Solar Takes Lead in Renewable Energy Growth

Joanna Schroeder

According to the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly,” renewable energy sources (biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) increased by 12.8 percent last year compared to 2011 and provided 5.4 percent of net U.S. electrical generation. Solar increased by 138.9 percent while wind grew 16.6 pecent, geothermal by 9.6 percent, and biomass (i.e., wood, wood-derived fuels, and other biomass) by 1.6 percent. Since 2007, non-hydro renewables have more than doubled their contribution to the nation’s electrical supply.

geothermal-energy-1At the same time (2012 compared to 2011), total net U.S. electrical generation dropped by 1.1 percent with petroleum coke & liquids down by 24.1 percent, coal by 12.5 percent, and nuclear by 2.6 percent. Less than a decade ago, coal provided more than half the nation’s electricity, fell to 37.4 percent while nuclear fell below 19 percent. Conventional hydropower also declined by 13.4 percent due to last year’s drought and lower water flows, but natural gas expanded by 21.4 percent to provide 30.3 percent of net electrical generation.

Conventional hydropower and non-hydro renewable sources combined accounted for 12.22 percent of net U.S. electrical generation. However, as EIA has noted in the past, these figures do not comprehensively reflect distributed, non-grid connected generation and thereby understate the full contribution of renewables to the nation’s electrical supply.

EIA’s report also reveals the top renewable-electricity generating states for 2012: top five wind states: Texas, Iowa, California, Oklahoma, and Illinois;  top five biomass states: California, Florida, Maine, Georgia, and Alabama; top five geothermal States: California, Nevada, Utah, Hawaii and Idaho; and top five solar states: California, Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey, and New Mexico.

“Technical advances, falling costs, and the desire to address climate change have combined to rapidly expand the contribution of renewable energy to the nation’s electrical generation,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “With the right policy incentives, one can foresee these cleaner energy sources providing the bulk of the nation’s electrical needs within a generation.”

Alternative energy, biofuels, biomass, Electricity, Geothermal, Hydro, Solar, Wind

Auwahi Wind Project Dedicated In Maui

Joanna Schroeder

Maui has a new wind farm: Auwahi Wind facility on Ulupalakua Rand. On hand for the dedication ceremony were U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, Hawaii Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui and Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa. There were joined by officials from Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, BP Wind Energy and community leaders. The wind farm consists of eight wind turbines that are situated along the slopes of the Haleakala volcano and will generate enough electricity to power 10,000 homes.

Sen. Schatz said the Auwahi wind farm contributes significantly to Hawaii’s clean energy goals. He said the project is consistent with the State of Hawaii’s values of cooperation, contributing to a solution nationally on climate change and maintaining the ranching lifestyle on Ulupalakua Ranch. “Auwahi Wind Farm is critically important,” he said. “This auwahi-wind-smis about keeping Maui Maui and setting an example not just for the state, but the rest of the nation.”

Tsutsui, who was born and raised on Maui, said the state and the island welcomed the Auwahi Wind farm as it brought much-needed jobs. More than 180 jobs were created during the project construction. Four full-time employees operate the wind farm today.

“We’re always talking about sustainability and being independent,” Tsutsui said. “This goes hand in hand with a lot of our initiatives. It’s definitely a step in the right direction and we look much forward to other projects.”

The 21-megawatt (MW) Auwahi Wind facility represents BP and Sempra’s first alternative energy venture in Hawaii. An important component of the project is an 11-MW/4.4-megawatt-hour grid battery system. At its peak, this system is capable of 11 MW sustained for approximately 25 minutes. The battery system’s energy helps regulate and sustain power to Maui Electric Co.’s grid during light wind conditions.

Sumner Erdman, president of the Ulupalakua Ranch, said the ranch has benefited from its partnership with Sempra U.S. Gas & Power and BP. “Now, we can preserve much of our ranch land and its grazing areas in open space and continue to raise cattle,” he said. “Auwahi Wind will go a long way toward preserving the ranching lifestyle at Ulupalakua and on Maui.”

Alternative energy, Electricity, Energy, Wind

D.C. Fly-in Just Around the Corner

Joanna Schroeder

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is gearing up to meet with nearly 100 of our country’s legislators during its annual Biofuels Beltway Fly-in being held in Washington, D.C. March 13-14, 2013. To date, ACE has requested meetings with 100 Senate offices and key House members. As ACE Executive Director Brian Jennings noted to DF early this month, a signification portion of the legislators are “freshman” or new to Congress.

ACE Biofuels Beltway LogoThe goal of the meetings are for ethanol advocates to visit with key federal staff and Congressmen to tell their personal stories about how ethanol has benefited them. But ethanol has not just benefited advocates, the renewable fuel benefits consumers each time they fill up at the pump, as shown by numerous studies.

Dozens of meetings are already scheduled. For example. Chris Grundler, Director, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, EPA is confirmed to address the fly-in participants on March 14th. Grundler has previously served as the office’s Deputy Director and replaced Margo Oge. He is the primary contact for all ethanol issues including RFS implementation and E15. Both of these issues are key for the industry.

To make this event successful, dozens of ethanol advocates will descend on D.C. To date, 31 people are registered from 7 states including South Dakota, Iowa, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Missouri. While the ACE team and the advocates will have their work cut out for them, the success could be greater if more people attend. The goal: to get people from each state. Let’s rally and show D.C how important ethanol is and why the RFS and E15 are critical to America.

It’s not too late to register.  To participate, visit www.ethanol.org, or contact Shannon Gustafson at (605) 334-3381 ext. 16 or via email.

ACE, biofuels, Biofuels Beltway, E15, Ethanol, RFS

History of Renewable Fuels in Iowa

Joanna Schroeder

Cover Page-webThe Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) has released an online version of an industry scrapbook that illustrates how far the renewable fuels industry has come and how profound its impact on Iowa has been over the past decade. “Progress and Prosperity: A Look Into Iowa’s Renewable Fuels Industry,” provides anecdotes and fact-based information on the vast accomplishments and benefits of Iowa’s renewable fuels industry.

“The renewable fuels industry has a great story to tell and we hope the IRFA scrapbook helps remind people just what a difference ethanol and biodiesel have made for Iowa,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Behind each plant is a person, an idea, and a story that shines a spotlight on the renewable fuels industry’s ability to positively impact the individuals, neighborhoods, and communities of the people of Iowa.”

The book was created as part of IRFA’s 10th Anniversary celebration. It is available online or in hard copy by contacting the IRFA. The ethanol and biodiesel plants recognized in the book include: Absolute Energy, Ag Processing (AGP), Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Big River Resources, Corn, LP, Fiberight, Golden Grain Energy, Green Plains Renewable Energy, Homeland Energy Solutions, Iowa Renewable Energy, Lincolnway Energy, Little Sioux Corn Processors, Platinum Ethanol, Plymouth Energy, POET Biorefining – Coon Rapids, Quad County Corn Processors, Renewable Energy Group (REG), Siouxland Energy and Livestock, Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy (SIRE), Western Dubuque Biodiesel, and Western Iowa Energy.

Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Iowa RFA

New Ethanol Video Released

Jamie Johansen

rfa-logo-09The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) just released “40 Facts About Ethanol,” an animated video review of ethanols past, present and future.

“This video proves once and for all that today’s ethanol is not your father’s ethanol. The ethanol industry has made impressive strides in the last 30 years in production volumes, foreign oil displacement, production efficiencies, co-products, job creation, and cellulose and advanced ethanol market entry. The ethanol industry has a great story to tell and this video helps us tell it with data, color and occasionally humor. Whether you think you know all there is about ethanol or you are new to the topic, this video is a must-see! It is a great primer,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA’s President and CEO.

Check out the video below or visit EthanolRFA.org.

In addition, RFA just released a newly updated mobile E85 locator app. The Flex-Fuel Station Locator application for iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch and all Android devices is free and can be found in the App Store and Android Marketplace. This new version will help users pinpoint any station in the United States offering E85.

“With more than eleven million flex-fuel vehicles in America, we wanted to make it easier, faster, and perhaps more educational and fun for drivers to find E85,” said Robert White, RFA Director of Market Development. “Americans increasingly demand more fuel choice at the pump. They want alternatives to petroleum, especially foreign petroleum. They want fuels which are domestic, renewable, and environment-enhancing. They bought FFVs for a reason and we want to keep fueling the change.”

App, E85, Ethanol, RFA, Video

Warranty Plays Major Roll in Purchases

Talia Goes

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Does warranty influence your decision to purchase new equipment?”

Our poll results: Almost all of you at eighty-seven percent said Yes, while thirteen percent said No. This poll certainly shows that warranty is a major consideration when shopping for new equipment!

chart

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “What are your spring planting intentions for corn?” The severe drought of 2012 may influence farmers to try something different this planting season. Will it affect how many acres of corn you plant for the 2013 crop? Let us know.

ZimmPoll is sponsored by New Holland Agriculture.

New Holland, ZimmPoll

Maryland Man Sentenced for Biodiesel Fraud

John Davis

scalesofjustice1In a case that shows prosecutors are cracking down on sellers of fake biodiesel credits, a Maryland man got 12 1/2 years prison and has been ordered to pay more than $42 million in restitution after being convicted of selling $9 million worth of the fake credits to oil companies and commodities brokers.

This Baltimore Sun article says Rodney R. Hailey, operator of Clean Green Fuel, was guilty of eight counts of wire fraud, 32 counts of money laundering and two counts of violating the Clean Air Act.

Environmental Protection Agency investigators visited Hailey’s office in 2010 after receiving a tip that he was selling fake credits. Several months later, a federal financial crimes task force investigated after a neighbor complained to Baltimore County police about the luxury cars parked outside Hailey’s house. He was charged in October 2011 and accused of using money from the fuel credits to purchase real estate, jewelry and several cars, including a Rolls-Royce and a Lamborghini.

On top of all that, Hailey also collected Maryland unemployment insurance while running Clean Green Fuel. While he appeared contrite at his hearing, some other biodiesel makers were not in favor of leniency for Hailey because of the trouble he has caused by putting doubt into the security of the Renewable Identification Numbers system used to track and credit legitimate biodiesel producers.

Jennifer Case, CEO of San Diego-based New Leaf Biofuel, said 12 1/2 years is a light sentence for the damage Hailey has done and that his actions made credit buyers less likely to trust small businesses like his.

“Companies like mine are still being penalized,” she said.

Biodiesel

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid When It Comes to Big Oil’s Lies

John Davis

irfa-lambertyTrusting Big Oil with its claims about the dangers of ethanol is like trusting certain soft drink makers about claims against drinks that might be good for you.

“If Coke and Pepsi put out a study that said sugar-free Kool-Aid is bad for you, I’m sure people would question that,” says Senior Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Ron Lamberty, as he lamented the fact that most media aren’t questioning the American Petroleum Institute’s … aka Big Oil … claims against ethanol. “You spend all your time trying to correct something that wasn’t true in the first place. It’s been effective for them. That’s why they do it. The media [needs to do its job] and push back on these guys and ask them, ‘Why are they doing this?'”

Ron pointed out that API’s study that tried to show E15 would damage a vehicle is motivated by one thing: hanging on to your money spent on their non-renewable fuel.

“Nothing strikes more fear in [petroleum marketers’] hearts than seeing their customers across the street buying something from a competitor and that something is something they don’t sell.”

He encourages everyone to get the facts about ethanol at www.Ethanol.org and www.BYOEthanol.com.

Listen to more of Joanna’s interview with Ron at the recent Iowa Renewable Fuels Association conference here: Ron Lamberty

View the IRFA Renewable Fuels Summit Photo Album.

Audio, E15, Ethanol, Iowa RFA, News

Austin Biodiesel Maker Offers Grease Pickup Service

John Davis

nooildowndrainFolks in the Lonestar State don’t have to feel so lonely and left out in the cold when it comes to wanting to do the right thing with used cooking grease. Austin-based grease-to-biodiesel maker DieselGreen Fuels has a new service to help residents, schools, churches and other small producers of oil avoid dumping their used grease in landfills or sewers. According to this article in Biodiesel Magazine, just put your oil into a container provided or drop it off and their folks will take care of it:

“This exciting new program provides another opportunity for Austinites to rethink the concept of waste,” said Lucia Athens, chief sustainability officer with the city of Austin. “Instead of trash, we can recognize that leftover cooking oil is another resource that can be captured and reused, closing the loop on human activities to make them more efficient.”

Locations:

Ecology Action – 707 E 9th St., Austin, TX 78701

Hours: 24/7

M S Pallets – 1713 Hydro Dr., Austin, TX 78728

Hours: 7:30 – 4:30 Mon – Sat.

DieselGreen Fuels has been operating in Austin since 2006, cranking out high-quality biodiesel out of the old grease. The company expects to expand into Dallas and San Antonio later this year.

Biodiesel

EPA Approves New Biofuel Pathways Under RFS

Cindy Zimmerman

Camelina, energy cane and renewable gasoline are now added to the list of qualifying feedstocks and fuels approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

EPA released its final rule to identify additional fuel pathways that meet the “lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction requirements for biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and cellulosic biofuel” under the RFS.

This final rule describes EPA’s evaluation of biofuels produced from camelina oil, which qualify as biomass-based diesel or advanced biofuel, as well as biofuels from energy cane which qualify as cellulosic biofuel. This final rule also qualifies renewable gasoline and renewable gasoline blendstock made from certain qualifying feedstocks as cellulosic biofuel.

nbb-logoThe National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is pleased with the addition of camelina oil as a feedstock. “This decision adds to the growing list of biodiesel feedstocks that meet the EPA’s standards for Advanced Biofuel and gives us yet another option for producing sustainable, domestic biodiesel that displaces imported oil,” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “This is important for our energy security, for our economy and for addressing climate change, and we thank the EPA for conducting a thorough and fair review.”

Read EPA’s final rule here.

advance biofuels, Biodiesel, biofuels, Cellulosic, Ethanol, Ethanol News, NBB