Iowa Senate Passes RFS Resolution

The Iowa Senate has passed a bipartisan resolution in support of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) through 2022. The resolution calls on Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), President Obama, and the next president to support the policy as passed by Congress in 2005.

dontmesswithRFS_logoSenate Resolution 118 names the RFS as one of the single most successful energy policies in our nation’s history and goes on to say, “Under the RFS, renewable fuels have access to a retail market in the face of a vertically integrated petroleum market; and whereas, the RFS represents a congressional promise to American biofuels producers, farmers, communities, and investors that the blend levels of the RFS will increase each year; and whereas, this congressional policy support the RFS will continue to build on the long-term capacity of the renewable fuels industry and will encourage the development of new types of clean fuels…”

The resolution serves as a reminder of the benefits of the RFS to the state of Iowa in terms of economic output and the preservation of Iowa’s agricultural way of life. “The RFS has been a tremendously successful bipartisan policy that’s worked to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by producing our own clean American fuel and in leading the innovation of 21st century solutions to our energy needs. We need to keep this momentum going and I commend the Iowa Senate for passing this resolution,” said Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy.

Growth Energy Names Emily Skor as CEO

Emily Skor will be taking over the role of CEO for Growth Energy effective May 16, 2016. She most recently served as the Vice President for Communications of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) and the Executive Director of the CHPA Educational Foundation. Former and acting CEO and Growth Energy Co-Chair Tom Buis will continue to serve in his role as Board of Director’s Co-Chair.

E.Skor Headshot copy“For the last seven years, Tom Buis has been a tremendous ally to the ethanol industry, leading Growth Energy through some of its toughest fights, and on behalf of the entire organization, we are thankful for his service and continued commitment to the industry,” said POET Executive Chairman and CEO and Growth Energy Co-Chair Jeff Broin. “As the ethanol industry continues to evolve – facing new opportunities and challenges – Emily is poised to lead Growth Energy as our next generation leader for next generation fuels. Emily brings a new perspective on policy, reputation management and communications to the organization during this dynamic time for the industry.”

At CHPA, Skor oversaw public affairs campaigns, integrated strategic communications into legislative campaigns and coordinated ally development. Before joining CHPA Skor served as Senior Vice President at Dezenhall Resources, a nationally recognized crisis communications and issues management firm. For more than a decade, she helped Fortune 500 companies and industry associations manage issues affecting brand confidence and corporate reputation through media, advocacy, coalition building and consumer education campaigns. She is a Minnesota native and graduate of Wellesley College.

“Since its inception, Growth Energy has been a champion for pro-biofuels policies and represented thousands of voices for the ethanol industry,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “The organization and its members are committed to advancing fuel technologies that are proven to be better for the environment and automobile engines. I am thrilled to be part of this effort to take Growth Energy to the next level. As more consumers and automakers alike embrace higher blends of ethanol and legislators continue to support its environmental benefits, we will protect our environment for future generations and give drivers choices at the pump.”

E15 Fuels More Than 150 Million Miles

According to Growth Energy, a major E15 milestone has been reached – drivers have driven more than 150 million miles using E15. The data came from gasoline retailers who work with Growth Energy who also said there have been no negative effects. Several retailers who offer E15 include Sheetz, Kum & Go, MAPCO, Minnoco, Murphy USA and Protec.

E15 at the pump“I have been using E15 for the last three years at Minnoco and have noticed no mileage loss, better engine performance and great savings at the pump,” said Mark Foudray, an E15 consumer from Shakopee, Minnesota.

Steve Anderson, an AAA approved and ASE certified service consultant and owner/operator of Marshall Cretin Minnoco from St. Paul, Minnesota, said of E15, “We have a loyal following for the E15 product. Approaching 1,000,000 gallons pumped we have nothing but positive results. E15 has higher octane and burns cleaner —the interior of the engines are cleaner and the tailpipe makes more air, and less pollution. E15 has been widely tested and is safe for all vehicles model year 2001 and newer. We see over 50 percent of our customers purchasing E15 on a daily basis. The statistics don’t lie. It is a great product and we are pleased to offer it as a choice to our fueling customers.”

Joel Hennen, a third generation owner/operator of Hennen’s Auto Service from Shakopee, Minnesota who also sells E15 said, “I have been selling E15 to our customers since the fall of 2013. Since I introduced it, there has not been one complaint due to mileage loss or engine performance. I hear only positive comments with drivability and the lower cost at the pump. Today’s cars are designed to utilize the higher octane to improve performance through different computer management systems. I see higher-level blends of ethanol, like E15, being the next fuel of future.”

Groups Ask for Advanced Biofuel Tax Extension

As the advanced biofuel tax credits get closer to expiring, six biofuel trade associations have called on federal legislators to pass a multi-year extension of the credits. In 2015, through the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, several programs were extended including: the Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit; the Special Depreciation Allowance for Second Generation Biofuel Plant Property; the Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit; the Alternative Fuel and Alternative Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credit; and the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property. While these were extended through 2019, the advanced biofuels tax credit is set to expire at the end of this year.

The letter sent today to Senate and House leaders, the Senate Committee on Finance leaders and the House Ways and Means Committee leaders and was signed by The Advanced Biofuels Business Council, Algae Biomass Organization, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, and Renewable Fuels Association.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 12.29.51 PMThe letter stated, “This short-term expiration of tax incentives is jeopardizing the long-term investment necessary for advanced biofuels. This creates uncertainty for investors and industry about the availability of these credits in the future. As leaders in a critical innovation sector in the United States, we are well aware of the financial constraints facing this country. However, as Congress works on developing energy tax extenders legislation, we urge you to ensure that advanced biofuels are part of the package. Extending some 2016 expiring energy tax provisions and not others creates a piecemeal approach and investment uncertainty across the energy sector and distorts the playing field for biofuel producers.”

Additional comments were made by each of the six organizations that signed the letter. These comments can be found below.

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association said, “Short-term tax incentives are akin to new drivers in a stick shift vehicle. The cars haltingly lurch forward for a time, but suddenly stall. The advanced biofuel industry needs certainty if it is to remain commercially viable, as it continues to bring new facilities and technologies online. Longer term incentives would go a long way to making sure the industry continues its growth, and don’t leave consumers stalled along the way.” Continue reading

House Members Urge Reduction in #Ethanol Tariffs

ttipA bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Trade Ambassador Michael Froman this week urging him to examine opportunities to reduce any tariffs on U.S. produced energy, including ethanol, during the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-Tip) negotiations.

“The U.S. ethanol industry has been unfairly targeted by the EU for increased duties (on ethanol) which have subsequently eliminated U.S. share in the European market,” reads the letter from nine members of Congress. “Currently Europe cannot adequately produce enough ethanol for their own market without importing ethanol from foreign sources, such as the U.S.”

“As T-TIP negotiations progress toward completion,” they continued, “we are confident you can leverage access to all domestic energy sources, such as U.S. natural gas, crude, and ethanol in order to achieve a favorable outcome for these industries and the reduction or elimination of trade obstacles to market access in Europe.”

The European Commission imposed a 9.6 percent duty on U.S. ethanol over three years ago in response to an anti-dumping complaint lodged by European ethanol trade group ePURE. In May 2013, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy filed a complaint with the General Court in Luxembourg which is still being litigated challenging the Commission’s decision.

“The duties imposed were unjustified and blatantly protectionist,” says RFA CEO Bob Dinneen. “Sadly, the real losers in this are European consumers that have to pay more for motor fuel because the lowest-cost liquid fuel in the world — U.S. ethanol — has been targeted by their protectionist policy. Since Europe cannot produce sufficient domestic ethanol supply, and must import the fuel from foreign sources, including the U.S., it is time to see the duties removed.”

RFA, Growth Energy Join USGC

US Grains Council logoThe U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) membership is expanding. This month the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy became official members. Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy (SIRE) and Al-Corn Clean Fuel also joined this month. USGC says their newest members, especially the ethanol trade organizations, will benefit them in multiple ways as they work together to increase global ethanol exports. Both groups will also have seats on USGC’s ethanol Advisory Team.

rfalogo1“We are proud to have RFA’s and Growth’s full support promoting ethanol overseas,” said USGC Chief Economist Mike Dwyer. “While they have sat on an advisory committee before, now they will really have the chance to engage as members. These organizations specialize in ethanol and offer input and context that will take our A-Team activities and programs to a new level.”

The 2014/2015 marketing year saw the second largest quantity of U.S ethanol shipped overseas. The organizations are using this as foundation for promoting U.S. ethanol as a clean-burning source of fuel to buyers and end-users around the globe. Lase year, this work was done through ongoing assessments of potential markets; bringing three buyers teams to visit the United States; bringing two groups of U.S. ethanol industry representatives overseas; and a series of workshops focusing on the environmental and economic benefits of ethanol use in China.

This year, this Council’s work will focus on the Asia-Pacific region, particularly Japan, Mexico, India and China as priority markets, with additional opportunities in Peru, the Philippines and other countries that are increasingly receptive to the benefits of blending ethanol into their fuel supplies.

growth-energy-logo1“With RFA’s and Growth’s growing engagement in these programs, the steering committee is showing their commitment to our work abroad,” Dwyer said. “Developing new markets for fuel ethanol exports offers new opportunity for U.S. corn and sorghum producers and offers us new ways to partner with customers looking to reduce their fuel costs and their environmental impacts.”

Chicago Thornton’s Locations Now Selling E15

Thornton’s will be selling E15 at 43 Chicago-area locations by the end of this month. The fuel retailer has branded the ethanol blend Unleaded15.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 10.54.35 AM“Unleaded 15 offers a great value to our Chicago guests, and supports our desire to provide the best possible fuel options,” said Jeff Gallic, Vice President of Fuel Supply. “Thorntons has offered E85 for years and given the market demand for higher ethanol blends, we feel Unleaded15 is the next logical step for our fuel portfolio.”

The industry responded to the news today with Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) stating, “We are pleased to see E15’s footprint growing throughout the country. Chicago consumers can now benefit from using a lower carbon, higher octane fuel blend that is approved for nearly 80% of today’s automotive fleet. This is also the first significant rollout of E15 in a reformulated gasoline market, designated by EPA in nearly 20 cities to help reduce smog levels with cleaner gasoline. That designation means E15 can be sold year-round in Chicago without being hampered by burdensome EPA gasoline volatility restrictions when the nation switches from winter to summer gasoline regulations.”

Growth Energy Co-Chair Tom Buis added, “On behalf of Growth Energy and its members, I would like to commend Thorntons for their decision to offer consumers Unleaded15, providing them with the opportunity to choose a homegrown, renewable fuel at the pump. By adding this E15 offering to their fuel portfolio, Thorntons has demonstrated their commitment to consumer choice, and a cleaner burning, homegrown high-performance fuel. Now Chicagoans will have the chance to do so as well by choosing to fill up with Unleaded15.”

#Classic16 Panel on #Ethanol Future

(L-R): Jack Bernens, Syngenta; Delayne Johnson, Quad County Corn Processors; and Kelly Manning, Growth Energy

(L-R): Jack Bernens, Syngenta; Delayne Johnson, Quad County Corn Processors; and Kelly Manning, Growth Energy

The future of fuel was the topic of an educational session hosted by Syngenta at the recent Commodity Classic in New Orleans. The event brought together leaders representing industry, ethanol producer and agricultural perspectives to discuss opportunities to grow demand for American ethanol in the wake of the EPA’s 2015 ruling on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Growth Energy vice president for development Kelly Manning told attendees that the EPA ruling makes retail partnerships, like the industry’s Prime the Pump fund, more important than ever to grow ethanol demand. “Prime the Pump is helping high-volume, progressive-minded and industry-leading fuel retailers, who will demonstrate the performance, cost savings and profit opportunity of marketing higher ethanol blends such as E15,” said Manning.

In addition to retail partnerships, new technologies are also critical to the future of fuel. Specifically, advances in cellulosic technology are helping to make biofuels more sustainable and produce more ethanol from the same bushel of corn.

Galva, Iowa-based Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) achieved EPA certification in 2014 to generate D3 Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) for cellulosic ethanol using Cellerate™ process technology. Cellerate is a collaboration between Syngenta and Cellulosic Ethanol Technologies, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of QCCP.

According to Delayne Johnson, chief executive officer at QCCP, the generation of D3 RINs helps fulfill advanced and cellulosic requirements set forth by the RFS. Issuing D3 RINs has also enabled the company to expand sales into racing and advanced biofuels markets. “With Cellerate, the biofuels industry now has the technology available to create 2 billion gallons of additional cellulosic ethanol – all from the same kernel of corn,” Johnson said. “QCCP is proud to be one of the first companies to issue D3 RINs. We look forward to higher D3 RIN requirements as new production comes on.”

Jack Bernens, head of Enogen at Syngenta, noted that the company is helping in both the retail partnership and technology arenas. Last year, Syngenta announced that it will donate approximately $600,000 to the Prime the Pump Fund as part of a commitment initiated in 2013 to contribute $1 to the ethanol industry for every acre planted with Enogen corn enzyme technology.

“Ethanol is helping America reduce its dependence on foreign oil, lowering prices at the pump, improving the environment with lower emissions and growing the economy with jobs that can’t be outsourced,” said Bernens. “Syngenta recognizes the importance of retail partnerships to help grow demand for American ethanol and initiatives to help make cellulosic ethanol a reality. We believe both are key to the long-term success of the ethanol industry.

Growth Thanks Farmers on National Ag Day

National Ag Day logoToday is National Ag Day, a day to thanks farmers for what they do for America. Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy made a statement today in celebration of the food, feed and fuel that American farmers provide the world.

“American farmers are to be admired. They are stewards of the land who ensure sustainability for future generations. They are innovative, dedicated and produce an abundance of food and fuel for our nation and the world. American farmers are the backbone of our nation. Their hard work and efficiency help to bolster rural economies while growing our nation’s economy, providing economic security for all. It takes a lot to get food from the farm to the table and we all have America’s farmers and ranchers to thank for it.

Furthermore, American agriculture is at the forefront of biofuel development. Farmers are helping produce homegrown, sustainable biofuels that are cleaning the air we breathe, reducing harmful toxic emissions and providing a 21st century fuel for 21st century vehicles. These innovators are decreasing our dependence on dirty fossil fuels and foreign oil imports, reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions and creating jobs that cannot be outsourced. The fuels they produce also provide consumers with a choice and savings at the pump.

American consumers pay less per capita than any other country for food. Our grocery stores are well stocked and American agriculture is the envy of the world. Agriculture creates economic security for our rural communities and has allowed hardworking Americans to secure a place in the middle class. As we celebrate National Ag Day, Americans nationwide should be proud to acknowledge the many contributions agriculture has made to society and the leading role farming communities play in our country’s economy.”

Admin Takes Swift Action on China Antidumping Case

The U.S. ethanol industry recently called on the Obama administration to take quick action against China who has opened an antidumping case on U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGs). In the letter, the groups asked for swift action to “mount an aggressive defense of our access to the Chinese livestock feed market.”

This week the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) as well as the Department of Commerce contacted the appropriate Chinese officials, expressing their concern over the process and sampling methodology utilized in selecting U.S. companies for participation in the antidumping and countervailing duty cases.

Following the decisive response, Growth Energy and RFA praised the administration for action to defend the U.S. DDG industry.

growth-energy-logo1Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy noted, “I would like to commend President Obama and his administration for taking immediate action to protect the U.S distiller’s grains industry. The simple fact is that there is no reason the People’s Republic of China should file a case like this – it is counterproductive, disrupts trade and produces uncertainty throughout the domestic ethanol industry. Growth Energy and its members are grateful for the position this administration has taken to ensure that unnecessary trade restrictions such as this anti-dumping and countervailing duty case are resolved as quickly as possible.”

rfalogo1“I congratulate and appreciate the administration for getting involved in this crucial issue,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “I am glad both the United States Trade Representative and the Department of Commerce are recognizing the urgent need to address our concerns. I look forward to a quick resolution of these cases and returning to fair trade of the U.S. distillers dried grains industry.”