API Push Poll Proved False by Real Poll

A push poll was recently released by the American Petroleum Institute (API) that found a majority of votes are concerned about using ethanol in their engines. The poll also found voters are opposed to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), contrary to what many other surveys have found. In response, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), President and CEO Bob Dinneen called the poll “utterly dishonest” and said the questions are so “biased with prejudicial lead in text” that that the results cannot be considered even remotely credible.

Commenting specifically on the wording of the poll questions, Dinneen said that framing their misplaced narrative about food versus fuel, engine damage, and gasoline price impacts as questions, while blatantly ignoring all the facts to the contrary, assures a predetermined result that adds nothing to the public discourse.

API-RFS Poll Question-1Dinneen noted the RFA has been conducting its own monthly surveys throughout the year to ask respondents their opinions about ethanol and the RFS. He said the RFA surveys, which have been conducted by Morning Consult, have consistently shown strong support among the public for the RFS. November’s survey asked 2,001 (twice the number surveyed by API) registered voters for their opinions on biofuels and the RFS. Dinneen pointed out that RFA’s questions were straightforward and balanced, as opposed to those posed by API. When asked in the RFA survey whether they supported the RFS, 62 percent of respondents indicated that they supported the RFS, while 16 percent of respondents indicated they opposed the program. In addition the RFA poll found that a majority of voters (52 percent) think the RFS should be expanded.

API-RFS Poll Question -2“I would like to say that I am shocked API has stooped to such measures as trying to promote an obvious push poll, containing extremely biased questions, as a credible indication of public sentiment about the RFS and ethanol, but I am not,” said Dinneen. “API will do anything and everything in its power to ensure that its monopoly on the marketplace continues. Our data shows when you ask the public fair and balanced questions about the RFS, you see that it clearly supports the ethanol industry. The public wants safe, affordable fuel, and that’s what the RFS allows them to have each and every time they head to a fueling station to fill up their engines.”

Here are examples of questions asked by the API poll and the RFA survey. Dinneen is calling on readers to judge for themselves:

API poll question: “Over 40% of U.S. corn production is currently used to produce ethanol for gasoline. This significantly diverts corn away from the global food supply. Given that, how concerned are you that using even more corn for ethanol production could increase food prices here in the U.S. and increase hunger among the world’s poor?”

RFA survey question: “As you may know there is currently a renewable fuel standard that requires a certain amount of fuel produced each year to come from ethanol, bio-diesel and other renewable resources that aren’t fossil fuels. Do you support or oppose this requirement?”

Other credible polls conducted by third party polling organizations have also found broad support for the RFS including polls from National Farmers Union and America’s Renewable Future.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1University of California (UC), Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and SunPower representatives have dedicated the university’s newly constructed 16.3-megawatt (AC) solar power plant. The new plant, which is estimated by UC Davis to generate 14 percent of the campus’ total electricity needs, is the largest solar installation in the UC system and the largest “behind the meter” solar plant on a U.S. college campus off-setting electricity demand.
  • Tri Global Energy LLC, has announced the close of a transaction with TERNA ENERGY, S.A., a member of GEK TERNA Group of Companies, for the acquisition, construction and operation of the Fluvanna Wind Energy Project, a 380 MW wind project located in Fluvanna, Texas.
  • Côte-de-Beaupré Regional County Municipality and Boralex Inc. have announced the commercial commissioning of the Côte-de-Beaupré community wind farm project. This 23.5 MW capacity project is located on the private lands of the Seigneurie de Beaupré, in the Côte-de-Beaupré region, Québec.
  • SemaConnect electric vehicle (EV) stations have been installed in the City of Keene, New Hampshire at the Commercial Street Parking Lot in Keene’s downtown location. The EV charging stations will highlight the city’s focus on sustainability through their “Green Up Keene” program. Green Up Keene is a city-wide program developed to raise awareness for the city’s efforts to become more sustainable.

TASC Poll: Public Unhappy with Hawaii Solar Direction

According to a new poll from the The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), in Hawaii, a majority of respondents support political candidates that support solar development as well as rooftop solar. In addition, a majority said they oppose the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) recent decision to eliminate solar net metering, the fundamental policy for rooftop solar growth according to TASC.

Solar supporters rally in front of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PRNewsFoto/The Alliance for Solar Choice)

Solar supporters rally in front of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PRNewsFoto/The Alliance for Solar Choice)

Three out of four respondents oppose the Commission’s October decision, which was made without holding a hearing or conducting an analysis of the costs and benefits of solar net metering, and without providing notice to customers. In response, dozens of people gathered at a “Rally To Be Heard” in front of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

Solar supporters erected a large megaphone to demonstrate the desire for public participation. “I support greater solar growth,” said Charlie Jeffries who attended the rally. “I’m disturbed that the PUC made a rash decision without giving the public an opportunity to make our voices heard.”

“The Hawaii Public Utility Commission failed to do a study of the costs and benefits of solar,” said Roy Skaggs, also a rally attendee. “How do you make sweeping decisions that impacts thousands of families and jobs without at least knowing the data?”

Those speaking at the rally share the public’s sentiment. A nearly-universal 97% of poll respondents support more rooftop solar in Hawaii.

“The public overwhelmingly supports rooftop solar and believes that Hawaii is moving in the wrong direction on energy policy, but policy makers are not listening,” said Bryan Miller, President of TASC. “This poll shows that Governor Ige and the Commission are ignoring the voices of their constituents.” Continue reading

PHG Energy Kicks of Waste-to-Energy Project

Construction of a new gasification plant at Lebanon, Tennessee’s waste water treatment facility is underway following a groundbreaking ceremony held last week. Tens of thousands of tons of sewer sludge, used tires and industrial wood waste will be processed to produce electricity to help power the plant.  PHG Energy of Nashville is designing and building the new facility, which will include utilization of the world’s largest downdraft gasification unit with a full capacity of 64 tons per day through the system.

Lebanon Groundbreaking 11-12-15 smaller size

From left to Right: Chris Koczaja (vice president of implementation and engineering at PHG Energy); Tom Doherty (environmental specialist with Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation); Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead; Lebanon Councilman Fred Burton, Ward 2; Lebanon Councilman Rob Cesternino, Ward 3, and Jeff Baines (public works commissioner for the city of Lebanon)

“This facility is going to be a model for waste-to-energy partnerships,” Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead said of the project, “as well as the first stage in moving our city completely away from dumping waste into landfills.”

Gasification is a clean thermo-chemical process that breaks down biomass-based material in a high-heat and low-oxygen environment. According to a PHG Energy press release, there is no incineration or burning involved in the process. The only residue after production of synthetic fuel gas is a carbon biochar that has multiple agricultural, industrial and direct fuel uses.

Tom Doherty, Environmental Specialist with the Tennessee, Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), said the new facility is an important step forward in efforts Tennessee and his department are fostering across the state. “When we look at the thousands of tons of wood waste and sludge this plant will cleanly process, that is a tremendous step forward. One of the most exciting parts of deploying this technology in Lebanon is that hundreds or tons of scrap tires will be put to beneficial use while saving Wilson County a considerable portion of their previous disposal expense.”

TDEC has awarded the project funding of $250,000 through the Clean Tennessee Energy Grant program, and facilitated a subsidy of 70% of the $3.5 million financing’s interest cost through the Federal Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds program.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1The Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA) has sent a letter to Senate Finance Committee leadership that expressed concern about changes to the biodiesel and renewable diesel blenders tax credit. ABFA President Michael McAdams noted, “At this time common sense dictates that Congress should not be looking to revise an effective, long-term policy with changes to the biodiesel and renewable diesel blenders tax credit as part of legislation to extend various expired tax benefits.”
  • Brazil’s non-hydro renewable power sector is expected to account for more than 25% of Brazil’s total capacity by 2025, with non-hydro renewables’ cumulative installed capacity more than tripling from 17.1 Gigawatts (GW) in 2014 to an estimated 57.8 GW by 2025, according to a new report from GlobalData.
  • The Renault-Nissan Alliance is installing 90 new charge spots for electric vehicles in and around Paris for the COP21 global summit on climate change. The installation is being done in partnership with French energy provider EDF, Schneider Electric, Aéroports de Paris, Paris City Council and SNCF, France’s national railway company. The charging stations, several of which will be donated by Schneider Electric, will refuel 200 EVs serving as VIP shuttles for negotiators, delegates and media attending the conference.
  • Transparency Market Research has released of a new research report titled “Geothermal Power Generation Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2013 – 2019“. According to the report, the global geothermal power generation market is forecast to register a remarkable CAGR of 23.58% from 2013 to 2019, expanding from a value of US$2.5 bn in 2013 to US$8.9 bn by 2019.

DOE Releases 2015 Revolution…Now Report

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released the 2015 Revolution…Now report, which details the state of multiple clean energy technologies in the U.S. that have the ability to provide climate change solutions. The report builds upon past versions that demonstrate an increase in deployment and a decrease in cost for transformational technologies including: wind turbines, solar technologies, electric vehicles (EVs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

revolution-now-infographic“We are experiencing a clean energy revolution in the United States, and this report confirms it,” Secretary Moniz said. “Today, clean energy technologies are providing real-world solutions – not only to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming, but they also drive a domestic, low-carbon economy with technologies that are increasingly cost-competitive with conventional technologies. We have the tools for a cleaner and more secure energy future.”

The 2015 update finds that dramatic cost reductions are continuing to drive the adoption of clean energy technologies. The report reviews the rapid growth of photovoltaic (PV) solar modules for both large, utility-scale PV plants, and smaller, rooftop and distributed PV systems. DOE continues to invest in research and development for these technologies in addition to reducing market barriers in order to make these clean energy technologies even more cost-effective and widely available across the United States.

Between 2008 and 2014, land-based wind accounted for 31 percent of all new generation capacity installed in the U.S. The DOE says this is in part due to early investments from DOE that helped drive technology innovation.

HERO BX Purchases Alabama Biodiesel Plant

Erie, Pennsylvania- based HERO BX has purchased the assets of the former Veros Energy biodiesel refinery located in Moundville, Alabama. The plant will be renamed HERO BX Alabama LLC. The Moundville facility currently employs 17 full-time staff who will remain on as HERO BX Alabama employees. In addition, HERO BX plans to hire and train an additional 10-12 employees as it gears up for recommissioning the facility.

HEROBXHERO BX Chairman and CEO Samuel “Pat” Black III said, “We are excited to be expanding into Alabama. This acquisition allows us to serve a new market outside the reach of our Erie facility and will enable our company to follow through on its growth mission. The preliminary Renewable Fuel Standard volumes are growing and as they do, the Moundville facilities will too.”

According to a press release HERO BX has plans to capitalize on its strong technical and operational expertise to upgrade and expand the 15 MGPY facility, which is slated to come on line in the first quarter of 2016.

HERO BX President Mike Noble, added, “Our technical staff is among the world’s finest. We will take everything that we have learned in almost a decade of producing great biodiesel in Erie and apply it to the Moundville plant. Our quality standards will remain the same. Customers who are familiar with our high quality can again count on biodiesel produced in Moundville to be BQ 9000 certified ASTM D-6751 and Q-RIN approved.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1GE has introduced its new Renewable Energy business at the European Wind Energy Association’s 2015 Annual Event in Paris. The new unit significantly expands GE’s wind portfolio in the wake of its recent acquisition of Alstom’s power and grid businesses. The new business expands GE’s global wind footprint to more than 30,000 turbines worldwide and significantly increases its presence in regions like Europe and Latin America. In Europe alone, GE’s installed base will grow by approximately 50 percent as a result of the deal.
  • Trina Solar Limited has announced that two of its overseas subsidiaries, Trina Solar (U.S.), Inc. and Trina Solar (Singapore) Science & Technology Pte. Limited, have signed a total of US$90 Million in financing facility agreements with Wells Fargo Bank, National Association and Barclays Bank PLC.
  • Equinix, Inc. has announced that it has signed power purchase agreements with both an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC and Invenergy LLC to purchase wind energy in Oklahoma and Texas, respectively, which will cover all Equinix data centers throughout North America. These agreements will provide a combined 225 MW of capacity, bringing Equinix’s total renewable energy coverage in North America to 100% by the end of 2016, and nearly doubling its global renewable energy, moving from 43% to 82%. Both projects will be fully deployed by the end of 2016.
  • Distinguished guests and media recently joined Hydro Ottawa’s President and CEO, Bryce Conrad, on a tour of the future site of the utility’s new 29 MW facility. Scheduled to be completed in 2017, the new below-ground hydroelectric station will feed into the provincial grid and power 20,000 homes with clean renewable energy every year.

Renewable Diesel Use High at Propel Fuels’ Stations

Earlier this year, Propel Fuel launched its Diesel HPR (High Performance Renewable) across Southern California in August 2015. The company has announced that consumer adoption of the product has risen 300 percent compared to its former biodiesel product (B20).

Propel’s Diesel HPR features several performance features including a 75 cetane rating, 40 percent higher than regular diesel. The company cites Diesel HPR provides cleaner and more efficient combustion for more power and a smoother ride at a cost similar to or lower than petroleum diesel.

HPR_SoCal copy“Diesel HPR is an affordable way for fleets and consumers to reduce emissions and improve local air quality while seeing better engine performance,” said Rob Elam, CEO of Propel. “As new diesel models hit the market, drivers across California are moving towards low carbon fuel options such as Diesel HPR.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, renewable diesel’s high combustion quality results in similar or better vehicle performance compared to conventional diesel, while California Air Resources Board studies show that renewable diesel can reach up to 70 percent greenhouse gas reduction compared to petroleum diesel. Studies show that Diesel HPR improves local air quality due to the reduction of harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate (PM 2.5) emissions. NOx and particulate emissions are directly linked to air quality in California, negatively impacting children, people with lung diseases such as asthma, and people who work outside.

Propel is the largest retailer of low-carbon fuels in California with 32 public stations across the state selling Diesel HPR. There is a Propel Android app and Apple app that identifies alt fuel locations and real-time pricing. Propel also provides Diesel HPR commercial and bulk availability for business and government fleets statewide.

U.S. Toyota Makes Cars with ‘Green’ Gas

Toyota will soon be manufacturing cars with “green” gas. The company announced its efforts to nearly eliminate all CO2 emissions from its factories and vehicles and will achieve this, in part, with electricity produced from methane. The “green” gas, also known in some instances as renewable natural gas, is a byproduct of trash decomposition from the nearby Central Kentucky Landfill.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 12.26.51 AM“We will generate one megawatt (1 million watts) per hour at the site,” said Toyota’s environmental strategies manager Dave Absher. “That’s enough annual energy generation to produce approximately 10,000 vehicles. The system can eventually be scaled up to 10 megawatts per hour.”

Toyota has announced aggressive global emission reduction goals for all of its production plants as well as for the cars they produce. This year the company launched the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and has made the technology available for use by other automakers. In addition, they are developing manufacturing technologies that also use hydrogen as a power source within their plants. The company has also integrated other renewable energy power sources including wind, solar and locally produced renewable energy. Toyota hopes to reach its zero emissions goal by 2050.

“The landfill gas generator represents the kind of thinking that our company is asking us to do to reduce our carbon footprint over the next 35 years,” said Kevin Butt, Toyota’s general manager for environment strategies. “It’s a small step, but a significant one. These types of changes to our manufacturing operations coupled with other global initiatives will help us reach this very aggressive goal.” Continue reading