10K New U.S. Clean Energy Jobs in Q3

According to the latest Clean Energy Jobs report from Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), there were almost 10,000 new clean energy jobs announced during the third quarter (Q3) this year. The top three states for the quarter were: Utah (2,950 jobs announced), California (1,916) and Colorado (850). Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Maine, Nebraska, Mississippi and North Dakota rounded out the top 10. So far this year, about 30,000 clean energy jobs have been announced.

E2 3rd Quarter Clean Jobs ReportThe top clean energy sector was solar with nearly 7,000 jobs at 23 projects in power generation or manufacturing. The wind energy industry came next with approximately 2,500 jobs across 11 projects.

Clean energy continues to put more Americans to work every day all across our country,” said Bob Keefe, E2’s executive director. “We can keep that growth going – but only if our state and federal lawmakers take action on the clean energy policies now before them.”

Keefe said the report suggests Congress could stimulate even more economic activity in clean energy through the passage of long-term federal tax incentives. These incentives assist in putting clean energy industries along with energy efficiency at a more level playing field with fossil fuel industries.

In addition, Keefe said the report highlights a how states can send a clear market signal to the private sector to increase investments, and create more jobs, by implementing the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The report notes that smart implementation of the Clean Power Plan by states – along with strong “subnational” clean energy policies in states like California – will help the U.S. meet its climate goals and show leadership as nearly 200 countries prepare to convene at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 21) in Paris next month.

“Here at home, the Clean Power Plan gives us a clear roadmap for creating good clean energy jobs,” said RJ Harrington, president and CEO of Sustainable Action Consulting near Denver. “Overseas, it solidifies America’s reputation as the global hub of innovative, entrepreneurial clean energy business activity.”

AUFC: Quit Doing Polluters’ Dirty Work

The Republican Attorneys General Association is meeting this weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona for its fall meeting and Americans United for Change (AUFC) is calling on its members to stop doing polluters’ dirty work. Rather, AUFC is encouraging Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and others to embrace the economic and health benefits of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP).

© Joostverbeek | Dreamstime.com - Dirty Smoke Stack Of Coal Fired Power Plant Photo

© Joostverbeek | Dreamstime.com – Dirty Smoke Stack Of Coal Fired Power Plant Photo

Several weeks ago AUFC released a video designed to expose dirty energy’s influence in the states that joined the lawsuits against the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The video claims that Republican Attorneys Generals who signed on have received more than $2.4 million from the dirty energy sector in the last two election cycles. AUFC says that while the court of public opinion acknowledges climate change, big polluters are hoping to win in the court of law. However, precedent shows otherwise; the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld EPA’s authority to take action to limit carbon pollution three times.

AUFC cites the CPP will save American’s money on their energy bills, lower health costs for asthma, lung cancer and other air pollution-related diseases and lead to 250,000 new jobs.

Brad Woodhouse, president, AUFC said, “Some might call it a coincidence that the Republicans Attorneys General who’ve taken tens of thousands of dollars from dirty energy interests are the same ones filing lawsuits against the Clean Power Plan, but I’d call it a serious conflict of interest and a breach of the public trust. When a state Attorney General chooses to serve as part of dirty energy’s unofficial defense team, who is left looking out for the public interests? The American people did not vote for a corporate takeover of Congress – but that’s exactly what they’re getting. Nearly half of all Americans live in areas where the air is unsafe to breathe, making the Clean Power Plan a breathe of fresh air for communities across the country. If you’re a public servant standing in the way of that, maybe it’s time to consider a clean break from your dirty energy friends. Continue reading

Trump Tours Iowa Ethanol Plant

P1000220Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump toured the POET Biorefining ethanol plant in Gowrie, Iowa last night to learn more about ethanol production and the role ethanol plays in the success of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). While onsite, he also visited with POET’s President James Moe along with America’s Renewable Future (ARF) Co-Chairs Lt. Governor Patty Judge and Bill Couser. Earlier this week, ARF released its Mid-term Report Card giving Trump a “Good Rating”.

“We want to thank Mr. Trump for his continued support for this industry and for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS),” said Judge. “He has shown that he is committed to Iowa’s farmers and to American entrepreneurship which has paved the way for making America cleaner, stronger, and more secure through the RFS.”

ARF is committed to both educating presidential candidates about the benefits of biofuels and the success of the RFS. In addition, they are publishing candidates’ views on these issues so voters who are concerned about energy issues understand the candidates’ positions prior to election day. According to ARF, Trump’s latest comments and show of support at the POET plant solidifies his standing with ARF and will earn him praise from the organization.

“It’s great for the country. I’m with you one hundred percent,” Trump said about the RFS to a crowd of POET employees and RFS supporters during his remarks.

Fuels America TV Ad Blasts Anti-RFS Congressmen

Fuels America has launched a new TV ad that blasts the Congressional leaders who sent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy a letter requesting that corn-based ethanol volumes be reduced in the final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rules. The final rules for 2014, 2015 and 2016 are expected by the end of this month.

The ad calls out Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) for protecting oil company profits and criticizes the signers who Fuels America calls climate change deniers. It continues by urging viewers to “Remind Peter Welch to stand up for Vermont, not oil companies and climate deniers.”

As noted in a previous story, the 184 Members of Congress who signed on have collectively received more than $39 million from the oil and gas industry throughout their careers. When combined, the signers have a National Environmental Scorecard of 2.74 out of a possible 100 (based on voting records) from the League of Conservation Voters (LCVs). The Scorecard is a nationally accepted yardstick used to rate members of Congress on environmental, public health, and energy issues. In addition 154 signers have an LCV score below 10, 140 have an LCV score below 5, and 76 have an LCV score of 0.

“After years of pleading with Congressman Welch, it is time to inform Vermonters about his beltway exploits with the oil industry attacking renewable fuels,” Advanced Biofuels Business Council Executive Director Brooke Coleman said in regards to the Congressional letter. “Mr. Welch didn’t just join an anti-biofuel campaign underwritten by the oil industry, he led the effort to recruit others. It is time to shine a brighter light on those encouraging EPA and the President to gut the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It’s not a chorus, it is the oil industry, climate deniers and EPA bashers disguised as one. This letter and the millions of dollars of oil contributions flowing to its signers tell you everything you need to know about the anti-RFS crowd.”

The anti-RFS letter came shortly after several members of the Congressional Black Caucus called on the EPA to support the RFS citing negative health an environmental benefits of biofuels and the negative effects of emissions especially in vulnerable communities. Continue reading

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1The Association of Nebraska Ethanol Producers (ANEEP) has announced Mark Palmer will become its new executive director beginning January 1, 2016. Palmer comes to Nebraska from the Washington, D.C. office of Senator Dick Durbin (Ill.). In addition to his work as a senior policy advisor to Sen. Durbin, Palmer has worked to promote biofuels for the National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association, and as the Director of Office of External Affairs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Solenis LLC has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase 100% of the shares of Quimatec Produtos Químicos Ltda. and Locatec de Araraquara Ltda-Me. The transaction is expected to close by year end following receipt of customary regulatory approvals. “This is an excellent opportunity for Solenis to broaden our offering in the bioethanol market by leveraging Quimatec’s strong channel-to-market along with their advanced technology and leadership position in Brazil’s sugar-to-ethanol industry,” said John Panichella, president and CEO, Solenis.
  • Green Cow Power is a large digester facility which is now converting off-farm organic wastes and dairy manure into energy with two DVO, Inc. (DVO) Two-Stage Mixed Plug Flow digesters. Located in Goshen, Indiana, it is the largest waste-to-energy facility in Elkhart County and the eighth largest digester operation in Indiana. It was also recently awarded the American Biogas Council’s 2015 Agricultural Biogas Project of the Year award.
  • DEINOVE, a biotech company developing innovative processes for producing biofuels and bio-based chemicals by using Deinococcus bacteria, announced that it has been granted six new patents in the United States. Deinove now holds a portfolio of 170 patents internationally, divided into 19 families, representing a strategic asset for signing partnerships. With these patents, Deinove is pursuing a strategy of protecting its intellectual property, notably in the key market of the United States.

BIO Applauds Renewable Chemicals Act Bill

Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Coon (D-DE) and Al Franken have introduced a new bill, S. 2271 the Renewable Chemicals Act of 2015. If passed, the legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide credits for the production of renewable chemicals and investments in renewable chemical production facilities. The companion bill in the House is H.R. 3390.

bio-logoAccording to the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) the Renewable Chemicals Act would create a targeted, short-term tax credit of 15 cents per pound for production of eligible renewable chemicals from produced from biomass-based feedstocks. Instead of the production tax credit that is currently in place, producers could choose to take a 30 percent investment tax credit for qualified investments for new renewable chemical production facilities.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, said in response to the legislation, “Creating incentives in tax policy will help drive U.S. industrial biotech companies to continue to innovate and develop new renewable products in the chemical space. Incentives that support renewable chemicals will promote enhanced innovation in the chemical industry, the construction of next generation integrated biorefineries while creating new jobs and enhancing environmental benefits.”

“We thank Senator Stabenow for her leadership in support of initiatives that help grow the bio-based economy and boost the agriculture and manufacturing sectors in America,” Erickson continued. “This legislation will allow U.S. companies to better compete in a rapidly growing global chemicals market.”

SolarWorld Harnesses Solar for U.S. Vets

Yesterday was a Veterans Day in the U.S., a day where citizens are asked to thank veterans for their service to our country. In conjunction with the celebration, SolarWorld announced the completion of two projects totaling 2.6 MW for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities: the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas and the West Texas VA Health Center in Big Spring, Texas.

The VA has set its sights toward generating as much as 5 percent of its power supply from solar over the short term and 20 percent by 2020.

VAWichita“We honor and value our nation’s returning soldiers, and all they have done for us,” said Ardes Johnson, U.S. vice president for sales of SolarWorld Americas Inc. and a former naval officer. “We know that solar can reduce the amount of fuel and fuel convoys in theater and therefore save lives as well as curb our needs for foreign fossil fuels. We also embrace the skills, leadership and training of our military men and women as potential employees working to advance this American-pioneered high-tech manufacturing industry.”

One company that participated in the Tennessee project is the Efficient Energy of Tennessee (EETN), a company founded by a veteran and has supported up to 20 jobs for veterans at its solar projects for the VA. EETN was established in 2009 in Powell, Tenn., by Robbie Thomas, a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Navy Submarine Force.

“As a veteran, I fully understand how expanding renewable energy supports our national defense and energy security,” Thomas said. “Efficient Energy of Tennessee is proud to support veterans in the solar energy workforce because they bring an unparalleled skill set and unyielding focus to accomplish the mission.”

RFA Urges Secy Kerry to Promote RFS

As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry prepares to head to COP 21 in Paris, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is calling on him to promote the success of Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen urged Kerry in a letter to highlight the role of the RFS in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and encourage other countries to follow the example.

rfalogo1“On behalf of America’s renewable fuel producers and farmers across the country poised to contribute to lower carbon fuels here and across the globe, I ask you to be bold in Paris,” the letter states. “I ask that you encourage other nations to follow the lead of the United States, which has the single most effective and aggressive low carbon fuels program the world has to offer – and it has been a phenomenal success.”

Dinneen’s letter noted that although the RFS is a potent weapon in combating climate change and has a proven track record of reducing GHG emissions, the U.S. government’s actions leading up to Paris have not sufficiently embraced what he called “America’s best kept climate policy secret”. Enclosed with the letter was a recent RFA report indicating that nearly 30 countries attending COP21 have included biofuels policies and programs in their post-2020 climate action plans, but the U.S. plan does not even mention the RFS or biofuels.

In closing, the letter states, “Mr. Secretary, a very convenient truth is that renewable biofuels are poised to replace a dramatically increasing share of the world’s liquid transportation fuel. We are doing that successfully and to great benefit in the United States. With your leadership, the world will follow. But we must not be afraid to trumpet our success.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center has announced the release of the quarterly installment of The 50 States of Solar: A Quarterly Look at America’s Fast-Evolving Distributed Solar Policy Conversation. The report finds that regulators or legislators in 27 states considered or enacted changes to their solar net metering policies or were undergoing a solar valuation or net metering study during Q3.
  • SheerWind signed a licensing agreement to allow its technology to be marketed and deployed in China. The agreement will enable wind energy developer SheerWindChina to introduce SheerWind’s INVELOX wind delivery system to potential customers in China.
  • Canadian Solar Inc. has announced that the company served as the sole supplier of PV modules for the 2.5 MW solar plant located in the city of Moncagua, in El Salvador, Central America. In total, the facility consists of 8,436 Canadian Solar MaxPower CS6X-310P solar modules.
  • Ryder System, Inc. and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. have announced an agreement for Ryder to take the bold step in switching the fuel at their stations in Orange and Fontana, Ca. to Clean Energy’s Redeem renewable natural gas (RNG). The fuel at the two stations will be available in both compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to individual and public fleet vehicles.

Today in Energy Report Reviews Renewable Diesel

A recent Today in Energy report looked at the future of the renewable diesel. Unlike other biofuels, which do not share identical properties of the fuel they are replacing, renewable diesel fuels, or hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) are virtually indistinguishable from their petroleum counterparts. In 2014, more than one billion gallons of drop-in fuels were produced globally and the volume is expected to increase in the coming years in part in the U.S. as the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) are increased for this category within the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 10.22.20 AMAccording to the article, the most common HEFA biofuel production is a a diesel replacement fuel alternately marketed as hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) abroad, or as renewable diesel in the United States. HEFA fuels are produced by reacting vegetable oil or animal fat with hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst. There are currently 10 plants worldwide that produce renewable diesel with Finnish Neste as the world’s largest producer who is currently working with Boeing on fuel testing. Other major producers are Italy’s ENI, U.S.-based Diamond Green Diesel, and Swedish refiner Preem.

Another outlet for HEFA fuels using similar technology is biojet fuel, which can currently be blended with petroleum jet fuel in proportions up to 50 percent. Many global airlines have begun conducting test flights using various biofuel fuels produced from a multitude of feedstocks including camelina. In the U.S. the Department of Defense is testing these fuels as well with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force leading the way.