effects and not putting the policy cart in front of the science horse. We hope other jurisdictions considering LCFS-like policies will follow the lead of Oregon and British Columbia when it comes to carbon intensity scoring.”

In its recommendations to the Commission, Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reported that “Recent data has shown that both food (human and animal) and fuel production has increased while the amount of land farmed has stayed constant.” Thus, DEQ proposed to exclude ILUC emissions for now and resolved to “…continue to monitor the status of technical work on this issue and will determine whether to recommend including ILUC and other indirect effects in a subsequent rulemaking, as appropriate.”

The Oregon CFP is similar to the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in that both programs aim for a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity (CI) of transportation fuels used in the state over a 10-year period. However, Oregon’s approach bases CI estimates only on verifiable, direct emission while the California LCFS uses predictive economic modeling scenarios to penalize certain biofuels for theoretical “indirect land use change” (ILUC) emissions, while assuming no other fuels induce any indirect GHG emissions at all, according to RFA.

Dinneen also pointed out that new real-world global land use data is casting doubt on scenarios used by California for the LCFS that penalize biofuels like ethanol.

Bill Introduced to Re-test E15 – Again

Anti-ethanol legislation has already been introduced this very first week of the brand new 114th Congress.

sensenbrenner-2On Tuesday, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced legislation to require additional testing for 15% ethanol blended fuel (E15), a bill he has repeatedly introduced over the past four years.

Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen says the bill would hinder the growth and expansion of E15 and would simply repeat extensive studies that have already been done on the higher-level fuel blend. “The study Mr. Sensenbrenner seeks has been done. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy undertook the most exhaustive analysis ever conducted prior to approving the 211(f) fuel waiver. But even more significantly, E15 has been driven more than 100 million miles by consumers without a single reported case of engine failure or performance problems,” said Dinneen. “The rest of the world has moved beyond the hyperbolic angst about E15 and has accepted the fact that higher level ethanol blends are good for consumers, good for air quality, and good for energy security. Mr. Sensenbrenner should as well.”

A recent RFA report found that nearly 70 percent of all new vehicles are approved by automakers for use of E15.

Bidding Ends on Ontario Biodiesel Plant

glb-logoAfter about a month on the auction block, the bidding period has ended for an Ontario, Canada biodiesel plant. But this article from the Welland (ON) Tribune says it will take a few days to see who gets the $50-million Great Lakes Biodiesel refinery.

In early October, the plant went into receivership as a result of court action by Luxembourg-based investment company Heridge SARL, which said in court it was only repaid half of a $20-million loan used to get GLB’s Welland plant off the ground.

In November, all of the assets of Great Lakes Biodiesel, including the Welland refinery and offices in Toronto, as well as other associated companies, were put up for sale in an open auction.

That bidding closed at 10 a.m. Wednesday, but Heridge SARL was the only bidder that could be confirmed. It submitted an initial offer that would have had to be beaten in order for the company to lose the sale.

A manager at GLB’s Welland facility said Wednesday he wasn’t authorized to speak about the plant or the bidding and directed all calls to KPMG. An official with KMPG, which is handling the GLB receivership proceedings, said he had been advised not to speak with the media.

City officials would only say they have a meeting scheduled this coming Monday with Heridge officials.

Whoever wins the bid will get a biodiesel ready to get back on line practically immediately.

West Coast Biodiesel, Ethanol on the Rise

logo_E2-1Advanced biofuels, especially biodiesel and ethanol, are on the rise on the West Coast. Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors and others promoting smart environmental policies, says fuel policies in Oregon, Washington state and California, as well as federal initiatives, have helped the country as a whole produce more than 800 million gallons of advanced biofuels in 2014.

“The advanced biofuel industry is meeting the growing demand for cleaner-burning transportation fuels,” said Solecki. “Americans who want more local jobs, cleaner air, and more homegrown energy should demand elected officials enact policies, right now, that will promote the growth of advanced biofuel.”

E2 defines advanced biofuel as liquid fuels made from non-petroleum sources that achieve a 50-percent reduction in carbon intensity compared to a petroleum-fuel baseline. Advanced biofuel companies included in the report range from small biodiesel businesses like Beaver Biodiesel in Oregon, which produces about 1 million gallons annually, to POET, which at facilities in South Dakota and Iowa produces more than 20 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol annually using corn stover, or waste from corn crops, as a primary feedstock.

“If state and federal leaders want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil – and support American farmers, businesses, and entrepreneurs – they should ensure this clean, cutting-edge industry can expand,” Solecki said.

The report highlights, in particular, how Oregon is considering Phase 2 rules of its Clean Fuels Program, which is expected to create as many as 29,000 jobs and save Oregon consumers and businesses up to $1.6 billion in fuel costs. In Washington state, a new clean fuel standard is being proposed that would increase the use of advanced biofuel. And California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard is being credited with lowering carbon emissions in that state.

The complete E2 report is available here.

Indiana Town Considering Sludge-to-Biodiesel Plan

An Indiana town is looking at a plan that would turn sewer sludge into biodiesel. This article from the Princeton (IN) Daily Clarion says that city is negotiating a contract with Terre Haute, just up the road, to haul away the sludge and make it into the green fuel.

Sewer plant superintendant Charlie Woodruff said Terre Haute works with a company that makes biodiesel out of the sludge.

He estimated that Princeton generates about 10,000 to 14,000 gallons of sludge per day.

Hurst said a report will be presented Jan. 20 to the board, comparing the cost of contracting for the sludge disposal with Terre Haute to the cost of the chemicals the city needs to use to try to mitigate the stink that wafts away from the plant on Richland Creek Drive, toward homes and local businesses.

According to the Terre Haute Tribune Star, that city is expected to produce 12 million gallons of biodiesel from its sludge-to-biodiesel program.

ChargePoint Home Debuts in the New Year

The new year has brought drivers of plug in electric vehicles (EV) a new way to charge at home. ChargePoint Home is now available and according to the company some notable features include its size as well as at its ultra-sleek, durable design – about the size of an average tablet.

ChargePoint Home“ChargePoint has spent years perfecting commercial charging stations, and with over 20,000 charging spots, we have built the largest EV charging network in the world. With our entrance into the single family home market, we are giving even more people the most advanced tools needed to confidently and conveniently drive an EV,” said ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano. “Smart homes, smart phones and smart cars. It makes sense to connect them to create a user-friendly, efficient and complete charging system at home.”

With ChargePoint Home, drivers can charge up to 25 miles per hour and easily manage the charger from their smartphone. Some of the key features include:

  • Scheduling through the ChargePoint app to minimize energy costs and work around your life
  • Remote start and stop charging
  • Set reminders to ensure you never forget to plug in
  • Different cord lengths available to fit any garage
  • Integration with your ChargePoint account to track all your charging information
  • Works with Nest Learning Thermostat

ChargePoint Home plugs into a standard 240V outlet and has a universal J1772 connector that is compatible with all cars and can be installed either indoors or outdoors. ChargePoint Home will be on the market this summer.