Prez Candidates to Speak During Iowa Fuels Summit

Pres CandidatesSeveral presidential candidates are making the 10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit a campaign stop to discuss their views on biofuels. Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina and Rick Santorum have committed to speak on January 19, 2016 in Altoona, Iowa. Twelve pro-RFS presidential candidates from both parties were invited to speak at the Summit so more candidates may confirm to attend. These candidates will be joining U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack along with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad on stage.

“With the Iowa Caucuses just weeks away, we’re very excited to have these special guests on hand to discuss their respective visions for the future of renewable fuels like biodiesel and ethanol,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) President Tom Brooks. “Recent events have proven that renewable fuels and agriculture are vital to Iowa’s future and are a key issue in this year’s Iowa Caucuses. We look forward to hearing these candidates’ plans on important renewable fuels issues.”

A recent poll conducted by The Des Moines Register reported that 77 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers and 61 percent of likely Republican caucusgoers support the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The Summit is free to attend and open to the public.

Governors’ Biofuels Coalition Names Leadership Team

The Governors’ Biofuels Coalition has named its 2016 Leadership Team. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon will become chairman and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts will become vice chairman.

governor-biofuels“For more than 20 years, the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition has worked in a bipartisan way to strengthen American energy independence and create jobs in rural communities,” Governor Nixon said. “I look forward to working with Governor Ricketts to promote the production and use of biofuels because, in addition to diversifying our energy portfolio, they also give consumers more choices at the pump, reduce harmful emissions, and increase family incomes in rural America. I thank Governor Branstad for his outstanding leadership, and I look forward to building on his success.”

During 2016, the Coalition will continue to advocate for policies that grow the biofuel industry including working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) moves forward. Also this year, the Coalition will propose legislation that will encourage investment in the nation’s advanced biofuel industry; ask the EPA to enforce Section 202 of the Clean Air Act to limit aromatics and open the market for ethanol as a source of clean octane; ask the EPA to drop the obsolete vapor pressure restrictions on higher ethanol blends; and ask for policies that will restore the fuel economy credits (CAFE).

“I’m honored to serve as the next vice chairman of this organization, and will continue working to strengthen the energy independence of Nebraska and our country. Nebraska was one of the founding members of the Coalition, and the Coalition continues to play a major role in our nation’s energy policies, including the renewable fuel standard,” said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.

Governor Nixon and Governor Ricketts both thanked Iowa Governor Terry Branstad for not only his leadership of the Coalition last year but for his tireless national leadership on renewable energy policy, and making Iowa a model of renewable energy development for all our states.

Sen. Ted Cruz’s Evolution on Ethanol

Presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz has come a long way on his view of ethanol.  For the first time during a bus stop in Sioux Center, Iowa, Cruz pledged to support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) through 2022 and called for an end to oil and gas production subsidies if elected president. Former Senator Jim Talent, who is now spearheading Americans for Energy Security and Innovation (AESI), has commended Cruz for joining other Republican presidential candidates in voicing support for the RFS.

AESI logo“The RFS has been an extremely successful policy over the past decade – with 10 percent of the nation’s fuel supply now coming from cost-competitive biofuels,” said Talent. “It has helped the biofuels industry create more than 850,000 well-paying jobs in rural America and across the country.”

“The fact is, continued Talent, “that energy markets are not free markets because of the international oil cartel. Senator Cruz is correct to call for leveling the playing field by ensuring market access for biofuels. His proposal to rescind the EPA blend wall will help to promote investment in biofuels that will help to create more jobs and spur innovation.”

In response to Sen. Cruz’s statements, America’s Renewable Future (ARF) state director Eric Branstad said, “Farmers and rural communities across Iowa are going to be encouraged by Sen. Cruz’s remarks. He is clearly listening to the people of Iowa and understands the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard to America’s economy and energy independence, as he started the caucus process calling for immediate repeal. While not perfect, this is a big step forward by Sen. Cruz.”

Despite recent pro-RFS comments, Sen. Cruz has not been supportive through out his whole campaign. So much so that ARF has been campaigning with Iowans to let them know that Cruz is not a “true” supporter. However, Cruz wrote an Op-Ed this week outlining a new tone and position on ethanol and the RFS. 

ARF-Logo-Retina-AltIn addition to this new RFS position, Cruz also communicated support for breaking the artificial blendwall saying, “ethanol blends can be a win-win for automakers and consumers alike”. This, said ARF, is a far cry from Cruz’s 2013 introduction of an immediate repeal and his position that ethanol production drives “up the costs of fuel, food, and goods.” These are facts Cruz’s campaign conveniently left out of its response. Cruz’s recent comments, said ARF, come after being pressured by Iowans and are a welcome change. Continue reading

Ethanol Industry Responds to API’s State of Energy

Yesterday American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Jack Gerard delivered the 2016 State of American Energy Address. During the presentation he made remarks about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), federal energy legislation that API has been a vocal opponent of since it’s inception in 2007.

API Jack Gerard,jpgCiting impediment of environmental improvement and cost to consumer Gerard remarked, “For example, ignoring clear consumer preference and in spite of the current record levels of domestic crude oil production, EPA continues to push the Renewable Fuel Standard, a relic of our nation’s era of energy scarcity and uncertainty.

A 2014 Congressional Budget Office study projected that the RFS could raise the cost of fuel prices because “Given the design of the RFS, the cost of encouraging additional sales of high-ethanol fuel falls on the producers and consumers of gasoline and diesel.”

What’s more, there is very little consumer demand for high ethanol fuels….It is well past time that we end or significantly amend the RFS.”

The ethanol industry responding to API’s continued attack on the RFS. Tom Buis, Growth Energy co-chair said, “API’s ‘State of American Energy’ speech, brought to you by Big Oil, is nothing new. While oil companies talk about the future of energy in this country, they seem fixated on a finite resource and fail to acknowledge that renewable fuels play a critical role in meeting the nation’s growing energy needs.

growth-energy-logo1“Year after year, API attempts to drive the narrative that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) must be reformed or repealed. This argument is fundamentally flawed. The claims that renewable fuels will increase the cost of energy or that they are worse for the environment are simply ridiculous. Countless independent studies have shown that renewable fuels like ethanol help drive down the cost of fuel. Furthermore, when it comes environmental damage, no one has a worse record than oil companies. Their record of ecological disasters is extensive and deeply troubling.Between 2008 and 2014, more than 25,000 oil spills accounted for more than 217 million gallons of oil and petroleum based products being dis­charged into U.S. navigable waterways, territorial waters, tributar­ies, the contiguous zone, onto shoreline, or into other waters and land that threaten the environment. That’s an average of more than 30 million gallons spilled a year. In contrast, ethanol is biodegradable and no beaches have ever been closed due to an ethanol spill…

API notes the importance of consumers in their speech, yet seems to believe the American consumer is best served by denying them a choice. Furthermore, they attempt to distort the truth saying there is no demand for renewable fuels. Yet major retail chains like Sheetz, Kum & Go, MAPCO and others are adopting higher blends and offering them to consumers and seeing tremendous success and growing demand.

The bottom line is that API wants to kill any competition that may threaten their bottom line and record profits….The RFS is a win-win for America, as it is an essential part of a true ‘all of the above’ energy strategy needed to meet the growing energy demands of the 21st century.” (Click here for Buis’ complete remarks.)

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen soundly rejected API’s claims. “I’m not sure what reality Jack is living in, but it is clear that he believes API’s actions and policies are making our nation more energy secure when nothing could be rfalogo1further from the truth. Perhaps he has convinced himself that fracking will provide the answer to all of our nation’s energy needs. What Jack conveniently failed to mention is that as oil prices have crashed, so has the rig count. The number of active U.S. oil rigs has plunged 67 percent from its peak in 2014. Last week’s rig count was actually the lowest since May 2010, according to the oil field services firm Baker Hughes. If Jack spent time living in the real world, instead of his revisionist reality, he would find himself whistling past the graveyards of shuttered wells that have been abandoned in the bust that inevitably follows a temporary boom of an oil well. Continue reading

Green Plains Completes Ethanol Transactions

Green Plains Partners has announced that it the acquisition of the storage and transportation assets of the Hopewell, Virginia and Hereford, Texas ethanol production facilities from Green Plains, Inc. has been completed. Totaling $62.5 million, these are the first two transactions completed since the company’s IPO. The acquired assets include ethanol storage tanks that support the plants’ combined expected production capacity of approximately 160 million gallons per year and 224 leased railcars with capacity of approximately 6.72 million gallons.

greenplains“We are pleased to complete the first drop down of assets since our IPO and believe this transaction highlights the value created for both Green Plains Partners’ unitholders and Green Plains’ shareholders,” said Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer of Green Plains Partners. “The acquisition is immediately accretive to distributable cash flow per common unit of the partnership. We believe the partnership enhances Green Plains’ ability to acquire ethanol production assets that are aligned with our growth strategy.”

The acquired assets are expected to contribute approximately $7.7 million of EBITDA in its first full year of operation. Green Plains purchased the Hopewell and Hereford assets were purchased in fourth quarter 2015.

IA Gov. Branstad to Speak Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit

Once again, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad along with Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will be discussing Iowa’s leading role in biofuel production and development during the 10th annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit hosted by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA). The free event takes place January 19, 2016 in Altoona, Iowa.

Iowa-RFA-logo-new1“Under Gov. Branstad’s proactive leadership, Iowa has become the nation’s number one renewable fuels producing state,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) President Tom Brooks. “When you combine Gov. Branstad’s successful biofuels track-record with the fact he is the nation’s longest-serving Governor, we’re excited to have him provide his unique perspectives on biofuels at the upcoming Summit.”

The Summit is free to attend and open to the public. Registration is required. Registration deadline is January 12, 2016. The 10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit will take place at The Meadows Conference Center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa on Tuesday, January 19, 2016. To register to attend and learn more about the 2016 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, click here.

Ethanol Report on 2016

ethanol-report-adA new year has dawned and with it new opportunities for the ethanol industry. In this Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen discusses some of the upcoming events in 2016, including the 21st National Ethanol Conference in New Orleans February 15-17, and comments on whether there may yet be a legal challenge by the industry to the EPA’s biofuels volume obligations under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

Ethanol Report on 2016

ADM to Develop North Carolina Ethanol Hub

ADMlogoArcher Daniels Midland (ADM) will develop a new ethanol hub in Selma, North Carolina. The company says the project with Kinder Morgan, Inc. and Bailey Feed Mill will be to build a new unit train rail facility and ethanol offloading system.

KMI will invest in and construct the new facilities, which will be located at the Bailey Feed Mill and will have the ability to offload up to 96 railcar-long unit trains in a 24-hour period. KMI will also build a new pipeline, approximately 2.6 miles in length, to connect the unit train offload system to their vast tank farm in Selma, allowing ethanol to be distributed to blending terminals in Selma and the surrounding markets.

“This project will help us improve the efficiency of our ethanol delivery in this market with added unload capacity, quick-turn time on railcars and a pipeline connection to tankage,” said Craig Willis, president of ethanol for ADM. “And by working with KMI and Bailey Feed Mill on this project, we will achieve the benefits in a cost- and capital-efficient manner. ADM has been a long-time supplier in this market, and we are excited to work with KMI and Bailey Feed Mill to bring a more flexible, reliable and efficient solution to customers in the Selma area.”

ADM and KMI anticipate having inter-terminal connections in service as early as the third quarter of 2016, with the remainder of the project expected to be complete by the end of 2016.

“We are pleased to work with ADM and Bailey Feed Mill on this transportation solution for ethanol deliveries,” said David Halphen, vice president of business development for KMI’s Products Pipelines. “This project will reduce the ethanol delivery carbon footprint through a more efficient use of rail capacity and pipeline transportation.”

Iowa Tops 4 Billion Gallons of Ethanol in 2015

Iowa-RFA-logo-new1It’s been a record-breaking year for ethanol production in Iowa. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) says the state’s 43 ethanol plants produced more than 4 billion gallons during 2015, up slightly from 3.9 billion gallons in 2014. Iowa continues to be the number one ethanol producing state, accounting for more than a quarter of all ethanol produced in the U.S.

“While Iowa took a modest step forward in production this year, we have the corn supplies to really expand ethanol production,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “What we don’t have is access to the market for higher ethanol blends. The USDA blender pump grant program will help move the needle forward in 2016 and we hope the EPA will get the RFS back on track when they propose the RFS levels for 2017. If we can crack the petroleum monopoly on fuel choice, it will benefit consumers, farmers and the environment.”

IRFA credits the increase to efficiency gains and debottlenecking at existing plants, as well as ethanol production from cellulosic feedstocks such as corn stover and corn kernel fiber.

The Andersons’ Michigan Ethanol Plant to Expand

Andersons1Agribusiness The Andersons is expanding its ethanol plant in Michigan. The company says the Albion, Michigan plant’s capacity is being doubled.

“The supply and demand situation in Michigan relative to corn and ethanol is very favorable,” explains CEO Pat Bowe. “Advancements in farm practices and technology continue to increase the size of Michigan’s corn crop and enhance its quality. This added production capacity enables more ethanol to be produced and used in the state.

“This dynamic,” he continues, “combined with the highly efficient operations at the Albion facility, makes it a compelling investment for expansion.”

The facility, built by ICM, Inc. of Colwich, Kansas in 2006, was engineered for future expansion. ICM, Inc. is contracted to build the expansion, which is scheduled to be completed in April 2017. Approximately 10 new full-time production positions will be added when the new capacity becomes operational.

The ethanol plant is co-owned by Marathon Petroleum Corporation.