BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1The UK will remain the leading offshore wind power market globally by 2025, with its installed capacity increasing from 4.5 Gigawatts (GW) in 2014 to 23.2 GW by the end of the forecast period, representing an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 30.5%, says research and consulting firm GlobalData. The company’s latest report states that the UK accounted for a significant 51.3% share of global offshore capacity in 2014. Denmark and Germany followed, with respective shares of 14.5% and 11.9%.
  • Samsung Renewable Energy, Connor, Clark & Lunn Infrastructure and Six Nations of the Grand River have announced the completion of construction of the 100 MW Grand Renewable Solar Project, the largest operating solar energy project of its kind in Canada and one of the largest in North America. Construction of the project began in September 2013 and was completed on schedule by a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc.
  • IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Industrial Development Corporation of Zambia to explore development of two 50 MW solar PV independent power projects in Zambia through the Scaling Solar program. The projects would be Zambia’s first utility scale PV projects, providing competitively priced, clean power that would reduce Zambia’s dependence on hydro resources and diversify the country’s energy supply mix.
  • Geostellar, an online solar energy marketplace, has announced it has patented an invention for programmatically placing solar panels on rooftops or tracts of land in a 3D virtual world and simulating production over a typical meteorological year based on shading, slope and orientation. The invention forms the basis for Geostellar’s instant Solar Profile, which describes the economic benefits of solar energy for each individual home based on its unique attributes.

Mid-Year Renewable Energy Check-Up

Heading in to the second half of 2015, renewable energy accounted for nearly 70 percent of new electrical generation for the firs six months as reported by the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects. The report finds wind accounts for more than half (50.64%) of the 1,969 MW of new installed capacity. Solar accounted for 549 MW, bimomass with 128 MW, geothermal with 45 MW and hydropower with 21 MW. The rest of the new capacity was added using natural gas (1,173 MW).

© Metalmaster | Dreamstime.com - Solar Panels Photo

© Metalmaster | Dreamstime.com – Solar Panels Photo

FERC reported no new capacity for the year-to-date from oil or nuclear power and just 3 MW from one unit of coal. Thus, as calculated by the SUN DAY Campaign, new capacity from renewable energy sources during the first half of 2015 is 904 times greater than that from coal and more than double that from natural gas. For June alone, wind (320 MW), biomass (95 MW), and solar (62 MW) provided 97 percent of new capacity with natural gas providing the balance (15 MW).

Renewable energy sources now account for 17.27 percent of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: water – 8.61 percent, wind – 5.84 percent, biomass – 1.40 percent, solar – 1.08 percent, and geothermal steam – 0.34 percent (for comparison, renewables were 16.28 percent of capacity in June 2014 and 15.81% in June 2013).

Renewable electrical capacity is now greater than that of nuclear (9.20%) and oil (3.87%) combined. In fact, the installed capacity of wind power alone has now surpassed that of oil. On the other hand, sources the SUN DAY Campaign, generating capacity from coal has declined from 28.96 percent in mid-2013 to 26.83 percent today.

“With Congress now debating whether to extend the federal tax incentives for renewable energy sources, it is reasonable to ask whether the American public has gotten a good return on these investments to date,” noted Ken Bossong, executive eirector of the SUN DAY Campaign. “The latest FERC data confirms that the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’.”

Lagosur to Export Biodiesel to Latin America

Florida-based Lagosur says it will export biodiesel to Latin America. The company says it has aligned with customers in Peru, Bolivia and Chile to receive shipments of biodiesel and is working to launch various initiatives to bring state-of-the-art biodiesel generation technology to Latin America countries.

“We are proud to extend Lagosur’s business and thought leadership by exporting badly needed biodiesel to parts of Latin America not currently able to generate their own supply,” said Jorge Abukhalil, Lagosur’s Executive Vice President Business Development for Latin American Business. “We look forward to providing further value to our customers across Latin America by helping them to meet the growing energy demands for their business in a way that is both economical as well as environmentally responsible. “

San Francisco to Use Renewable Diesel in City Fleet

leeSan Francisco is converting its city fleet to renewable diesel. This news release from Mayor Edwin Lee’s office says the city expects great savings on harmful emissions as it phases out petroleum diesel.

“By changing our fleet’s fuel from petroleum to renewable diesel, we’re taking action that is good for the global climate, and at the same time promotes environmental justice in our community by leading to cleaner, healthier air for some of our most vulnerable neighborhoods,” said Mayor Lee. “And, because of the State and Federal governments’ incentives to producers to manufacture low carbon fuels, this switch can potentially reduce our City’s fuel costs. The City of Saint Francis is answering the Pope’s call for local action on global climate change.”

Mayor Lee made the announcement in Vatican City at the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences’ Modern Slavery & Climate Change: The Commitment of the Cities conference, joining Pope Francis, Governor Jerry Brown, representatives of the United Nations and mayors and local governors from around the world to drive awareness, dialogue and action at the local level on climate change and modern slavery – two pressing, interconnected issues highlighted in the Pope’s encyclical, Laudato Si’.

“By switching to renewable diesel for the entire municipal fleet, the City is providing real solutions to climate change that helps San Francisco reach our ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and create a more sustainable future,” said City Administrator Naomi Kelly.

San Francisco started on the path of transitioning away from petroleum diesel and using cleaner forms of diesel fuel a half-dozen years ago by transitioning to a blend of biodiesel. Currently, most of the municipal fleet uses B20, 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel.

Senate Committee Advances Tax Credits Extension

The Senate Finance Committee Tuesday approved a two-year extension of various tax credits that expired at the end of 2014, including those for biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol, and wind energy.

The bill contains a two-year extension of the Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit, the Special Depreciation Allowance for Second Generation Biofuel Plant Property, and the Alternative Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credit.

rfalogo1Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen commended the committee’s leadership for recognizing how important these tax credits are for the continued growth and innovation of the U.S. biofuels industry. “Stability in the marketplace is crucial to encouraging development in second-generation biofuels, like cellulosic ethanol,” said Dinneen. “By extending these incentives, the Committee has helped to provide that needed stability. We look forward to working with the Senate Finance Committee specifically and Congress generally on comprehensive tax reform.”

Dinneen says passage of the tax credit extensions, which will be retroactive, still has a long way to go. “Still needs to get through the floor of the Senate and be conferenced with a bill from the House side,” said Dinneen. “But it’s progress.”

Last year Congress passed retroactive tax credits for 2014 in December, two weeks before they expired again.

Listen to Dinneen’s comments here: RFA CEO Bob Dinneen comments on tax credits progress

Corn Growers: Build it and They Will Come

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has announced an additional $500,000 investment in Prime the Pump, a program that is expanding midlevel ethanol fueling infrastructure. The latest funds brings NCGA’s annual commitment in the program to $2 million. The organizations overseeing the E15-Blender-Pump-in-Cresco-IowaPrime the Pump program will use the monies as matching funds to secure grants under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USFA) Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership. The USDA has allocated $100 million in grants.

“The nation’s corn farmers have shown their commitment to domestically produced, clean burning ethanol repeatedly over the last 30 years and, when needed, have put their money where their mouth is,” said Chip Bowling, president of NCGA and a farmer from Newburg, Maryland. “Consumers should have fuel options that include cleaner burning ethanol and this investment will allow us to continue to move forward toward that important goal.”

Prime the Pump is aimed at retailers with high volumes and multiple locations. Retailers have to commit to a five-year marketing program, E15 must be offered at all dispensers under the canopy, signage on the street must include E15 and retailers must agree to actively promote the fuel.

“Big Oil and others opposed to ethanol keep setting up road blocks, so we need to work all the more to ensure domestic renewable ethanol moves forward,” added Bowling. “Family corn farmers are faced with the lowest corn prices in more than a decade and increased ethanol utilization is an efficient way to turn that around and help the U.S. economy and environment at the same time.”

Media Communication Tips for BioEnergy

I had the opportunity to facilitate a lively discussion on effective stakeholder messaging during the BioEnergy 2105 conference. “Reaching Your Stakeholders: Effectively Engaging and Educating Key Audiences,” discussed success stories, best practices and lessons learned that have helped to improve public perception of bioenergy at all levels. The panel featured: Melissa Savage, Senior Program Director with the National Association of State Energy Officials; Aaron Wells, Communications Consultant for Fuels America; Wendy Rosen, Leader, Global Public Affairs for DuPont Industrial Biosciences; and Emily York, Vice President of Communications for Abengoa.

BioEnergy 2015 communication panaelists. From left to right: Melissa Savage, Senior Program Director with the National Association of State Energy Officials; Joanna Schroeder, Editor, DomesticFuel.com;Wendy Rosen, Leader, Global Public Affairs for DuPont Industrial Biosciences; Aaron Wells, Communications Consultant for Fuels America; and Emily York, Vice President of Communications for Abengoa.

BioEnergy 2015 communication panaelists. From left to right: Melissa Savage, Senior Program Director with the National Association of State Energy Officials; Joanna Schroeder, Editor, DomesticFuel.com;Wendy Rosen, Leader, Global Public Affairs for DuPont Industrial Biosciences; Aaron Wells, Communications Consultant for Fuels America; and Emily York, Vice President of Communications for Abengoa.

The discussion kicked off with acknowledging that perception is reality and the industry needs to change its perception a bit. One way to do this is to tell the story the right way. Oftentimes, however, public relations professionals don’t provide enough information for journalists to make a valid assessment of the story. Rather, a company needs to package all they want to say. The hook is critical because this will entice a reporter to want to tell the story or a person seeking information what to hear the story. Once you have a journalist hooked, tell the story through the lens of one person, an engineer or farmer, for example. Include visuals – photography, videos and infographics. Also, be mindful of using too much jargon – this is a story killer.

As a journalist, I appreciate the advice of the panelists in telling the story. I receive dozens of press releases each day and some are so horribly written that I delete them even though I know there is probably a good story hidden somewhere in the jargon. On days there is too much news, the stories I focus on have not only a good story but also visuals to accompany that story (and no, a logo is not the visual us reporters are looking for). Another good piece of advice, pitching a few strategic stories is better than flooding the market. If you send me an email or release every day, I’m going to start ignoring you and ultimately miss a great story.

Some other helpful advice from the panelists: Continue reading

Are You Social Media Savvy?

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “How are the crops in your area looking?”

After reviewing these poll results I feel a glimpse of optimism for the crop outlook. However, it is still raining here in the Midwest and like one poller commented, soybeans are taking a hit. Chuck and Cindy have been talking with growers throughout the corn and soybean belt and it sounds like the weather is becoming more cooperative. However, they have talked to some this week that are just finishing a first planting of their soybeans!

Here are the poll results:

  • Bad – too much moisture – 16%
  • Bad – too dry – 15%
  • Some crops not planted – 8%
  • Ok – could be better – 13%
  • Real good – 38%
  • Not sure – 7%
  • Other – 3%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, Do you consider yourself social media savvy?

The era of social media marketing is upon us. Many across the agriculture community have reaped the benefits and others are making due without. I don’t believe anyone can call themselves a social media expert, because it is always changing. But are you savvy and staying up on the trends, do you need some more training or are you seeing no need to utilize it?

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Renewable Edge has reached a milestone by installing its 1000th Integrated Wireless Solar Payphone Power Supply System Kit to New York City payphones. The patent pending technology replaces the utility grid power connection previously needed to operate New York City payphones with a solar powered battery system powering wireless routers that communicate with existing cell towers. The Solar Kit system turns the payphones into coin operated cell phones without any dependence on utility power lines.
  • MMA Energy Capital has entered into a joint venture with affiliates of Fundamental Advisors, LP, a leading alternative asset manager, that will provide capital for the development and construction of solar power projects located throughout the United States. The joint venture will operate under the name Solar Construction Lending, LLC and will be administered by MMA Energy Capital.
  • DEINOVE has unveiled a bio-based muconic acid production program. This promising proof of concept has been completed for the effective production of muconic acid by Deinococcus bacteria from a variety of renewable sugar sources. The market size and their growth outlook, combined with an unmet demand for bio-based solutions, have led Deinove to structure and initiate a specific R&D program focused on this versatile molecule with a large number of applications, notably in plastics, textile fibers and food.
  • With a growing need to design and implement effective O&M strategies across Europe’s offshore wind projects Wind Energy Update spoke with 235 of Europe’s leading O&M executives to find out exactly what’s going on in the world of offshore wind O&M. The results provide you with the following: Where farm owners are allocating budget or procuring new suppliers for a view of new business opportunities; How much time farm owners are allocating to different industry challenges for an understanding of where your services could be used; A view of how farm owners are trying to get greater transparency from their OEMs and where the OEMs are spending their budgets when in charge for a fuller understanding of daily O&M activities; and Which O&M model owners will use once their current contract comes to an end.

Bi-Partisan Group of Senators Want Biodiesel Growth

nBBThirty-six U.S. senators from both sides of the political aisle urged the Obama administration to strengthen biodiesel volumes in a pending Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) proposal from the EPA. The National Biodiesel Board welcomed the call.

“While the proposal is a positive step for biodiesel, we remain concerned that the proposed biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 fail to adequately recognize the domestic biodiesel industry’s production capacity and its ability to increase production,” the senators wrote in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and other administration officials. “Biodiesel is the first EPA-designated advanced biofuel under the RFS to reach commercial scale production nationwide. It is exceeding the goals that Congress envisioned when it created the RFS with bipartisan support in 2005, while creating jobs, generating tax revenues, reducing pollution, and improving energy security. We urge you to support continued growth in the domestic biodiesel industry by making reasonable and sustainable increases in the biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 in the final rule.”

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) led the letter, which was signed by Democrats and Republicans from 24 states.

“We want to thank Sens. Grassley, Murray, Blunt and Heitkamp for their leadership on this effort, as well as all of the senators who supported it,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs. “It’s not every day that you have Republicans and Democrats from such a diverse group of states uniting around an issue like this. We hope the EPA and the White House will listen and improve this proposal before it is finalized later this year.”

The current RFS proposal calls for a gradual rise in biodiesel volumes by about 100 million gallons per year to a standard of 1.9 billion gallons in 2017. NBB had requested more aggressive growth to a biodiesel standard of 2.7 billion gallons by 2017, along with additional growth in the overall Advanced Biofuel category.