New York Most Energy Efficient State

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 12.14.57 PMOctober is National Energy Awareness Month and a great time for families and businesses to find ways to reduce their energy use. On average, a household spend nearly $2,000 a year on energy bills. To bring awareness of the impact of energy on American’s wallets, WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of the 2015’s Most and Least Energy Efficient States with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii.

WalletHub compared the efficiency of car and home energy consumption and hopes that the results will encourage consumers to conserve more.

Most Energy-Efficient States Least Energy-Efficient States
1 New York 39 Virginia
2 Vermont 40 Georgia
3 Minnesota 41 West Virginia
4 Wisconsin 42 North Dakota
5 Utah 43 Tennessee
6 Rhode Island 44 Arkansas
7 Colorado 45 Kentucky
8 California 46 Texas
9 Connecticut 47 Louisiana
10 Nevada 48 South Carolina

Some other interesting findings included: Utah’s weather-adjusted home-energy consumption is twice as efficient as Louisiana’s; and Florida’s car-energy consumption is twice as efficient as North Dakota’s. You can read the full report here as well as see how your state fairs.

Aemetis Harvests Record Sorghum Crop in Cali

Aemetis has announced the harvest of sorghum grown in Central California that grew between 12-15 feet tall. The 20 acre demonstration crop was grown using proprietary Nexsteppe seed genetics and harvested in 90 days by Aemetis. The water supply for the sorghum was lower quality pump water containing salts that typically damage crops in western San Joaquin Valley, an area with little water allocation for ag crops. The sorghum will be used to produce advance biofuels.

Aemetis California biomass plant“Nexsteppe’s sorghum is uniquely capable of growing a large amount of biomass in a short period of time using land that lacks quality water and where other plants may not grow,” said Eric McAfee, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis. “Biomass sorghum can be converted to cellulosic ethanol or a variety of other renewable fuels through various available technologies. Aemetis has already processed about 80 million pounds of grain sorghum at its Keyes biorefinery, producing lower-carbon fuel ethanol.”

The company is also a participant of the California In-State Sorghum program (CISS) through a $3 million grant awarded by the California Energy Commission. The CISS program combines research and market development to support the in-state growth of grain sorghum as a reliable low-carbon feedstock for California’s ethanol producers. The CISS program has just completed the first harvest of grain sorghum at the CSU Fresno International Center for Water Technology.

Aemetis’ 60 million gallon per year ethanol plant in California converts sugars to biofuels. The company has a multi-year strategy to transition its biofuel production from traditional starch-based feedstocks to renewable biomass feedstocks that can produce low-carbon, advanced biofuels. The transition is expected to evolve from corn to grain sorghum and ultimately to biomass sorghum and agricultural wastes available in California.

Anna Rath, CEO of NexSteppe, added, “Growing high-yield biomass sorghum in California is a milestone in the production of low-carbon feedstocks for biofuels. NexSteppe is focused on designing industrial sorghum feedstock solutions to support the growing biobased economy.”

BCSE Calls for Passage of Clean Energy Programs

More than 580 companies including the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) are calling for the passage of legislation that provides the extension of expired and expiring tax incentives designed to promote the growth of clean energy and clean energy technologies. The groups submitted a letter to Congress stressing to the federal lawmakers that,”Businesses and investors need stable, predictable federal tax policy to create jobs, invest capital, and deploy pollution-reducing energy technologies.”

“Businesses and investors need stable, predictable federal tax policy to create jobs, invest capital, and deploy pollution-reducing energy technologies. Allowing the lapsed clean energy tax provisions to languish undermines investor confidence and jeopardizes continued economic and environmental benefits,” said Lisa Jacobson, BCSE President.

2015FB_1According to the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and BCSE, the use of lower and zero carbon energy sources has grown rapidly over the past seven years. BCSE says the clean energy tax provisions have a proven track record of helping scale up production and drive down the cost of clean energy technologies, thereby ensuring that market-ready technologies are deployed to their full potential.

Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) whose organization was also a signer of the letter, said of the need for these programs to have multi-year extenders, “American wind power is building momentum right now, but Congress has yet to pass these critical tax incentives, and the clock is ticking. The U.S. wind energy industry has rebounded from the loss of 23,000 jobs in 2013 due to policy uncertainty, and we can grow to support 380,000 jobs by 2030 with stable policy. That’s why we join hundreds of other voices in the business community to call on Congress to take action now.”

Kelly Speakes-Backman, Senior Vice President of Policy and Research at the Alliance to Save Energy and also a letter signer added, “Extension of the clean energy tax incentives is a bipartisan issue. This extension will bring stability to a growing private industry, while reducing pollution from the energy sector. The Alliance endorses this business-oriented approach to strengthen our economy and encourage energy efficiency and clean technology investments.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1SkyPower has signed a landmark agreement with the Republic of Djibouti for the development of 200 MW of world-class solar projects to be built in four phases in Djibouti over the next four years. The company also announced alongside Prime Minister Hasina, its plans to build 2 GW of utility-scale solar energy over the next five years in Bangladesh, representing an investment of US $4.3 billion.
  • The American Wind Energy Association is hosting the Wind Energy Finance and Investment Seminar in New York October 14-15, 2015. Some of the wind’s most prominent CEOS will share their triumphs and challenges including: Mike Garland, President and CEO, Pattern Energy Group LP, and AWEA Board Chair; Michael Skelly, Founder and President, Clean Line Energy Partners; Chris Brown, President, Vestas Americas; Jacob Susman, CEO, Own Energy and VP, Head of Origination, EDF RE and Doug Frederickson, Vice President, Blattner Energy.
  • The African continent could generate nearly a quarter of its energy needs through the use of indigenous, clean, renewable energy by 2030, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Africa 2030 – a comprehensive roadmap for Africa’s energy transition – finds that a combination of modern renewable technology could realistically meet 22 per cent of Africa’s energy needs by 2030, a more than a four-fold increase from just five per cent in 2013. The report also finds that scaling up modern renewables in Africa is an affordable means to help meet fast-growing energy demand while increasing energy access, improving health and achieving sustainability goals.
  • Lignetics Inc. has announced the acquisition of the assets of GF Funding LLC (whose facility was formerly known as Geneva Wood Fuels), expanding its footprint into Maine and upper New England. Lignetics is the largest residential wood pellet manufacturing company in the U.S. which now has a production capacity of approximately 550,000 tons of wood pellets per year.

RFA Unveils New Website

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 10.24.58 AMThe Renewable Fuels Association has unveiled a new website this morning. With improved user experience, the new site has new and enhanced content to further improve ease of navigation and usability. RFA’s website will provide up-to-date market data as well as feature news of importance to the ethanol industry. In addition, users will be able to access ethanol industry statistics, RFA reports and studies and infographics. The website also features Google optimization and a responsive design that allows its display to be easily viewed of any mobile device, smartphone, laptop, or tablet.

“When we took on the task of redesigning the RFA website, our main goal was to greatly enhance the end-user experience,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “The functionality of the new website will make it a dynamic resource for those who are looking for the latest information on the ethanol industry. RFA will continue to vigorously advocate for policies that seek to provide a stable energy marketplace and allow consumers to have more choices at the pump; the new website is part of a set of tools, including the RFA mobile app, ‘RFA Advocacy,’ that will assist RFA in its efforts.”

For information on the RFA mobile app, visit:

German Quality Group to Test Biodiesel Heating Oil

AGQMThe German quality group AGQM (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Qualitaetsmanagement Biodiesel e. V.) will offer a test to assess oxidation stabilisers for Biodiesel (FAME) intended as blend component for heating oil. This news release from the group says the tests are meant to rule out probable harmful effects of the fuel itself as well as undesired interactions with other fuel components.

Since 2008 already, AGQM has offered a no-harm test for oxidation stabilisers used for Biodiesel blended to conventional Diesel fuel. Successfully tested products are published in AGQM’s ‘No-harm List’ which is available to the public and contributes considerably to improve the quality of Biodiesel blends.

The new test for oxidation stabilisers used for Biodiesel intended as blend component for heating oil is AGQM’s reaction to an increasing demand for Bio heating oil. Since this application of FAME must also be safely handled at all times and negative interactions with additives must not occur, this new test program was developed by AGQM in cooperation with the German mineral oil industry. In addition tests are carried out concerning the relative effectiveness to also be able to adapt the use of additives to the individual application from an economical point to view.

The registration deadline for this test is Oct. 16, 2015.

Deal to Provide Biodiesel to Utility Approved

pacificbiodieselA deal that would provide locally produced biodiesel to a Hawaiian utility received approval from regulators. This article from Pacific Business News says the deal was approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission and has Pacific Biodiesel Technologies providing the green fuel to Hawaiian Electric Co. for a 110-megawatt power generation facility.

The contract calls for Pacific Biodiesel to supply Hawaiian Electric with between 2 million gallons and 3 million gallons per year of biodiesel at a lower price than either of the biodiesel contracts currently in place.

Hawaiian Electric noted that the impact of $3 million in incremental savings on the typical 600 kilowatt-hour residential customer bill equates to a reduction of 30 cents per month, or a 0.2 percent decrease.

Iowa’s Renewable Energy Group Inc. has the current contract to provide biodiesel processed from waste fats and oils to the Campbell Industrial Park plant. That contract ends in November.

The article went on to say the new contract will use up half of Pacific Biodiesel’s production volume.

Sustainability’s Role In Farming

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What does sustainability mean to today’s farmers?”

We may not have an easy definition of sustainability, but it is clear most of us agree that it encompasses economics, the environment and social aspects.

Here are the poll results:

  • Economics – 6%
  • Environmental – 11%
  • Social – 0%
  • All of the above – 82%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, Where or how do you hunt?

Fall is in the air and for much of rural America it means hunting season. Guns are being cleaned and the camo is coming out. Do you hunt on your own property, with a group, on your own or not at all. Tell us in our latest ZimmPoll.

WiSER Encourges More Women in Energy

Many initiatives were launched during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City including the launch of the Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable energy (WiSER) Initiative. Founded by Abu Dhabil’s-based Masdar, a renewable energy company, and the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the goal is to empower women to be catalysts of innovation and the drivers of solutions to combat issues potentially aggravated by climate change including the need for renewable energy, clean water and access to food.

“As vital members of society, women are essential to building stronger and healthier economies. Nowhere is this need more important than in achieving a sustainable economic, environmental and energy future,” said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, United Arab Emirates Minister of State Chairman of Masdar. “WiSER aims to be both a platform for dialogue, new thinking and thought-provoking ideas, as well as a pathway for women to gain real-world experience and to build the skills necessary to be leaders of industry, and drivers of commercial solutions.”

wiser_launch__cloudDuring the launch event at the Plaza Hotel, leadership from Masdar and the Zayed Future Energy Prize unveiled key elements of the WiSER initiative designed to promote the important role that women play in industries related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). WiSER also announced that the group will convene regularly in cities around the world to encourage participation in these fields.

“The WiSER initiative plays a critical role in connecting networks and building relationships across different communities to improve decision-making for sustainable development,” said Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD). “To meet the challenges facing the global economy, women must occupy more decision making roles in government, engineering and science in order to meet our needs.”

WiSER will partner with academic and research institutions, women’s networking groups and corporate interests in to create education and training opportunities. Masdar and the Zayed Future Energy Prize also announced the members of the WiSER Advisory Council, who will oversee the implementation of the programs under the WiSER Initiative. The Advisory Council will serve as a global reference for the initiative on women’s leadership and careers in sustainability, particularly related to energy, water and climate change.

ConEdison Assists “Renewable” Waste Treatment

The Port Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant located on Staten Island has been updated to include “renewable” energy to help power the waste treatment facility. Three new boilers – a combination of biogas and natural gas – along with a new exhaust system and a rootfop solar array. Biogas is a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process and is now being captured and used to replace equipment from the 1970s that ran on heating oil. The solar array, installed by ConEdison Solutions, is expected to produce 1.6 million kilowatt hours, approximately 10 percent of the plant’s power needs. The project is part of OneNYC’s initiative to achieve net-zero energy use at the City’s wastewater treatment plants by 2050.

21218149303_ee1802d0ae_z“This $30 million investment in new technology at the Port Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant will significantly reduce pollution and result in cleaner air for New York City,” said New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd. “Our wastewater treatment plants require a tremendous amount of electricity in order to protect public health and the environment, and we’re focused on not only reducing their demand for electricity, but also capturing and maximizing their potential for energy production.”

In September 2014, New York City committed to the goal of achieving an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2050 (80×50). With buildings comprising nearly three-quarters of New York City’s overall emissions, the City has implemented an initiative to retrofit all public buildings with any significant energy use by 2025, and supporting many private buildings to do the same. In addition, in order to reduce emissions from City government operations, an program was put in place to achieve net-zero energy use at the City’s wastewater treatment plants by 2050.

“ConEdison Solutions is proud to help the New York City Department of Environmental Protection promote sustainability through this ambitious solar installation,” added Michael N. Perna of ConEdison Solutions. “Throughout New York City, both public-sector and private-sector entities are learning how to utilize renewable power as a money-saving and energy-saving asset. With these significant improvements at the Port Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant, DEP is setting an outstanding example for other facilities throughout the region.”