BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Renewable energy auctions are increasingly becoming the policy tool of choice to support renewable energy deployment, according to a new publication released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The six-volume guidebook, Renewable Energy Auctions: a Guide to Design, finds more than 60 countries have adopted renewable energy auctions, up from six in 2005, largely due to their ability to attract competition and drive down costs.
  • The Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) has announced that André Borschberg, one of the pilots and co-developer of the Solar Impulse solar-powered aircraft, will deliver the keynote address During the Opening Session of the Polyurethanes 2015 Technical Conference on October 5 in Orlando, Fl. Solar Impulse 2 is the only solar-powered aircraft only in the world that can fly day and night with a pilot on board.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation have proposed fuel efficiency standards for heavy duty vehicles that would increase fuel economy standards for by 2027. The EPA predicts the proposed rule would cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 billion metric tons and save about $170 billion over the lifetime of the vehicles.
  • The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and Pennsylvania State University, have announced ASES’ 44th annual event. This year’s conference will be hosted from July 28-30, 2015 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel. Under the theme “Expanding Horizons: Shaping the New Energy Economy,” SOLAR 2015 will embrace the story of the past, enrich the communities of today, and reveal the trends of the future.

Approps Bill Shortchanges Rural America

According to the Agriculture Energy Coalition (AgEC), the current version of the House Appropriations Committee’s Fiscal Year 2016 Agriculture Appropriations Bill would shortchange rural America. As it currently stands, the bill would reduce mandatory spending levels for Energy Title programs including the Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP), Biomass Crop Assistance Program and the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program. In light of this, AgEC has vowed to fight the changes in mandatory spending.

Lloyd Ritter, co-director of the AgEC, said, “The renewable energy and energy efficiency programs in the Farm Bill help rural America create new manufacturing opportunities and AgEC logostable, well-paying jobs. A new report to Congress, released just yesterday, demonstrates the broad economic impact of innovative biobased technology. The biobased products industry contributes $369 billion annually to the U.S. economy and employs more than four million Americans. The more than 40,000 biobased products already on the market displace about 300 million gallons of petroleum per year, which is equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road. Countless wind, solar, biomass and other projects are making a major impact as well.”

Ritter continued, “Nevertheless, the House Appropriations Committee is seeking to roll back the mandatory funding levels Congress agreed to last year when passing the bi-partisan Farm Bill. For Fiscal Year 2016, the House bill proposes cutting millions from the Section 9003 program, the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, and the Renewable Energy for America Program.”

“Such reductions in the mandatory funding levels that Congress previously set will undermine the ongoing effectiveness of these programs. The Agriculture Energy Coalition, comprising renewable energy, energy efficiency and agricultural groups, will continue to fight to ensure that these programs are implemented successfully,” concluded Ritter.

New CESA Clean Energy Report Available

The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) has released a new report, “Clean Energy Champions: The Importance of State Programs and Policies“. The report provides a comprehensive look at the ways in which states are supporting clean energy as well as offers suggestions on how to further encourage growth.

The report includes 31 case studies form 22 states covering various clean energy programs including Renewable Portfolio Standards, renewable energy tax credits, rebates and other less known programs used to develop the clean energy industry.

CESA Clean Energy Champions Report“Over the past decade and a half, states across the country have implemented innovative policies that have achieved significant, measurable results,” said Warren Leon, executive director of CESA. “This report clearly outlines how renewable energy production has far surpassed expectations and created a thriving clean energy sector. We must sustain this momentum by supporting various initiatives at the state level, working in tandem with federal agencies, and advancing clean energy with continued bipartisan support.”

In examining the state’s role in clean energy development over the past 15 years, the report identifies seven lessons to consider for the continued growth of clean energy into the future. Those lessons cover the following:

  • The significance of state experimentation and the ways states can continue to innovate to move the clean energy sector forward;
  • The need for the states to strengthen their existing consumer protection role regarding clean energy technologies;
  • The approach states should take when modifying distributed generation policies;
  • The value of continuing to address clean energy policy in a non-partisan manner;
  • The specific research analysis the federal government should undertake to assist the states;
  • The role of federal tax incentives in leveraging state initiatives for clean energy market growth; and
  • The importance of structuring EPA’s Clean Power Plan in ways that support existing state clean energy initiatives.

In addition, the report found four key areas where state activity has made significant progress to overcome market barriers: developing the clean energy supply;
overcoming barriers by building the infrastructure for clean energy growth; building a vibrant clean energy industry; and protecting and including consumers.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF18point3 Energy Partners LP, a limited partnership formed by First Solar and SunPower Corporation to own and operate a portfolio of selected solar energy generation assets, announced that it has priced an initial public offering of 20,000,000 Class A shares, representing limited partner interests in 8point3 Energy Partners, at a price of $21.00 per share. In addition, the underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 3,000,000 shares from 8point3 Energy Partners at the IPO price, less the underwriting discount. The shares of 8point3 Energy Partners will be listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “CAFD” and begin trading on June 19, 2015.
  • Boeing has announced the next phase in ecoDemonstrator 757 testing today, including the first flight with U.S.-made “green diesel” and two new environment-related technologies. These developments advance the ecoDemonstrator program’s mission to accelerate the testing and use of technologies to improve aviation’s environmental performance. Among more than 15 technologies on the 757, Boeing has begun testing solar and thermal “energy harvesting” to power electronic windows, as a way to reduce wiring, weight, fuel use and carbon emissions.
  • B-Scada, Inc. has announced a new deployment of their VoT (Virtualization of Things) Solution in Africa. B-Scada’s wireless sensors will be used to remotely monitor and control the generation and distribution of solar energy used by four health clinics in Rwanda. B-Scada is providing the full array of sensors, relays, and cellular gateways required to collect and communicate the photovoltaic system data.
  • Pattern Energy Group has announced it has closed the previously announced acquisition of a one-third interest in the 270 MW K2 Wind Power Facility in Ontario. Pattern Energy will hold a 33% equity interest in the facility, which is equally co-owned by Samsung Renewable Energy, Inc. and Capital Power LP.

NMMA Endorses Gevo’s Isobutanol for Boats

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has endorsed Gevo, Inc. for the use of isobutanol by the marine industry. They say the renewable fuel is an effective, less damaging, more suitable biofuel than ethanol for powering various types of marine and recreational boat engines.

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 11.34.09 AMNMMA has worked with Gevo for five years, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Argonne National Laboratory, the U.S. Coast Guard and others on testing of various renewable fuels. During this testing, NMMA said the data supported isobutanol as the preferred renewable fuel for marine engines.

“Based on years of collaborative testing across the industry, biobutanol fuel blends, such as the ones provided by Gevo during our test program, are a safe and viable alternative to ethanol for use in recreational marine engines and boats up to 16.1 percent by volume,”said Jeff Wasil, engineering manager, Emissions Testing, Certification and Regulatory Development at Bombardier Recreational Products, an NMMA member.

According to NMMA, isobutanol fuel blends solve the concerns of boaters such as damaging engine parts. The studies found isobutanol provided a higher energy content, prevented moisture absorption and phase separation and reduced engine corrosion.

“We believe that the marine industry will be an important market for Gevo’s isobutanol. The technical properties of isobutanol shine in this application. We appreciate the efforts and the collaboration between Gevo and the NMMA throughout the testing program. We are pleased to have provided, from our plant in Luverne, the isobutanol needed to make the 16% isobutanol blended fuels that the studies required, for both on-water tests and in the laboratory,” added Dr. Patrick Gruber, Gevo’s CEO. “We are delighted with the results of the testing and to have the endorsement of the NMMA. Isobutanol has proven to be an effective, highly compatible biofuel for the recreational boating industry.”

Pope Francis Advocates for Renewable Energy

Addressing all persons living on the plant, Pope Francis’ LAUDATO SI’, Encyclical Letter calls on mankind to address climate change and heal earth. He writes, “Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in “lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies”. He stresses throughout the Encyclical, “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change“.

do908_laudato_si-255x363“I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet,” writes Pope Francis and notes that while efforts have been undertaken, they are not enough. “Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest.”

Pope Francis’ Encyclical spans six chapters with each section focused on a particular area of importance to climate change discussions and action steps to be undertaken. In chapter 5 he focuses on approach and action as it relates to energy and calls for the end of fossil fuel use.

We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay. Until greater progress is made in developing widely accessible sources of renewable energy, it is legitimate to choose the lesser of two evils or to find short-term solutions,” continues Pope Francis. 

He calls for a worldwide consensus – all countries – to come together to develop “renewable and less polluting forms of energy”. While he acknowledges the work already being done to develop more sustainable, alternative forms of energy, he stresses that countries must come together and take responsibility for paying for the costs of energy transition and that politics and businesses must speed up their pace of acknowledgement and action to curtail climate change.

If only one message were received by those reading LAUDATO SI, it is that humans are at the center of climate change, that none of us is without fault, and it will take all of us to restore earth to a state of health and beauty.

100% Pop Up Event for Clean Energy

A 100% pop up event for clean energy kicked off a nationwide campaign calling for making renewable energy accessible and affordable for everyone – 100%. The campaign is the brainchild of actors Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio.

“100% is for 100%,” said Mark Ruffalo, co-founder of the campaign. “Our first priority is to make clean energy more accessible and affordable for all people – increasing consumer demand and accelerating the growth of clean, efficient renewable energy.”

The campaign will span the U.S. and feature activities and events to drive demand. From a “100% Hotline” that provides clean energy concierge services to showcasing leadership and growing demand to policy work, the campaign aims to make it easier and cheaper for consumers to switch to clean energy.

Krystal_5100% will tell stories of clean energy leaders – from Main Street to Wall Street, from farmers to small business leaders, from homeowners to renters, across the demographic and political spectrum, and across New York and the country – who are following a clean energy path and finding the best of themselves.

My story is not unusual. I was going down a pretty destructive path,” said Krystal Ruiz, SolarCorps construction fellow for GRID Alternatives. “What turned my life around? Finding purpose – making a difference. I went to work for GRID Alternatives and now I am helping to provide high-skilled job opportunities in my own backyard. It changed my life, and I want to help do that for others.” Ruiz is the subject of a 100% spotlight video – a compelling story of crisis and courage.

“History will recognize people like Krystal for what they are: leaders of a new era. The 100% campaign will honor them today,” said Ruffalo.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Escalating energy demand and improving wind turbine technologies are fueling the wind energy market and encouraging wind turbine installations. In turn, this is boosting the consumption of high-performance and lightweight blade materials, such as fibre, resins and core foam materials that can be used to increase blade length while keeping blade weight low. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, finds that the market earned revenues of $1.94 billion in 2014 and estimates this to reach $3.78 billion in 2021.
  • In honor of National Solar Day, Golden State Foods (GSF), one of the world’s largest suppliers to the quick service restaurant industry announced their adoption of solar energy to power pallet jacks and lift gates, extending the service life of lift gate electric batteries on their trucking fleet, thereby maximizing efficiency and minimizing the impact on the environment. By the end of 2015, each of the 10 Quality Custom Distribution centers will be equipped with trucks utilizing the solar panels.
  • Nashville-based renewable energy provider Silicon Ranch Corporation and Green Power EMC have announced that construction is set to begin on Silicon Ranch’s 20MWAC project in southeast Georgia. Silicon Ranch has selected California-based Phoenix Solar to construct the ground-mounted solar project near Hazlehurst, Ga., in Jeff Davis County. Once completed, it will be one of the largest solar generating facilities in Georgia, occupying approximately 135 acres and incorporating over 89,000 solar modules.
  • Together with Hanwha Q CELLS and other partners, the ISM Group ceremoniously started up one of the largest solar power plants in the Bitterfeld Region on Friday, June 19, 2015. The “Alte Kaserne Bitterfeld-Wolfen” photovoltaic farm achieves a total output of 10 MW. Altogether, the 38,456 Q.PRO-G3 solar modules will generate around 11 GWh of clean energy per year

USDA Releases Biobased Economic Report

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a new report, “Economic Impact of the Biobased Product Industry,” that finds each job in the biobased products industry is responsible for generating 1.64 jobs in other sectors of the economy. The report states in 2013, 1.5 million jobs directly supported the biobased product industry, resulting in 1.1 million indirect jobs in related industries, and another 1.4 million induced jobs produced from the purchase of goods and services generated by the direct and indirect jobs.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the release of a new report as well as discussed changed under the 2014 Farm Bill that will create additional opportunities for growth in renewable plant-based materials.

Economic Impact of Biobased Products USDA report“This report is the first to examine and quantify the effect of the U.S. biobased products industry from an economics and jobs perspective. Before, we could only speculate at the incredible economic impact of the biobased products industry. Now, we know that in 2013 alone, America’s biobased industry contributed four million jobs and $369 billion to our economy,” Vilsack said. “Today, we are also adding to the number of innovative products carrying USDA’s BioPreferred® label and expanding options for our nation’s biorefineries. This means small businesses and global companies alike can continue to harness the power of America’s farms and forests to create new and innovative biobased products that are used all around the world.”

The report builds on the “Why Biobased?” report released by the USDA in October 2014. Estimates are that the use of biobased products currently displaces about 300 million gallons of petroleum per year – equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.

The Secretary also announced changes to include new forest products in the BioPreferred program, along with proposed changes to the former Biorefinery Assistance Program to assist in the development of cutting-edge technologies for advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals, and biobased product manufacturing. Continue reading

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Waaree Energies Ltd has announced commissioning of its 10 MW solar power plant for Sharda Construction and Corporation Pvt Ltd (SCCPL), a construction major based in Nanded, Maharashtra. The project located at Latur, Maharashtra was allotted to SCCPL under the Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) category of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission’s Phase 2, Batch 1.
  • Nomadic Power has received a grant of EUR 2 Million from the European Commission for their “MobileBattery” project. Range extension, fast charging options and functions for intelligent energy management of PV systems are incorporated in “Nomads”. Nomad capacities range from 40 up to 85 kWhs. Nomads can collect the solar energy of the photovoltaic system during the week, and on the weekend the owner of an electric car, through the connected Nomad, has an extended range of over 500 kilometers.
  • The 20th Century model of large baseload electricity generation, including nuclear reactors, is in an irreversible decline in the face of the emerging 21st Century decentralized power model relying on renewables, energy efficiency, and technology-based demand management, according to a new report by Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis, Institute for Energy and the Environment, Vermont Law School. The Cooper report, “Power Shift: The Deployment of a 21st Century Electricity Sector and the Nuclear War to Stop It,” is available online.
  • Renewable Edge reached a milestone when it installed it’s 1000th Integrated Wireless Solar Payphone Power Supply System Kit to New York City payphones. Renewable Edge’s patent pending Solar Power Supply System replaces the utility grid power connection previously needed to operate New York City payphones with a solar powered battery system powering wireless routers that communicate with existing cell towers.