At last week’s Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC) 2008, Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced that USDA will accept almost $221 million in loan and grant applications within USDA’s Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program.
“As demand for energy rises, these renewable energy loans and grants help farms and rural small businesses increase their investment in renewable energy initiatives,” said Schafer.
Eligible applicants may seek loan guarantees to cover up to 50 percent of a project’s cost up $10 million and grants are available for up to 25 percent of a project’s cost, not to exceed $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements and $500,000 for renewable energy systems. USDA Rural Development has invested $674 million in more than 1,763 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects since 2001 including ethanol, biodiesel, wind, solar, geothermal, methane gas recovery systems and biomass.
Schafer also announced the award of $4 million to help 17 small businesses and community groups find more innovative uses of woody biomass from national forests in new products and renewable energy. The grants will help create markets for small-diameter woody material, damaged and other low-valued trees removed to reduce the risk of fire hazard, insect infestation or disease.
Coming up this week in Omaha is the National 25x’25 Renewable Energy Summit.
The conference will feature leading renewable energy experts from across the nation. More than two dozen pre-eminent authorities on biofuels, biomass, wind, solar and other land-based renewable energy sources will address the summit.
Presenters will include Dr. Steven Chu, Nobel laureate and director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Dr. Lowell Catlett, a Regents Professor at New Mexico State University and renowned futurist; Charles Zimmerman, Wal-Mart Vice President; Doug Berven, Director of Corporate Affairs for POET; Susan Sloan, communications specialist with the American Wind Energy Association; Melinda Kimble, Senior Vice President, United Nations Foundation; Former Rep. Charlie Stenholm, 26-year veteran of the House of Representatives; Jay Wolf, past president of Nebraska Cattlemen and a current member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association board, and Terry Francl, senior economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The conference will be held March 11-13.
The first large-scale ethanol plant in Texas will hold its grand opening this weekend near Hereford.
Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen says the opening of plants like White Energy outside of the traditional ethanol producing area of the country is critical to the continued growth of this industry.
“No longer are Midwesterners the only Americans to realize the benefits of renewable fuels,” said Dinneen. “Texas is now moving beyond the petroleum industry towards a more sustainable energy future. Congratulations to White Energy and the people of Texas on beginning production at this new facility and for their commitment to helping set America on a path toward greater energy independence.”
The plant will produce 100 million gallons of ethanol per year and use 36 million bushels of corn and milo per year, almost all of it grown locally.
In addition to this newest plant, White Energy owns and operates two ethanol production plants: a 50-million-gallon plant in Russell, Kansas and a 110-million-gallon plant scheduled to begin operation in 2008 in Plainview, Texas.
Automaker Volvo has unveiled seven trucks that the company sees as the future for long-haul transportation in the country.
This story in Land Line Magazine says Volvo officials debuted the trucks at the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference in Washington, DC:
The trucks, powered by everything from biodiesel and ethanol to biogas and hydrogen, are touted by the company as being carbon dioxide neutral. That means they don’t add any carbon dioxide to the air through the combustion process.
A number of concerns, including skyrocketing fuel prices, the realization that fossil fuels won’t be around forever, and climate change prompted Volvo officials to prove that trucks could be run on virtually any type of renewable fuel.
Volvo Group CEO Leif Johannson said by building trucks that can run on alternative and renewable fuels, Volvo addresses uncertainty that political leaders may have as they move forward on policies that will reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
“I used to say we could run a truck on anything, even vanilla sauce,” Johannson said with a laugh during a roundtable discussion following the unveiling. “We can’t do that, but that’s about the only thing.”
The trucks run on biodiesel, synthetic diesel, methanol/ethanol, dimenthyether, biogas, and hydrogen (some of them even run on a combination of different fuels).
Volvo officials want to make sure they are prepared… no matter what the alternative fuel of choice will be.
The Washington International Energy Conference wrapped up Thursday after three days of discussions, presentations and networking between more than 7,000 representatives from over 100 countries.
The United States pledged to continue its leadership in renewable energy through efforts coordinated by multiple agencies. For example, USDA will work on the development and cultivation of switchgrass for the production of cellulosic ethanol, and drive up markets and demand for woody biomass and biobased products.
“Renewable energy presents a promising opportunity for the farm economy,” said Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer. “Coupled with a strong commitment from USDA, our goal sets renewable fuels on the pathway as a regular and reliable source in the energy mix,” Schafer said.
Ministers and representatives from other countries also shared their pledges with the conference, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, Denmark, Germany, Jordan, New Zealand, and Norway.
A Minnesota company has developed a process to convert waste beverages into fuel.
Diversified Ethanol, a subsidiary of Greenbelt Resources Corporation, is focused on producing valuable renewable energy from waste substances that are produced by breweries and soft drink manufacturers.
According to a company release, Diversified Ethanol designs and builds small scale, modular ethanol plants that utilize existing waste as feedstocks which can be converted to ethanol or biodeisel. For example, using their proprietary technology, breweries, beverage recycling and food processing facilities can now convert their liquid waste into ethanol and a new revenue stream. A 5 million gallon per year plant is currently under construction for a major soda recycler in Southern California and is expected to be in operation by this summer.
What’s being billed as “the premier technical conference for solar energy and energy efficiency professionals in the U.S.,” SOLAR 2008 is set for May 3rd-8th in, appropriately enough, sunny San Diego, California.
This conference is in its 37th year and offers people in the solar industry information on emerging trends, technological breakthroughs, industry insight, and connections needed to stay ahead:
With the energy industry changing at an unprecedented pace, this conference helps you understand the changes and uncover the opportunities. It examines the most timely topics of the day, and introduces you to the industry leaders, innovators, and exhibitors who are shaping the industry.
SOLAR 2008 explores the theme “Catch the Clean Energy Wave”. Sessions will address the growing movement towards sustainable energy – as a key component in climate recovery, a healthy economy, a secure energy future – and the trillion-dollar opportunity it brings. Don’t get left behind. Attend SOLAR 2008 and discover where the industry is headed.
Who should attend:
* Researchers and scientists
* Dealers and installers
* Architects and green builders
* Policy-makers and utility representatives
* Investors, entrepreneurs, and analysts
* Industry professionals, career-changers, and students who want to position themselves for the future
To get more information and to register click here.