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:

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.”

Senator Toomey’s Anti-RFS Amendment Tanks

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced an amendment that would eliminate corn ethanol from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It was promptly defeated by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs by a vote of 15-7. Pro RFS supporters came out en masse against Toomey’s amendment and thanked the Committee for making the right decision on consumer choice at the pump.

Senator Toomey“Biofuels are a key part of energy independence and energy security,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran, and Chairman of, the largest veterans group in America. “It is jarring to see a sitting U.S. Senator thumb his nose at our national security, just so he can repay his oil buddies. We need to figure out ways to use less oil. Pat Toomey is trying to make sure that we use more, and that his Big Oil pals make more profit as a result. It’s was a disgrace, but thankfully common sense won out, over Pat Toomey.”

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen made the following statement upon the news of defeat. “Consumers can breathe a sigh of relief when they fill up at the gas pump because today’s vote by the committee ensures that ethanol will remain the number one source of renewable fuel in the world,” said Dinneen. “The committee understood the writing is on the wall when it comes to the RFS, and that legislative proposals that seek to purportedly ‘fix’ the statute are nothing more than political gamesmanship. When Congress passed the RFS it did so with the intention of stabilizing and growing the biofuels market. The committee rightly rejected the amendment by Senator Toomey because it would have done nothing more than squelched investment and created uncertainty in the market, and would thereby have had a detrimental impact on the energy and economic future of generations to come.”

Biofuels supporters cite the RFS as the most successful energy policy ever. did some research into Senator Toomey’s connections with the oil industry and found Big Oil his 12th largest contributor contributing $552,816,000. Of that, half (252,050) was made to his campaign committee over the course of the last few months, making the oil and gas industry the 10th largest contributor to Toomey this election cycle.

“It is no surprise that Senator Toomey’s amendment failed – it never had a chance of passing,” said Tom Buis, Growth Energy CEO. “Similar to legislation he has introduced before, it did not gain any traction and failed because this legislation only restricts consumer choice and attempts to dismantle a successful American industry that is creating jobs, improving our environment and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. The simple fact is that the RFS has bipartisan support and it has been the most successful energy legislation this nation has enacted in over 40 years.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Platts, a leading global provider of energy and commodities information has begun publishing price assessments for a key ethanol byproduct increasingly used as animal feed in the U.S. and globally. The new references are for dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) and reflect values for the Midwest, the nation’s key corn, wheat and grains producing region, and exportable values at the U.S. Gulf Coast.
  • Global Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) installed capacity will increase more than fourfold from 282.5 MW in 2014 to reach 1.3 GW by 2020, across the seven major markets of the US, China, South Africa, Australia, Portugal, Italy and Spain, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. The report states that while China and the US are the largest CPV markets globally, South Africa is expected to make a significant impact on the global arena over the course of the forecast period.
  • India submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), marking a significant milestone in the effort to reach the first, country-led climate deal in Paris this December. India is committing to, among other things: increasing non-fossil fuels in its electrical mix to 40% installed capacity by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from the Green Climate Fund; and adding 175GW of new renewable energy generation by 2022 (of which 100GW will be solar).
  • Nearly 30 leading companies and organizations in Michigan today announced the formation of Clean Fuels Michigan. The new 501(c)(6) organization aims to maintain Michigan’s position as a global leader in automotive manufacturing by advancing a clear vision, strategy, and advocacy centered on advanced powertrain technology and innovation. The overall goal is to promote investment, job growth and sustainable technologies in Michigan. Clean Fuel Michigan will advance clean fuel neutral policies, such as electric, natural gas, propane and hydrogen fuel cell technology, advise policy makers, and help commercialization efforts.

EV Connect Launches EV CaaS

EV Connect has launched what they call the first-ever “EV Charging-as-a-Service” or “EV CaaS,” to reduce up-front costs and simplify the process for purchasing and installing EV charging station infrastructure by turning the purchase decision from a capital expenditure to an operating expense. The new program was developed in collaboration with GE and SparkFund.

EV-Connect-LogoEach EV charge station comes with GE’s WattStation and DuraStation as well as EV Connect’s base management software and service. Starting at $99 per month per charge station, the EV CaaS, says EV Connect, offers businesses and government entities a full-service resource to assist with financing, deployment and management.

“The single biggest hesitation facility owners have when considering EV charging station installation is up-front cost,” said Jordan Ramer, EV Connect President. “The EV CaaS program, in collaboration with SparkFund and GE, offers a pay-as-you-go alternative to capital purchases and greatly simplifies the decision-making process.”

EV Connect says they are the first provider to offer this type of program. In addition to overseeing procurement, permitting and installation, they manage all aspects of the charging station including service, driver support, station management and usage.

“Welcome to a new world of financing for EV charging infrastructure,” added Pier LaFarge, SparkFund Co-founder and CEO. “EV CaaS puts EV charging within reach of any facility by shifting financing from an upfront capital expenditure to a pay-over-time operating expense.”