Iowa RFA Polls Show Importance of RFS

IowaRFAlogoNew polls from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) show support for the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and those presidential candidates friendly toward the RFS. This news release from the group says the RFS and renewable fuels will be key issues for Iowans in the 2016 general election.

The poll, conducted by The Tarrance Group, shows “Iowa voters have an exceptionally favorable view of ethanol, with 72 percent favorable and only 11 percent unfavorable,” stated Tarrance Group President and CEO Ed Goeas. “This is virtually a universal opinion across geography and voter groups. Not a single subgroup of the electorate fails to hold a majority favorable opinion.”

Additionally, the poll results find that 57 percent of Iowa voters are less likely to support a candidate for public office who opposes an increase in ethanol use through the RFS. Similarly, 56 percent of voters oppose EPA’s recent proposal to reduce the RFS. Goeas noted, “Amazingly, not a single subgroup of the electorate favors this action.” He added, “[O]ur findings indicate that once voters hear the facts, the coalition against this is likely to grow.”

Meanwhile, this news release from the group shows that the top five Republican presidential candidates in the state are all backers of the RFS, with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker leading the pack with 19 percent, followed by Ben Carson at 13 percent, Jeb Bush at 11 percent, Marco Rubio at 9 percent and Mike Huckabee at 8 percent.

“As we have seen in other credible surveys of Republican caucus goers, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker continues to set the pace in Iowa,” stated TheIowaRepublican.com Editor-in-Chief Craig Robinson. “In one way or another, each the top five candidates in the poll have either publicly expressed support of leaving the current RFS in place or have backed an infrastructure grant program that would help ensure that consumers are allowed choice at the gas pump. These are vital issues to Iowa’s economy and it should no surprise that the 2016 candidates who understand the importance of renewable fuels issues are in the top tier of the poll.”

Clinton Campaign Announcement Highlights Biofuels

hillary-2016Hillary Clinton seems to understand the importance in courting the biofuels vote, especially in Iowa, as she officially kicked off her presidential campaign. America’s Renewable Future (ARF) noted her support for advanced biofuels as part of making America a clean energy superpower.

“…We will make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century [by] developing renewable power—wind, solar, advanced biofuels; building cleaner power plants, smarter electric grids, greener buildings; using additional fees and royalties from fossil fuel extraction to protect the environment,” said Clinton at the New York rally.

“Sec. Clinton has shown great insight and leadership on the issue of advanced biofuels and she clearly understands that renewable fuel is a key component of a 21st century energy policy,” said former Lt. Gov. and ARF Co-Chair, [Democrat] Patty Judge, “Renewable fuel supports over 852,000 American jobs, reduces our dependence on foreign oil, and gives consumers cleaner, less expensive choices at the pump.”

“We are grateful for her recognition of the role biofuels can play in our energy development, but the key to success for advanced biofuels is a partnership with first generation biofuels,” added Judge, “We invite Sec. Clinton to tour a plant and learn how we only fulfill the promise of advanced biofuels by having a strong corn ethanol industry.”

Clinton had recently penned an op-ed for the Cedar Rapids Gazette calling to get the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) back on track.

Ethanol Industry Thoughts on Presidential Candidates

few15-bob-brookeSeveral new presidential hopefuls in both parties have officially declared their candidacies recently and more are planning to announce soon. During a press briefing at the 2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop, Bob Dinneen with the Renewable Fuels Association and Brooke Coleman with the Advanced Ethanol Council were asked how they think the candidates, declared and undeclared, rate when it comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Dinneen attended the Iowa Ag Summit in March where nine Republican presidential hopefuls were asked their views on the RFS and was not surprised that the only two who said they were opposed were from Texas – the first declared GOP candidate Sen. Ted Cruz and former Gov. Rick Perry, who just formally declared this week. “That’s a dog bites man story if there ever was one,” said Dinneen. “I would think less of those two men if they weren’t sticking up for their big Texas oil industry.”

Dinneen was surprised by the candidates who did express support for the RFS, some of them publicly for the first time, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is expected to announce his candidacy later this month, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, both of whom have yet to declare.

On the Democratic side, another new candidate announced this week was former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee, but the big dog in the fight is still Hillary Clinton and Coleman was impressed with her recent op-ed in the Cedar Rapids Gazette. “It suggested that she understands the different intricacies of the challenges we face in this industry,” said Coleman. “However, one op-ed does not make a candidate and we will have to continue to work with Secretary Clinton to make sure that she is helpful to make sure she is helpful with regard to what we are dealing with in the administration right now because there is no better person to help us than Hillary Clinton when it comes to where the Obama administration is in the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Listen to Dinneen and Coleman here: Comments from RFA's Bob Dinneen and AEC's Brooke Coleman at FEW

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes

Candidate Clinton Clean Energy Commentary

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton came out in favor of domestic, renewable energy in an op-ed for the Cedar Rapids Gazette this week.

hillary-2016“I believe the United States can and must be the clean energy super power for the 21st century,” writes Mrs. Clinton. “We can’t afford to cede our leadership in developing and deploying the advanced, clean fuels of the future that will grow our economy, lower our energy bills, reduce pollution, and protect the health of our families and communities. And America’s farmers and rural communities have to be at the heart of this effort.”

Clinton gave a strong endorsement of the Renewable Fuel Standard:

The Renewable Fuel Standard can continue to be a powerful tool to spur the development of advanced biofuels and expand the overall contribution that renewable fuels make to our national fuel supply. But we also can’t ignore significant changes to the energy landscape since the RFS was expanded in 2007. We have to get the RFS back on track in a way that provides investors with the certainty they need, protects consumers, improves access to E15, E85, and biodiesel blends, and effectively drives the development of cellulosic and other advanced biofuels.

Read the entire editorial here.

Wind Industry Presses Washington for Action

Republican and Democrat governors are pressing U.S. Senate and House leadership in an effort spur action on tax incentives used to grow the country’s wind energy industry. Washington Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee and Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively of the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, co-signed a letter insisting federal policymakers “support timely extensions” of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The PTC is the primary federal incentive building more new U.S. wind farms while the ITC is the primary incentive attracting private investment developing the nation’s offshore wind energy resources.

“This bipartisan letter is a reminder that the nation’s governors are on the front line of the nation’s Governors Wind Energy Coalition logoenergy future and have a vital role in planning states’ future,” said American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Tom Kiernan. “They see first-hand how investing in the wind resources in their states benefit local economies and create opportunities for job growth. To them the decision to extend these incentives is more of an economic one than a political one. We look forward to working with all the governors to maximize the benefits of wind power to their states.”

According to AWEA 23,000 jobs were added in 2014 and there are currently $23 billion worth of new wind projects under development. But, cites Kiernan, that momentum is increasingly placed at risk as Congress delays action on passing policy capable of creating long-term market certainty.

“These tax credits have made possible the robust growth of the American wind industry and thousands of renewable energy jobs in recent years, with substantial economic returns to our states and the nation,” the governors’ letter reads. “But these gains are at risk today because ongoing federal policy uncertainty continues to hamper the further development of the nation’s wind industry.” Continue reading

Group Tells Iowa Campaigners to Stop Picking Oil

ARF-Logo1A group backing biofuels is telling 2016 candidates coming to Iowa to quit picking oil as the winner in energy policy. America’s Renewable Future (ARF) has taken out radio advertisements and full-page ad in the Des Moines Register, Dubuque Telegraph Herald, and Sioux City Journal warning candidates that oil in U.S. energy policy is a government-subsidized stranglehold supporting foreign oil.

In addition, the political group has deployed a petition urging caucus-goers to “tell candidates to stop supporting hundred-year-old, big government subsidies for the oil industry, and to level the playing field by supporting the RFS. To boost this effort, ARF’s radio ad will run Tuesday through Thursday of this week. The aggressive radio buy includes spots on WHO Radio in Des Moines, WMT in Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, and KSUX in Sioux City, among other stations across the state.

“Some politicians campaigning in our state are not listening to Americans who want a cleaner, more secure U.S. energy policy, and a renewable choice at the pump. We are calling on Iowans to sign our petition atwww.AmericasRenewableFuture.com telling Washington politicians to stop picking Big Oil over homegrown renewable fuel,” said ARF co-chair, Bill Couser, “Our call will be sound across the state via radio and online, urging Iowans to let candidates know where they stand.”

Growth Energy Points to Cruz Record on Biofuels

growth-energy-logoAs Texas Sen. Ted Cruz announces his candidacy for president, Growth Energy is reminding voters of what the ethanol group calls his “pro-fossil fuel, pro-drilling legislation attempts to kill the homegrown renewable fuels industry.” This news release points to Cruz’s American Energy Renaissance Act, which Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, says will promotes Big Oil and deny consumer choice.

“The recent legislation introduced by Senator Cruz is not only shortsighted in terms of a comprehensive energy policy, but it seeks to stifle all production and growth of homegrown, sustainable biofuels that help create American jobs and reduce our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels. This legislation fails to factor in the important role biofuels play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while also providing consumers with a choice and savings at the pump.

“Senator Cruz seems to believe that he is exercising leadership by attacking the only energy policy that has contributed to our economic, energy and national security. Yet Senator Cruz fails to challenge or acknowledge the excessive subsidies oil companies have received for 102 years and counting at the expense of the American taxpayer. Let’s be clear – this is not ‘profiles in courage,’ this is pandering to Big Oil.

“He says there are no benefits from renewable fuels; however, the Renewable Fuel Standard has helped reduce our dependence on foreign oil by nearly 50 percent, from 60 to 33 percent, saved consumers at the pump, cleaned our air and revitalized our rural economy. Furthermore, his legislation is a direct attack on America’s farmers, the backbone of this nation, who are working overtime to feed the world and fuel America.”

Growth concludes that Cruz’s legislation would take away the freedom of choice for consumers to choose higher performing, less expensive fuel for which there is a demand.

Biofuel Advocates Invite Candidates to Learn RFS

ARF-LogoIt won’t be long until presidential candidates invade Iowa once again (and some already have). So, Iowa-based America’s Renewable Future (ARF) has publically invited Sen. Ted Cruz and all potential 2016 presidential candidates to tour Iowa renewable fuel facilities across the state to learn more about the success of the industry.

“The goal of our organization is to educate candidates on the economic importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its many advantages, not only locally, but nationally,” said former Lt. Gov. and ARF co-chair, Patty Judge, “the RFS sustains 73,000 jobs in Iowa and over 800,000 nationally. Iowa farmers epitomize hard work and are a beacon of rural America’s success and we hope that Sen. Cruz will stand with them.”

Following Sen. Ted Cruz’s opposition to the standard at the March 7 Iowa Ag Summit, the organization is especially interested in drawing the Texas senator to an ethanol plant tour on his upcoming trips in April. “Sen. Cruz’s remarks show that there is a chance to have important dialogue on this issue,” said ARF co-chair and Nevada, IA cattleman, Bill Couser, “I had a chance to personally invite Sen. Cruz at the Ag Summit in addition to the two formal invitations ARF has sent to his campaign and I hope that he will not miss this chance to see just what this policy means for real Iowans and their families.”

“This comes down to supporting independence from foreign oil while supporting American jobs or giving in to foreign interests and Big Oil,” added Couser, “We hope that Sen. Cruz we will make time to hear from folks who have seen the success in this industry and ask questions about his concerns.”

RFS in Spotlight at Iowa Ag Summit

iowa-ag-walkerNine potential Republican presidential were asked to address their opinions on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) at the Iowa Ag Summit in Des Moines on Saturday. The final score was six in favor, three opposed.

On the plus side were former Florida governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Last to speak at the event, Walker said he viewed the RFS as an access issue. “So it’s something I’m willing to go forward on, continuing the Renewable Fuel Standard and pressing the EPA to make sure that there’s certainty in terms of levels set,” said Walker, adding that he would like to see market access issued addressed in the long term and voicing support for blender pumps. “Right now we don’t have a free and open market,” he said. Iowa Ag Summit comments from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

couser-cruzOn the Texas side are former Governor Rick Perry, who sought a waiver from the RFS in 2008 and said it should be left to the states, and Senator Ted Cruz, who said it would “be the easy thing” for him to say he supported the RFS before the Iowa crowd. “But I’ll tell you, people are pretty fed up, I think, with politicians who run around and tell one group one thing, tell another group another thing, and then they go to Washington and they don’t do anything that they said they would do,” said Cruz. He compared the RFS to “corporate welfare” and said the government should not pick winners and losers and said ethanol was a big enough part of the industry that “demand will continue without the federal mandate.”

Cruz is pictured here with Bill Couser, an Iowa cattle producer and ethanol supporter who is co-chairman of America’s Renewable Future (ARF), an Iowa based bipartisan coalition that supported the summit. He invited both Cruz and Perry to visit his operation in Nevada.

“Show them why we do this, how we do this, and say what do you think?” said Couser in an interview at the recent National Ethanol Conference. “I can say, let’s go look at a corn field, let’s go look at a feedlot, let’s go look at some windmills, let’s go look at Lincolnway Energy, and then let’s go to the DuPont plant right next door and I’ll show you what we’re doing with the whole plant and being sustainable.”

Couser says they plan to approach all potential presidential candidates individually and invite them to visit and learn more about agriculture and renewable energy, including Hillary Clinton. “Wouldn’t that be something if she showed up?” he said.

Listen to my interview with Bill here: Interview with Bill Couser, America's Renewable Future Co-Chair

Also opposed to the RFS is former New York Gov. George Pataki, who “supports ethanol”, but honestly doesn’t think “the federal government should require anybody in America to buy anything, whether it’s renewable fuel or Obamacare” and thinks the RFS should be “phased out.”

SEIA Launches Campaign to Extend Solar Tax Credits

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has launched a national campaign designed to get Congress to extend the 30 percent solar Solar Power International 14 logoInvestment Tax Credit (ITC) beyond 2016. The campaign focuses on ‘tax fairness’. SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch announced the campaign during the opening session of Solar Power International (SPI). The campaign will begin in full stream in 2015, when a new Congress is sworn in.

“Since the United States first began incentivizing energy development, the average annual subsidy has been $4.8 billion for oil and gas, compared to just $370 million for all renewable technologies,” Resch said. “How is this fair? How is this a leveling playing field? How does this kind of policy support an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy? Simply put, it doesn’t.”

Since the ITC went into effect in 2006, solar investment has exponentially grown. According to Resch, Solar installations in 2014 will be 70 times higher than they were in 2006, and by the end of this year, there will be nearly 30 times more installed solar capacity. There are also more than 143,000 Americans currently employed in solar.

“We’ve gone from being an $800-million industry in 2006 to a $15-billion industry today,” added Resch. “The price to install a solar rooftop system has been cut in half, while utility systems have dropped by 70 percent. It’s taken the U.S. solar industry 40 years to install the first 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar. Now, we’re going to install the next 20 GW in the next two years. And finally, during every single week of this year we’re going to install more capacity than what we did during the entire year in 2006. Tell me that’s not worth fighting for.”