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Google's EIE to Help Cut Air Pollution, CO2 Emissions (Ind. Report)
Google
Date: 2019-10-11
Tech giant Google has announced is touting Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE)⁠, a new tool that uses Google's global mapping data to help gauge and reduce carbon emissions and measure renewable energy potential across cities.

The EIE will initially be available in Europe starting with Dublin, Birmingham, Manchester, with Wolverhampton and Coventry to follow soon. Copenhagen will get what Google is calling "hyperlocal, street-level air quality data" as part of EIE Labs, which will help streamline and optimize action against climate change by piloting climate-focused datasets. Dublin has already been utilizing the new tool to help track emissions from transportation modes.

Review EIE details HERE. (Source: Google, Oct., 2019) Contact: Google EIE Lab, insights.sustainability.google/labs

More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  CO2,  Transportation Emissions,  Vehicle Emissions,  

More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  CO2,  Transportation Emissions,  Vehicle Emissions,  


EIA Data Questions RFS "Hardship" Waivers Effect on Ethanol Demand (Ind. Report)
EIA
Date: 2019-10-04
As previously reported, ethanol industry proponents have petitioned the EPA to cease issuing Small Refinery "Hardship" Exemptions (SREs) allowable under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The ethanol industry is trying to convince the EPA that the waivers are hurting their business and, therefore, the agency should stop issuing them.

Month-over-month, official government data tells a very different story. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the ethanol blend rate has remained within normal statistical variation, despite the flood of "hardship" waivers. EIA data shows:

  • The overall physical ethanol consumption for Q1 2019 (the most recent, complete data available) is higher than it was in 2018.

  • The average ethanol blend rate was higher in Q1 2019 (10.21 pct) than in Q1 2018 (10.09 pct).

  • In February 2019, the ethanol blend rate was 10.53 percent -- the highest in the 12 months preceding. And the March 2019 ethanol blend rate was 10.18 percent -- higher than the March 2018 blend rate of 9.75 percent.

    These blend rates have been stable for the past few years, underscoring the truth that ethanol demand is premised partially on the RFS, partially on demand for clean octane and partially on other factors -- not SREs.

    Similarly, when it comes to mid-level ethanol blends like E15, there is no data indicating that SREs are reducing demand. E15 and other mid-level ethanol blend sales have been growing all year and, in the case of E15, sales are higher at this point than they were last year, according to the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), EIA, Business & Industry Connection, 3 Oct., 2019) Contact: AFPM, Derrick Morgan, Snr, VP, (202) 586-8800, www.afpm.org; EIA, www.eia.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  Ethanol.Ethanol Blend,  EIA,  


  • EPA Halts RFS "Hardship" Waiver Changes (Ind. Report)
    RFS,"Hardship Waivers"
    Date: 2019-10-02
    It is being widely reported by Fox News and others that the EPA has stalled on updates to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biofuels policy regarding biofuel blending "hardship" waivers (exemptions) that have been issued at near wholesale levels.

    The EPA appears to be acting on instructions from Trump who is no doubt preoccupied with his own whistleblower and impeachment worries.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Fox News, Various Other Media, 2 Oct., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  Biofuel Blend,  


    St1 Nordic Licenses Honeywell Ecofining Tech. (Ind. Report)
    Honeywell UOP, St1 Nordic
    Date: 2019-09-20
    Des Plaines, Ill.-based Honeywell UOP is reports it has licensed its Ecofining renewable fuels technology to Helsinki-headquartered St1 Nordic Oy for the production of 4,000 bpd of diesel and jet fuel at St1 Nordic's refinery complex in Gothenburg, Sweden. Basic engineering design for the project has already been completed.

    The Ecofining process converts inedible oils, animal fats, tall oils derived from forestry residues and other waste feedstocks into Honeywell Green Diesel which is chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel and can be used as a drop-in fuel. It also features up to an 80 pct lifecycle reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with diesel from petroleum.

    In addition to Ecofining technology, Honeywell has commercialized the UOP Renewable Jet Fuel Process™. Jet fuel produced by this process can be blended seamlessly with petroleum-based fuel. When used in up to a 50 pct blend with petroleum-based jet fuel, Honeywell Green Jet Fuel™ requires no changes to aircraft technology and meets all critical specifications for flight, according to Honeywell. St1 Nordic Oy researches and develops economically viable, environmentally sustainable energy including waste-based advanced ethanol fuels and industrial wind power. (Source: Honeywell, Chemical Engineering, 19 Sept., 2019) Contact: St1 Nordic, Bo-Erik Svensson, Managing Director, www.st1.eu; Honeywell UOP, Bryan Glover, VP Petrochemicals & Refining Technologies, www,uop.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Honeyell UOP,  Green Diesel ,  St1 Nordic ,  


    Shell, BP Join Collaboratory for Advancing Methane Science (Int'l)
    Collaboratory for Advancing Methane Science
    Date: 2019-09-20
    Petroleum giants BP and SIEP, Inc. (Shell) are reported to have joined the Collaboratory for Advancing Methane Science (CAMS), an industry-led consortium researching methane emissions and delivering transparent data to evaluate the most effective methane emissions reduction strategies. Other CAMS participants include Cheniere, Chevron, Equinor, ExxonMobil, and Pioneer Natural Resources.

    CAMS undertakes scientific studies addressing methane emissions along the natural gas value chain, from production through end use. Studies will focus on detection, measurement and quantification of methane emissions with the goal of finding opportunities for reduction. CAMS' first project is to develop an open access oil and gas operations emissions calculator that will estimate methane emissions at a basin level and enable operators to evaluate effectiveness of mitigation strategies. (Source; CAMS, Green Car Congress, 19 Sept., 2019) Contact: Collaboratory for Advancing Methane Science, www.methanecollaboratory.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Methan,  GHG,  Greenhouse Gas,  


    Plant-level U.S. Biodiesel Prod. Capacity Data Released (Ind. Report)
    U.S. Energy Information Administration
    Date: 2019-09-16
    On September 13, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its first annual U.S. Biodiesel Plant Production Capacity Report. The report includes the total biodiesel production capacity for all operating plants in both million gallons per year (gal/y) and barrels per day (b/d) as of January 1, 2019. The names of the reporting plants are organized by Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts (PADD). Like the Ethanol Plant Production Capacity Report, EIA plans to update the report annually.

    The 2019 U.S. Biodiesel Plant Production Capacity Report shows 102 operating biodiesel plants with 2.6 billion gpy in biodiesel production capacity, or 167,000 bpd. More than half of the nation's biodiesel production capacity is in the Midwest region, led by Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois. Of the top 15 biodiesel-producing states, 9 are located in the Midwest.

    U.S.biodiesel production topped 1.8 billion gallons (119,000 bpd) in 2018, implying a 72 pct utilization rate based on the nameplate capacity level recorded at the beginning of 2018.

    In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA forecasts that U.S. production of biodiesel will reach about 2.0 billion gallons (128,000 bpd) in 2019, resulting in 77 pct utilization of reported nameplate capacity as of January 1, 2019.

    Respondents report the biodiesel production capacity data to EIA on Form EIA-22M, Monthly Biodiesel Production Survey, and EIA publishes the data in the Monthly Biodiesel Production Report. All entities that produce biodiesel that meets ASTM D 6751-07B specifications and is used for commercial purposes within the United States submit Form EIA-22M. Additional data collected on Form EIA-22M include production, sales, stock changes, and feed stock inputs to production. (Source: US EIA Release, Sept., 2019) Contact: US EIA, www.eia.gov/petroleum/ethanolcapacity

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biodiesel,  U.S. Energy Information Administration,  


    Trump Plan Would Boost Biofuel Quotas 10 pct in 2020 (Reg & Leg)
    Teump
    Date: 2019-09-16
    Reuters is reporting U.S. Pres. Trump has tentatively approved a plan to increase the amount of biofuels that oil refiners are required to blend each year to compensate for the large number of financial "hardship" exemptions granted to "small" -- 75,000 bpd or less -- refiners by the EPA.

    Under the plan, the EPA will calculate a three-year rolling average of total biofuels gallons exempted under its Small Refinery Exemption program and add that figure to its annual biofuel blending quotas each year -- about 1.35 billion gallons in 2020. That would come in addition to a tentative agreement to boost 2020 blending volumes by 1 billion gallons, including 500 million gallons for conventional biofuels like corn-based ethanol and 500 million gallons for advanced biofuels like biodiesel, according to the Reuters report.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Reuters, Various Media, 16 Sept., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  Ethanol Blend,  


    BP Commits to Continuous Methane Measurement Tech (Ind. Report)
    BP
    Date: 2019-09-13
    London-headquartered oil industry giant BP reports it has installed continuous measurement of methane emissions technology at its existing oil and gas processing projects worldwide and will deploy the technology at all future BP-operations as part of its program to reduce methane emissions.

    The methane data generated will help BP identify the largest opportunities to tackle methane emissions, drive efficiency and develop best practice – and is ultimately aimed at delivering and improving on BP’s methane intensity target of 0.2 pct from its upstream operations. In time, the data collected will feed information into an extensive digital cloud network as part of a global integrated approach to reduce both methane and carbon emissions. (Source: BP, World Oil, Sept. 10, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News BP,  Methane,  Greenhouse Gas,  GHG,  


    Lightsource's Penn State Solar Installation Underway (Ind. Report)
    Lightsource BP,Pennsylvania State University
    Date: 2019-09-09
    Following up on our 19th August report, Lightsource BP reports it has broken ground on a 70-MW solar project for Penn State University that will be installed across three locations, encompassing approximately 500 acres in Franklin County, outside of Chambersburg, and near Penn State's Mont Alto campus in Pennsylvania.

    Lightsource BP will finance, construct, own and operate the three solar arrays, with Penn State purchasing all of the electricity generated under a 25-year PPA. The project is expected to save Penn State a minimum of $14 million over the contract term, while meeting 25 pct of the university's power requirements. (Source: Lightsource BP, Sept., 2019)Contact: Lightsource BP, Carl Jackson, Director Utility-scale Solar Initiatives, www.lightsourcebp.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Lightsource BP ,  Solar,  


    NEXT Renewable Fuels Planning Oregon Biodiesel Plant (Ind. Report)
    NEXT Renewable Fuels
    Date: 2019-09-09
    In Oregon, the Port of Columbia County has approved a long-term ground lease for NEXT Renewable Fuels to develop a $1 billion Advanced Green Diesel biodiesel production facility on 90 acres at Port Westward.

    NEXT Renewable Fuels' planned facility will convert used cooking oil and similar organic feedstocks into renewable diesel at the rate of of 37,500 bpd. The biofuels facility which could be increased to 50,000 bpd capacity, is expected to begin commercial operations in 2022. (Source: NEXT Renewable Fuels, Port of Columbia County, Biofuels News, 9 Sept., 2019) Contact: Port of Columbia County, 503-397-2888, www.portofcolumbiacounty.org; NEXT Renewable Fuels, Lou Soumas, Pres., info@nextrenewables.com, www.nextrenewables.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NEXT Renewable Fuels,  Biodiesel,  


    UNIDO, NUST Plan Pakistan's First Biomass Cluster (Int'l Report)
    National University of Science and Technology
    Date: 2019-09-04
    The US-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Energy at Pakistan's National University of Science and Technology (NUST) -- under the banner of U.N. Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) programme for promoting sustainable energy production and the use of biomass in Pakistan -- is reporting plans to develop that country's first Biomass Cluster.

    Participants in the planning process include: Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), Punjab Bio Energy Company Limited (PBECL), SBP Banking Services Corporation (SBP-BSC), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL), Ministry of Food Security and Research, SAARC Energy Center (SEC), Asia Foundation, Punjab University, DESCON and Ali Engineering.

    The proposed cluster is intended to act as an easily accessed shared knowledge and data repository for biomass stakeholders and to promote biomass and green energy business opportunities. (Source: The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 20190 Contact: National University of Science and Technology, www.nust.edu.pk; US-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Energy, +92 91 9217480, www.uspcase.asu.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biomass,  Pakistan Biomass,  


    OGTC Announces Net-Zero Solution Center (Int'l. Report)
    Oil & Gas Technology Center
    Date: 2019-09-04
    In the UK, the Aberdeen-based Oil & Gas Technology Center (OGTC) , in partnership with industry, reports it will create a new Net-Zero Solution Center to accelerate the development and deployment of technologies to de-carbonize offshore operations and develop the UKCS as the first net-zero oil and gas basin globally, supporting the industry's Roadmap 2035.

    The Center will focus on developing technologies to reduce operational carbon emissions, working with other parts of the energy sector to create integrated solutions and re-purposing infrastructure to accelerate carbon capture usage and storage, hydrogen production and gas-to-wire capacity.

    BP, Shell, Wood, Chrysaor, Aker Solutions, INEOS, CNOOC International, Total, Siemens and Equinor are among the project's backers. (Source: Offshore Engineering, OGUK, PR, 3 Sept., 2019) Contact: Oil & Gas Technology Center, Colette Cohen, CEO, +44 1224 063200, www.theogtc.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Net-Zero Emissions,  Carbon Emissions,  


    POET Idling Cloverdale Corn Ethanol plant (Ind. Report)
    POET, EPA
    Date: 2019-08-30
    Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based ethanol producer POET reports it is idling its Clverdale, Indiana bioprocessing facility due the EPA's policies on RFS "hardship" waivers. The shutdown will take several weeks after which time the plant, which normally processes 30 million bpy, will stop processing corn for ethanol production.

    POET already has cut production at half of its biorefineries with the biggest impact being felt at its Iowa and Ohio plants where corn processing will drop by an additional 100 million bushels. (Source: POET, The Messenger, 29 Aug., 2019) Contact: POET, Jeff Broin, CEO, (605) 965-2200, www.poet.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News POET,  EPA,  "Hardship" Waivers,  RFS,  


    Big Oil Opposes Trump's Proposed Methane Rule Rollback (Ind Report)
    EPA
    Date: 2019-08-30
    The Trump administration reports it will loosen Obama era federal rules on methane, a significant contributor to the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Although shorter-lived than CO2 and is not emitted in as large amounts, methane is roughly 80 times more damaging to the atmosphere than CO2.

    The proposed rule will reverse standards enacted under President Barack Obama that require oil and gas operations to install controls on their operations to curb the release of methane at the well head and in their transmission equipment, including pipelines, processing and storage facilities.

    Despite EPA estimates the proposed changes would save the oil and natural gas industry between $17 million and $19 million a year, Shell, Exxon, BP and other major fossil fuels players are opposing the proposed rollback and urging the current standards be kept in place. (Source: EPA, Various Media, Wash. Post, 29 Aug., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane,  EPA,  


    House Reps Call for RFS "Hardship" Waiver Investigation (Ind Report)
    Biofuel,Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-08-28
    In the nation's capitol, a dozen members of Congress, spurred on by Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) have writtn to U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro urging the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine the review and approval of small refinery "hardship" waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) , including the DOE's viability scores for the 40 waivers reviewed to date by the DOE for the 2018 compliance year.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied.

    Download the letter HERE. (Source: Office of Rep. Abby Finkenauer, 21 Aug., 2019) Contact: Office of Rep. Abby Finkenauer, (202) 225-2911, finkenauer.house.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  "Hardship" Waiver,  


    Trump Ups RFS Biofuels Quota to Placate Farm States (Ind Report)
    Trump. EPA
    Date: 2019-08-26
    Bloomberg is reporting President "The Donald" Trump, seeking to avoid political fallout in U.S. farm states essential to his re-election, last week ordered federal agencies to change, or simply rescind, many of the 80 or more recently issued "hardship" waivers relieving some oil refineries of requirements to use biofuel such as corn-based ethanol.

    Trump and his team have since apparently decided they wouldn't, or couldn't make changes to just-issued waivers without risking the wrath of the oil companies, which may also be crucial to his reelection plans. And so, to resolve his self inflicted predicament, Trump has ordered a boost in biofuels quotes to make up for expected exemptions beginning in 2021. In other wards, The Donald is trying to cover his political butt while siding with the farmers and at the same time ignoring his previous commitments to the ethanol sector.

    As previously noted, "hardship" waivers were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Bloomberg, 26 Aug., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  EPA,  RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  


    Notable Quotes -- Iowa Republicans Comment on "Hardship" Waivers
    EPA
    Date: 2019-08-19
    "It is unconscionable for Administrator (Andrew) Wheeler's EPA to continue to gut the RFS through small refinery exemptions while padding the pockets of oil refiners." -- Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R)

    "This is a small step in the right direction, but I'm very skeptical that every company receiving waivers truly needs them." -- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)

    "I'm committed to holding EPA accountable and ensuring they not only uphold the intent of the RFS but that they're more transparent and forthcoming in this exemption process." -- Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and those that suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: Various Media, Fort Dodge Messenger, 18 Aug., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship" Waivers",  Ethanol,  


    S. Korean Coal Consumption Jumps in 2018 (Int'l., Ind. Report)
    South Korea,OECD
    Date: 2019-08-19
    In its recent annual report, British Petroleum notes South Korea's 2018 coal consumption grew to 88.2 million tonnes oil equivalent -- up 2.4 pct. The figure puts South Korea in fifth place in terms of total coal consumption among the OECD countries after China, India, the U.S. and Japan.

    The UK, Germany and the U.S. saw coal consumption sall by 16.6 pct, 7.2 pct and 4.3 pct respectively. (Source: BP, arirng, 17 Aug., 2019) Contact: OECD, www.oecd.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Coal,  OECD,  


    Lighthouse BP to Install Penna.'s Largest Solar Array (Ind. Report)
    Lightsource BP,Pennsylvania State University
    Date: 2019-08-19
    Penn State University is reporting Lightsource BP, a London, UK-based solar company with an office in Philadelphia, is leasing a total of 500 acres of land in Franklin County for a utility-scale 150,000-panel solar array for the largest solar installation in the Keystone State.

    The 70-MW solar array will sell its power to Pennsylvania State University, providing 25 pct of the university's electrical needs for all its campuses. The installation is expected to come on line in 2020. (Source: Penn State University, Phil. Inquirer, 18 Aug., 2019) Contact: Lightsource BP, www.lightsourcebp.com; Carl Jackson, director of utility-scale solar initiatives, www.linkedin.com/in/carl-j-jackson-45316425

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Solar,  Pennsylvania State University,  


    "We've Had Enough!" -- NBB Comments on EPA's RFS Waivers (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    NBB
    Date: 2019-08-16
    "Here we go again. Last week, the U.S. EPA granted 31 out of 38 retroactive small refinery exemptions for 2018. I can't contain the frustration and utter disappointment I have with how this administration is handling its responsibility of administering the RFS.

    "Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) back in 2007, signed into law by George W. Bush -- a lifelong oil and gas guy. The law was passed to encourage investment in advanced biofuels like biodiesel, renewable diesel and renewable jet fuel. Biodiesel producers responded, making the investments and building an industry that today produces more than 2 billion gallons of transportation fuel each year. This market also provides added value to feedstocks such as soybean oil, used restaurant oil and animal fats.

    "The oil industry feverishly insists that the ethanol industry isn't harmed by small refinery exemptions because production has grown. But what about biodiesel? They never mention us because they know that small refinery exemptions disproportionately affect biodiesel because of the way the RFS is constructed.

    "We have said again and again -- biodiesel is very different from ethanol. The president (Trump) was instrumental in clearing the path for higher blends of ethanol year-round when he lifted the RVP waiver this summer, which we were supportive of. He and his EPA administrator have mentioned E15 when they have spoken about what they believe to be the minor impact of exempting RFS gallons. It's as though they think we are dumb enough to not understand that they are giving with one hand but taking away with the other.

    "Now, back to biodiesel. E15 does nothing to expand demand for biodiesel. Ethanol is not biodiesel. In fact, the RFS recognized this by establishing its own category for biodiesel, separate from ethanol, called biomass-based diesel. Policymakers at the time recognized the need to segment biodiesel and renewable diesel within the bigger RFS pool so that growth in those products could be differentiated in the overall program and we would see advancements of biofuels in both the gasoline and diesel sector.

    "Fast forward to 2019 and we now have an EPA that, two months ago, proposed a draft rule to hold the biomass-based diesel category flat for 2020, keeping it at 2.43 billion gallons for the second year in a row and then, just last week, the same EPA grants nearly one-half billion gallons of biomass-based diesel waivers. To highlight the hypocrisy in this action, while filing the draft rule two months ago, the EPA documented, in writing, the fact that they expected to grant zero (that's zero as in none, zilch, nada) gallons of small refinery waivers in 2020. And we're supposed to understand and accept that move?

    "Biodiesel and renewable diesel year after year fill more than 90 percent of the RFS volumes reserved for advanced biofuels. But EPA complains that advanced biofuels have not materialized quickly enough to meet the goals of the RFS. Now -- as seen last week -- the agency is holding its thumb on the industry and blocking growth. Not only blocking growth, but helping to reduce demand through small refinery exemptions.

    "As the agency continues to hand them out to every refiner that asks, the damage could reach $7.7 billion or 2.54 billion gallons, according to Scott Irwin, an agricultural economist from the University of Illinois. A 'small' oil refinery, by RFS definition -- one that processes 75,000 bpd of oil and produces nearly a billion gallons of fuel a year -- would have an RFS obligation to use just 20 million gallons of biodiesel or renewable diesel. Many U.S. biodiesel producers are smaller than that -- just one small refinery exemption would eliminate their entire market. And the EPA granted 31 of them.

    "President Trump vowed to protect and defend American farmers. In fact, he calls them patriots. But his actions will put the biodiesel producers those same farmers depend on for their market, out of business. It's already happening, and it's having a devastating impact on rural communities across the nation.

    "President Trump and EPA Administrator Wheeler should clearly know what this means to the workers, producers, farmers and investors in the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry -- their new round of unwarranted RFS exemptions just destroyed jobs and a valuable marketplace for hardworking Americans, including those patriotic soybean farmers who Trump has called on to be his willing allies in the trade dispute with China. If this is how the EPA administrator treats the president’s allies, I'd hate to see how he treats his enemies. (Source: NBB, 15 Aug., 2019) Contact: NBB, Donnell Rehagen, CEO, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NBB,  Biodiesel,  


    MORE Small Refinery "Hardship" Waivers Announced (Ind. Report)
    EPA,RFS,Renewable Fuels Association,American Coalition of Ethanol
    Date: 2019-08-12
    On Friday the 9th, the Trump administration EPA, under the administration of former coal industry lobbyist Andrew R, Wheeler, granted 31 more controversial "hardship waivers" allowing refiners to ignore Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) ethanol blending requirements in what might be construed as the administration's and the agency's attempt to bury the RFS in blatant favor of Big Oil. The agency denied 6 waiver requests and left one additional waiver request undecided.

    Needless to say, the President has yet again misled his supporters and the biofuels industry -- along with just about everyone else both domestic and foreign. In response, ethanol and biofuels players and industry organizations wasted no time in venting their rightful outrage.

    "The Trump Administration's approval of 31 refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard is just devastating news for our industry. With this action, President Trump has destroyed over a billion gallons of biofuel demand and broken his promise to Iowa voters to protect the RFS. The vast majority of these exemptions are not justified under the law. Since this news began to leak this afternoon, RFS credit prices have freefallen to nearly zero, destroying much of the incentive to blend an incremental gallon of ethanol." -- Monte Shaw, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Exec. Dir.,

    "At a time when ethanol plants in the Heartland are being mothballed and jobs are being lost, it is unfathomable and utterly reprehensible that the Trump Administration would dole out more unwarranted waivers to prosperous petroleum refiners. Today's announcement comes as a total shock, as just two months ago Trump himself heard directly from Iowa farmers and ethanol plant workers about the disastrous economic impacts of these small refinery handouts. In response, he (Trump) told us he would 'look into it' and we believed that would lead to the White House and EPA finally putting an end to these devastating waivers. Instead, the Trump administration chose to double down on the exemptions, greatly exacerbating the economic pain being felt in rural America and further stressing an industry already on life support." -- Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, Renewable Fuels Association.

    "EPA's refiner-win-at-all-costs oversight of the RFS is doing real damage to America's farmers and renewable fuel producers who are already suffering from trade wars and volatile markets. The RFS is supposed to ensure the use of ethanol and biodiesel increases from one year to the next, but 85 Small Refinery Exemptions later and over 3 billion waived gallons represents an enormous step backwards." -- Brian Jennings, CEO, American Coalition of Ethanol.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Various Media, AgPro, 9 Aug., 2019) Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., info@IowaRFA.org, (515) 252-6249, www.iowarfa.org; Renewable Fuels Association, www.ethanolrfa.org; American Coalition of Ethanol, www.ethanol.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,  RFS,  "Hardship Waiver",  Ethanol Blend,  Renewable Fuels Association,  ,  


    Shell Considering Solar Power at Singapore Site (Int'l. Report)
    Royal Dutch Shell
    Date: 2019-08-07
    Reuters is reporting oil giant Royal Dutch Shell is considering the installation of solar panels to power its 500,000 bpd B Pulau Bukom refining subsidiary site in Singapore, a company spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday.

    The possible switch to solar at this and other sites is in keeping with the company's plans to improve energy efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint. To that end, Shell has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Energy Market Authority of Singapore to jointly work on energy storage systems.

    Globally, Shell is installing solar photovoltaic panels on the roofs of seven lubricant plants in China, India, Italy, Singapore and Switzerland. (Source: Royal Dutch Shell, Reuters, Aug., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Royal Dutch Shell,  Solar,  


    Carleton Scores Building Energy Efficiency R&D Funding (Funding)
    Carlton University
    Date: 2019-08-02
    In Ottawa, the Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change has awarded $5.1M in funding to Carlton University's Building Performance Research Centre (CU-CABER) and Prof. Cynthia Cruickshank's building energy efficiency work. The Minister also awarded $510,000 for Prof. Burak Gunay's Centre for Advanced Building Envelope Research project related to data analytics and energy performance metrics.

    Cynthia Cruickshank, Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Solar Energy Systems Lab will lead the CU-CABER project to develop and evaluate new building envelope technologies. The six-year project has $3 million support from Natural Resources Canada's Energy Innovation Program and $2.1 million from the Ontario Research Fund.

    Prof. Burak Gunay is working to develop an open source software platform that will help building managers identify energy efficiency issues. Gunay and his team received $510,000 through Natural Resources Canada's Green Infrastructure Fund for his Next Generation: Actionable Building Energy Performance Metrics, Data Analytics and Visualization research effort. The researchers are partnering with CopperTree Analytics, Delta Controls, and Sensible Building Science, and BentallGreenOak will develop a suite of diagnostic algorithms and methods to help facility managers pinpoint problems, and solve them. (Source: Carlton University, July, 2019)Contact: Carlton University Building Performance Research Centre, 613-520-7838, vpri@carleton.ca, www.carleton.ca/bprc

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Building Energy Efficiency,  ,  


    German Sustainable Aviation Fuels Initiative Adds Members (Int'l)
    Rosneft Deutschland,BP,Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany
    Date: 2019-08-02
    The Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany (AIREG) reports Berlin-based Rosneft Deutschland and BP Europa have become the organizations newest members.

    AIREG aims to promote the research, production and usage of sustainable aviation fuels to reduce carbon emissions in aviation through the use of alternative fuels. AIREG members include universities, research institutions, plant manufacturers and operators, petroleum companies, engine and aircraft manufacturers, airports and airlines and others.

    Rosneft Deutschland currently produces around 300,000 tpy of jet fuel annually and implements into-plane aviation fuel supply in Munich, Berlin-Tegel, and Berlin-Schonefeld airports. The Russian oil company subsidiary currently blends over 400,000 tonnes of biofuels annuals across three refineries for use in the transportation sector.

    BP subsidiary BP Europa is committed to developing and commercializing sustainable aviation fuel to help its customers meet the International Air Transport Association target of a 50 pct reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, compared to 2005 levels. (Source: BP, Biofuels Int'l, 30 July, 2019) Contact: Rosneft Deutschland, +49 30 700142500, www.rosneft.de; BP Europa, Jurgen Kuper, Air BP Gen. Mgr., www.bp.com/en/global/bp-europa-se.html; Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany, www.aireg.de/en/home-en

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Sustainable Fuel,  Aviation Biofuel,  


    EPA Ignored DOE in Issuing RFS "Hardship Waivers" (Ind. Report)
    RFS
    Date: 2019-07-29
    Contrary to assertions by the EPA the U.S. DOE confirmed in a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that EPA issued so-called economic "hardship" exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to small refineries, often owned by billion-dollar oil companies, even when DOE found that the refineries faced little or no actual "hardship."

    In a response to an April 10 letter from Grassley, Energy Secretary Rick Perry indicated that EPA had, on at least one occasion, issued an exemption when his department recommended no exemption and ignored recommendations to grant only partial exemptions in other cases. Perry also noted that the agency has not changed how these analyses are applied or scored from the prior Obama Administration.

    Perry also noted that he was aware of instances in which DOE recommended a partial or even no exemption for certain refineries, yet EPA subsequently granted a full exemption. This contradicts former oil industry lobbyist and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's claim before Congress that EPA simply followed DOE's recommendations.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance Under Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was been denied. (Source: DOE, FeedStuff, 29 July, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship Waiver",  Pruitt,  


    BP, Bunge Partner on Brazilian Biofuels JV (Int'l. Report)
    BP Alternative Energy,Bunge
    Date: 2019-07-24
    UK petroleum and energy major BP reports it and White Plains, NY-based agribusiness major and ethanol producer Bunge Ltd. will enter into a 50/50 joint venture (JV) to establish BP Bunge Bioenergia which will operate 11 mills in Brazil, one of the largest fast-growing markets for biofuels in the world.

    The new company will have a combined crushing capacity of 32 million metric tpy and will produce a mix of ethanol and sugar. It will also generate renewable electricity from waste biomass from sugar cane, which will power all sites with surplus electricity being sold to the Brazilian power grid. Bunge will receive cash proceeds of $775 million in the transaction. which the company will use to reduce outstanding indebtedness under its credit facilities. The JV will be headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with Bunge's Geovane Consul as CEO. (Source: Bunge, BP, Biofuels Int'l, 22 July, 2019) Contact: BP Alternative Energy,Dev Sanyal, CEO, www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/what-we-do/alternative-energy.html; Bunge Ltd, (914) 684-2800, www.bunge.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News BP Alternative Energy,  Bunge,  Biofuel,  Brazil Biofuel,  Ethanol,  


    Mothballed Aussie Biodiesel Plant Back in Production (Int'l Report)
    Just Biodiesel
    Date: 2019-07-19
    In the Land Down Under, Just Biodiesel Pty Ltd. is reporting the re-launch of the 13.2 million gpy biodiesel production plant at Barnawatha, Victoria State, formerly owned by Australian Renewable Fuels (ARF) and Biodiesel Producers (BPL).

    The plant processes locally sourced tallow and used cooking oil into biodiesel and is now supplying B5 and B20 fuel through distribution partners Refuelling Solutions and Viva Energy. The company also plans to begin exporting its product to the U.S. market in California in August.

    The reopening of the formerly bankrupt plant is seen as a possible renaissance for the low-carbon alternative fuel which fell out of favour earlier in the decade due to falling conventional diesel prices, new federal governments excise of biofuels and the hangover from reliability and quality issues among some suppliers. (Source: Just Biodiesel, PR, ATN, 18 July, 2019) Contact: Justr Biodiesel, Greg Boyall,General Manager, +61 0401 700 543, greg.boyall@justbiodiesel.com.au, www.justbiodiesel.com.au

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biodiesel,  


    Small Refiners Threaten "Hardship Waivers" Legal Action (Ind. Report)
    EPA
    Date: 2019-07-19
    In Washington, Reuters is reporting a coalition of small U.S. refineries are planning on legal action against the the US EPA unless the agency issues issue its decisions on 2018 petitions for "hardship waivers" from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) within 60 days.

    The Trump administration EPA has more than quadrupled the number of waivers it has granted to refinerswhile at the same time raising the ire of the corn industry who claim the move threatens ethanol demand.

    The small refinery coalition's letter to the EPA said the "EPA is required to act on a petition within 90 days after receipt" and that it also failed to issue decisions on the outstanding 40 petitions for 2018 by March 31, 2019, which the letter said was the compliance deadline.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct. (Source: Reuters, Various Media, 18 July, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  Ethanol Blend,  


    BP, Bunge Considering Brazilian Ethanol JV (Int'l Report)
    Bunge,BP
    Date: 2019-07-10
    Bloomberg is reporting UK oil giant BP and White Plains, NY-based agribusiness major and ethanol producer Bunge Ltd. are in preliminary discussions on a possible sugar and ethanol joint venture in Brazil -- a major sugar and ethanol producing country.

    BP has been producing ethanol in Brazil since 2008 with three mills . Bunge has eight mills with capacity to process 22 million tons. (Source: Bloomberg, 19 July, 2019) Contact: Bunge Ltd, (914) 684-2800, www.bunge.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Bunge,  BP,  Ethanol,  Brazil Ethanol,  


    Neb. Gov., Ethanol Board Slam EPA's RFS RVO Proposal (Ind Report)
    Nebraska Ethanol Board
    Date: 2019-07-10
    The Nebraska Ethanol Board and the Cornhusker States Governor Peter Ricketts (R) have expressed their disappointment with the US EPA's recently proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2020 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

    "While Nebraska appreciates the EPA's timely release of renewable volume obligations, this proposal does not reflect the agency's legal duty to enforce a robust RFS or the president's commitment to our farmers," Governor Ricketts said while urging the EPA to "reallocate waived gallons and ensure that the agency is giving our farmers and ethanol producers the predictability they need, especially during tough times for agriculture."

    Nebraska Ethanol Board Administrator Roger Berry said the "Nebraska Ethanol Board is "extremely disappointed in the proposed Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) numbers released by the EPA. The fact that EPA did not account for any of the lost gallons due to Small Refiner Exemptions directly undermines demand for the quality fuel produced by our hard-working farmers and the 1,400 Nebraskans employed in the ethanol industry."

    Nebraska is the second-largest ethanol producer in the U.S. with over 2 billion gallons production capacity from 25 ethanol plants processing over 700 million bpy of corn for a $5 billion per year economic impact in the state. (Source: Nebraska Ethanol Board, The Independent, 9July, 2019) Contact: Office of Gov. Pete Ricketts, www.governor.nebraska.gov; Nebraska Ethanol Board, Roger Berry, Administrator, (402) 471-2941, www.ne-ethanol.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  RVO,  Nebraska Ethanol Board ,  


    Senators Want Ag Sec. Out of RFS "Hardship Waiver" Decision Process (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    RFS
    Date: 2019-07-03
    Following up on our June 12 coverage, DTN Progressive Farmer is reporting thirteen Republican senators from oil-producing states are calling for President Trump to keep Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue out of EPA Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) small refinery "hardship waiver" decision-making process which the Senators claim the Agriculture Secretary has no authority. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA administrator decides, after consulting with the Energy secretary, which refiners receive or are denied a hardship waiver, the Senators note.

    "We strongly oppose giving the Secretary (Perdue) any role in the decision-making process over the petitions. We would view any decisions to further delay, reduce, or deny hardship relief to small refineries, or reallocate the obligations of small refineries to other refineries, as the result of the Secretary of Agriculture's impermissible interference. We are confident that others, including the federal courts, would do the same," the thirteen Senators wrote.

    The small-refinery exemptions have reduced ethanol use by about 2.6 billion gallons, and 38 refiners are waiting for EPA to decide on new exemptions.

    Senators writing the letter included Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) as well as senators representing Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct (Source: Various Media, DTN, Progressive Farmer, July, 2019) Contact: Office of Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue,(202) 720-2791, feedback@oc.usda.gov, www.usda.gov/contact-us

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Hardship Waiver,  Ethanol,  Ethanol Blend,  RFA,  Sonny Perdue,  


    EPA Admonished to Update Ethanol, GHG Emissions Science ( Ind. Report, Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    EPA,Ethanol
    Date: 2019-06-26
    In response to the Trump administration EPA's rejection of calls to update GHG calculations based on technological advancements in ethanol production, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators led by Chuck Grassley (R. Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D. Ill.) -- both members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry -- issued the following statement urging the EPA to update an outdated environmental analysis on ethanol in order to "improve foreign sales opportunities."

    "During the past five years, ethanol has been the fastest-growing agricultural export. As more nations adopt policies for lower-emission vehicle fuels, domestically produced ethanol can provide an immediate solution for their goals. We assert that there is little justification for EPA to maintain such an outdated calculation that otherwise could be easily corrected with existing, available analysis -- and straightforwardly address an unnecessary obstacle to international trade," the Senators wrote.

    "Peer-reviewed science conducted by the USDA has affirmed that U.S. ethanol lowers greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 39-43 pct versus gasoline. EPA has rejected all calls to update these calculations, instead using nearly 10-year-old data, which ignores the technological advancements in ethanol production", the Senators said.

    The Senators called for the EPA to adopt the scientific model Greenhouse Gas & Regulated Emissions & Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) developed by the DOE Argonne National Laboratory, after studying 100 fuel production pathways and 85 vehicle systems to measure the life-cycle carbon emissions of vehicle fuels. More than 30,000 organizations worldwide use the updated GREET model, including the FAA, NASA, Ford and GM, BP and others. EPA does not use the updated model. (Source: Office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa),Feedstuffs, 25 June, 2019) Contact: Office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), www.grassley.senate.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  Chuck Grassley,  GHGs,  Ethanol,  


    NJ Offshore Wind Solicitation Goes to Orsted (Ind. Report)
    Orsted,New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
    Date: 2019-06-24
    Sitting in Trenton, the The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) report it unanimously granted the Garden State's first award for a 1,100 MW offshore wind project to Danish offshore wind farm developer Orsted.

    The 1,100 MW project is expected to generate sufficient electric power for approximately 500,000 New Jersey homes and generate $1.17 billion in economic benefits.

    The project is single largest award for offshore wind in the country to date and marks further progress toward meeting New Jersey's goal of 100 pct clean energy by 2050. (Source: NJBPU, 23 June, 2019) Contact: New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, (800) 624-0241, www.bpu.state.nj.us; Orsted, Martin Neubert, Exex. VP and CEO of Offshore, Daniel Lerup, Inv. Relations, +45 99 55 97 22, danil@orsted.dk, www.orsted.dk

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Orsted,  Offshore Wind,  New Jersey Offshore Wind,  


    CO2 Emissions Rise at Fastest Rate since 2011 (Ind. Report)
    BP
    Date: 2019-06-14
    Oil industry giant British Petroleum's (BP) just released 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy -- in its 68th year of publication -- notes that as energy consumption has grown, greenhouse gas emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels, which account for around two-thirds of total emissions, rose by 2 percent in 2018 -- equivalent to driving an extra 400 million combustion engine cars onto the world's highways.

    According to the report, energy consumption growth was driven by natural gas, which contributed more than 40 pct of the increase. All fuels grew faster than their 10-year averages, apart from renewables, although renewables still accounted for the second largest increment to energy growth.

    The report found the rapid increase in carbon emissions was at least partially due to the sharp increase in abnormally hot and cold days around the world, which in turn led consumers to use more energy for cooling and heating. China, the US, and India together accounted for more than two-thirds of the global increase in energy demand, with US consumption expanding at its fastest rate for 30 years.

    Download the BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy HERE. (Source: BP, Statistical Review of World Energy, Digital Journal, June, 2019) Contact: BP, www.bp.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News BP,  Climate Change,  Carbon Emissions,  


    Notable Quote -- BP Economist Talks About Emissions and Weather
    BP
    Date: 2019-06-14
    "If there is a link between the growing levels of carbon in the atmosphere and the types of weather patterns observed in 2018 this would raise the possibility of a worrying vicious cycle: increasing levels of carbon leading to more extreme weather patterns, which in turn trigger stronger growth in energy (and carbon emissions) as households and businesses seek to offset their effects."

    "It's clear we're on an unstable path with carbon emissions rising at their fastest rate since 2011." -- Spencer Dale, BP Chief Economist Contact: Spencer Dale, www.bp.com/en/global/...economics/spencer-dale-group-chief-economist.html

    More Low-Carbon Energy News BP,  Carbon Emissions,  


    NJ PUC Aims for 100 pct Clean Energy by 2050. (Ind. Report)
    NJ PUC
    Date: 2019-06-12
    The New Jersey Public Utilities Commission's NJPUC) recently released (NJ PUC) Energy Master Plan provides an initial blueprint for the total conversion of the Garden State's energy profile, calls for "carbon-neutral electricity generation and maximum electrification of the transportation and building sectors to meet or exceed the Global Warming Response Act greenhouse emissions reductions of 80 pct relative to 2006 levels by 2050.

    The plan calls for reducing energy consumption and emissions from the transportation sector, accelerating deployment of renewable energy, maximizing energy efficiency and conservation, reducing energy use through decarbonization, modernizing the electric grid and utility infrastructure, as well as expanding clean energy job training opportunities and programs.

    Download the NJ PUC Draft 2019 New Jersey Energy Master Plan HERE. (Source: NJ PUC, NJ 101.5, June, 2019) Contact: NJ PUC, (800) 624-0241, www.bpu.state.nj.us

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Wind,  Solar,  Energy Efficiency,  


    Senators Call for RFS "Hardship Waiver" Halt (Reg. & Leg.)
    RFS,"Hardship Wsivers"
    Date: 2019-06-12
    Last week in Washington, a dozen Democrattic US Senators wrote to the Trump Administration appointed EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler advising that the small refiner "hardship waiver" provision was NOT intended to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Accordingly, the Senators added,

    "We request that you cease issuing any further small refinery exemptions, immediately reallocate the remaining gallons, and make public the information regarding any recipients of these exemptions

    "We are extremely concerned about the EPA's recent actions to continue to improperly grant small refinery hardship waivers under the RFS. EPA's continued manipulation and misuse of the small refiner waiver authority is undermining the integrity of the RFS and disadvantaging farmers. Rather than follow congressional intent in the RFS and follow through on the promises made to rural America, the EPA and the (Trump) Administration are providing waivers, in secret, to help some of the largest oil companies and refiners evade their compliance obligations under the Clean Air Act.

    The letter's signatories included Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct. (Source: Farm Journal, Various Media, AgPro, 11 June, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Blend,  RFS,  "Hardship Waivers" ,  Andrew Wheeler,  


    RFA Congratulates Husker Ag on Ethanol Production (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2019-06-05
    The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) today congratulated member company Husker Ag LLC, as it recently produced its one-billionth gallon of corn ethanol. The Plainview, Nebraska facility presently produces over 300,000 gpd of ethanol.

    The Husker Ag facility was originally built by Fagen Inc. and designed by ICM of Colwich, KS. Husker Ag expanded its operations in the fall of 2007 and as of 2017 utilizes more than 26 million bpy of corn to produce about 76 million gpy of denatured ethanol and about 450,000 tpy of modified wet distillers' grain (DDG) for cattle feed. (Source: Renewable Fuels Association, Husker Ag, 3 June, 2019) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org; Husker Ag, Seth Harder, Gen. Mgr., (402) 582-4446, www.huskerag.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DDGs,  Corn Ethanol,  Husker Ag,  Renewable Fuels Association,  


    BP, NEXT Ink Renewable Diesel Feedstock Deal (Ind. Report)
    BP,NEXT Renewable Fuels
    Date: 2019-05-31
    Portland, Oregon-based advanced biofuels producer NEXT Renewable Fuels reports entering into a long-term feedstock supply agreement with BP Products North America (BP) for approximately 2 million tpy of renewable feedstocks -- animal fats and tallows, used cooking oil,greases and virgin seed oils -- for NEXT's planned renewable diesel facility in Port Westward, Oregon.

    The Port Westward facility is slated for completion and commissioning in 2021. (Source: NEXT Renewable Fuels, Biofuels Int'l., 29 May, 2019) Contact: NEXT Renewable Fuels, Lou Soumas, Pres., info@nextrenewables.com, www.nextrenewables.com; BP, Jason Breslaw, Renewable Feedstock and Bio-distillate Business Development Manager, www.bp.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News BP,  NEXT Renewable Fuels,  Renewable Diesel,  Biodiesel,  


    Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act 2019 Introduced (Reg. & Leg.)
    Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-05-31
    Last week in Washington, Chairman of the US House Committee on Agriculture, Collin Peterson (D-Minn), together with Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), Rep.Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) introduced the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019.

    The Act, which is intended to bring transparency to the EPA's small refinery "hardship" exemption (SRE) programme under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), will also set a deadline for refineries to submit petitions for RFS exemptions of 1 June to ensure that any waivers granted are "prospectively reallocated to non-exempt obligated parties, as well as require that key information surrounding the SREs is publicly available" according to a statement from the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE).

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct.(Source: ACE, Various Media, 29 May, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard,  "Hardship Waiver",  ,  


    Candidate Klobuchar Proposes RFS Exemption Changes (Ind Report)
    Klobuchar
    Date: 2019-05-27
    Last week while on the campaign trail in Iowa, Minnesota Senator and 2020 Presidential wannabe Amy Klobuchar (D) called for the revamping of the EPA's RFS "hardship waiver" rules governing small refineries.

    According to Klobuchar, EPA waivers that allow small refineries to avoid the requirements are "misguided" and manipulated by financial institutions and the biofuels credit trading market. The senator proposed new compliance standards and additional oversight. Klobuchar also supports year-round sales of E15.

    To date in the presidential primary race, Klobuchar is near the bottom of the pack and playing on the small refinery waiver program could play well in the Corn-husker State.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct (Source: IJR, Various Media, Reuters, 25 May, 2019) Contact: Sen. Amy Klobuchar, www.klobuchar.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/mobile/email-amy

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Biofuel Blend,  


    Dominion Energy Supports Carbon Tax (Ind. Report)
    Dominion Energy,CEO Climate Dialogue
    Date: 2019-05-17
    In the Old Dominion State, Richmond-headquartered Dominion Energy, which relies heavily on nuclear power and is rapidly expanding its solar portfolio, reports it is joining the CEO Climate Dialogue, a coalition of corporations and environmental groups in support of a carbon tax and other measures designed to reduce CO2 emissions.

    CEO Climate Dialogue is aiming for economy-wide carbon emission reductions of 80 pct or more by 2050, with aggressive near- and mid-term emission reductions commensurate with that goal.

    The group also "aims to build bipartisan support for climate policies that will increase regulatory and business certainty, reduce climate risk, and spur investment and innovation needed to meet science-based emissions reduction targets." BP, Shell, BG&E, DTE Energy, Exelon and other energy majors are among the group's membership. (Source: Dominion Energy, Bacon's Rebellion, Blog, 16 May, 2019) Contact: Dominion Energy, Thomas F. Farrell, CEO, Keith Windle, VP Business Development, www.dominionenergy.com; CEO Climate Dialogue, http://business.edf.org/blog/tag/ceo-climate-dialogue

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Dominion Energy,  Carbon Tax,  CEO Climate Dialogue,  


    Major Mining Companies Among World's Mega Emitters (Int'l)
    Climate Change
    Date: 2019-05-13
    In Rio de Janiero, Brazil, the Rio Times is reporting as many as 100 companies are responsible for more than 70 pct of global greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to data from Carbon Disclosure Project (CFP) in July 2017.

    The 25 largest polluters, responsible for 50 pct of CO2 emissions, are, by descending order: China (state-owned coal production), Aramco, Gazprom, Iranian National Petroleum, ExxonMobil, Coal India, Pemex, Russia (state-owned coal production), Shell, China National Petroleum, BP, Chevron, PDVSA, Abu Dhabi National Petroleum, Poland Coal, Peabody Energy, Sonatrach, Kuwait Oil, Total, BHP Billiton, ConocoPhillips, Lukoil, Rio Tinto, Nigeria National Petroleum, and Petrobras, the only Brazilian company on the list.

    The top 100 companies control most of the world's mineral rights, for oil, gas, and coal. Houston is considered the "home" of 7 of these 100 companies, followed by Jakarta, Calgary, Moscow, and Beijing.

    (Source: The Rio Times, May, 2019) Contact: The Rio Times, Richard Mann, Contributing Reporter, www.riotimesonline.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  CO2,  Climate Change,  


    Microsoft Joins Climate Leadership Council (Ind. Report)
    Climate Leadership Council
    Date: 2019-05-03
    Following up on our 17th April coverage, Microsoft reports it has joined the Climate Leadership Council. The Climate Leadership Council was founded by former secretaries of state James Baker and George Shultz, renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, BP, ExxonMobil, and Shell, General Motors and others. Membership includes 3500+ economists, 27 Nobel laureates and 15 former Chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers.

    According to the organization's website, The founding Members of the Climate Leadership Council believe that America needs a consensus climate solution that bridges partisan divides, strengthens our economy and protects our shared environment."

    The Council's carbon dividends solution embodies the conservative principles of free markets and limited government. It also offers an equitable, popular and politically-viable way forward, paving the way for a much-needed bipartisan climate breakthrough. The Council's carbon dividends program is based on four interdependent pillars:

  • A gradually rising and revenue-neutral carbon tax;
  • Carbon dividend payments to all Americans, funded by 100 pct of the revenue;
  • The rollback of carbon regulations that are no longer necessary; and
  • Border carbon adjustments to level the playing field and promote American competitiveness.

    Alongside a growing carbon tax, the Climate Leadership Council wants to rollback carbon regulations that are no longer necessary and pay these carbon taxes back to citizens in the form of dividends. The group also plans to push for rising carbon taxes in replacement of other climate legislation while protecting its members from historic climate damage payments, according to its website.

    Microsoft recently committed to a $15 per ton internal carbon tax and announced that its campus will soon be run with 100 pct carbon-free electricity. It also ramped up its data center plans to run on 70 pct renewable by 2023. (Source: Microsoft, Climate Leadership Council, WinBuzzer, 2 May, 2019) Contact: Climate Leadership Council, www.clcouncil.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Leadership Council,  Carbon Emissions,  Carbon Tax,  


  • EPA Signals No Timeline for Decisions on RFS Exemption Requests (Reg. & Leg.)
    EPA
    Date: 2019-05-03
    Reuters is reporting the EPA's decision relative to Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) obligation small refiner "hardship waiver" may come in late May, although the date remains uncertain.

    Although the DOE has provided their scoring of the exemption requests to EPA relative to the 40 requests that have been received for the 2018 compliance year, the agency has not yet to acted on any of those requests. "No decisions regarding 2018 SREs [small refiner exemptions] have been made," Michael Abboud, a spokesman for the EPA said. "Many aspects of the decisions for exempting individual refineries are based on confidential business information."

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct. (Source: EPA, Various Media, Progressive Farmer, 3 May, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  RFS,  "Hardship Waiver",  Biofuel Bleand,  


    ABFA Acts Against Additional EPA "Hardship Waivers" (Reg. & Leg.)
    Advanced Biofuels Association
    Date: 2019-05-01
    Further to our 11 March coverage, on April 24th, the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABA) filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler from granting additional small refinery "hardship waivers" until the resolution of its pending lawsuit against EPA.

    "Since EPA began granting these additional exemptions behind closed doors, we have seen devastating market impacts and dropping prices for renewable identification numbers (RINs). We need to stop the bleeding and prevent EPA from ABFA's lawsuit against EPA challenges its methodology for granting these exemptions, arguing the agency more than doubled the number of exempted refineries by illegally changing its petition review process behind closed doors," said ABFA Pres. Michael McAdams.

    "Administrator Wheeler has indicated his intention to move forward on decisions for as many as 39 additional exemptions this year. ABFA cannot stand by while EPA unilaterally and illegally undermines the integrity of the RFS program. These new exemptions provide a financial windfall to refineries at the expense of biofuel producers and distributors. EPA is punishing the parties who have worked to increase the amount of renewable fuel blended into the U.S. transportation fuel supply as Congress intended by enacting the RFS first in 2005 and expanding it in 2007.

    "For the first time since the inception of the RFS, we are seeing reductions in U.S. renewable fuel blending, and EPA's actions are to blame. Until the court is able to rule on the merits of ABFA's pending lawsuit, the agency should be prevented from taking further action."

    "Hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct. (Source: Advanced Biofuels Association, 30 April, 2019)Contact: Advanced Biofuels Association, www.advancedbiofuelsassociation.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News "Hardship Waiver",  Advanced Biofuels Association ,  


    EPA Stalls on RFS "Hardship Waiver" Transparency (Ind. Report)
    RFS
    Date: 2019-05-01
    Reuters is reporting the U.S. EPA has suspended work on its plan -- as announced on 12 April -- to publish the names of refineries granted "hardship waiver" exemptions from federal biofuels law after receiving blowback from the White House and parts of the oil industry.

    The EPA currently does not name companies that apply for or receive the waivers, arguing the information is confidential. The corn industry wants that changed because it believes profitable companies are securing waivers, which is hurting farmers. Small refineries owned by profitable oil majors like ExxonMobil and Chevron are among those that have gotten waivers since 2017, according to the Reuters report.

    "Hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct. (Source: Yahoo Finance, Reuters, 30 April, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship Waiver",  Ethanol Blend,  


    ADM Planning Three Ethanol Plant Spinoff (Ind. Report, M&A)
    Archer Daniels Midland
    Date: 2019-04-29

    Last Friday, Chicago-headquartered biofuel pioneer Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) reported it may spin off three large dry mill ethanol plants after the unsuccessful search for a buyer came up empty. ADM's move is being seen as a sign of the industry's troubles with U.S. President Trump's punitive tariffs and trade wars, thin margins, overproduction, and the motoring public's growing love affair with electric vehicles and fuel efficient vehicles, all of which is forcing the biofuels industry to seek new markets -- such as China -- for their overproduction.

    Last week, U.S. ethanol production hit 1.05 million bpd, highest in at least five years seasonally, and inventories climbed to 22.75 million barrels, not far from the record of 24.45 million hit in March, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Source: ADM, Reuters, Grainews, 26 April, 2019) Contact: ADM, Juan Luciano, Pres., CEO, (312) 634-8100, Collin Benson, VP Bioactives, Jackie Anderson, ADM Media, (217) 424-5413, www.adm.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Archer Daniels Midland ,  Ethanol,  Biofuel,  


    ABA Asks Court to Quash EPA RFS "Hardship Waivers" (Reg. & Leg.)
    Advanced Biofuels Association
    Date: 2019-04-26
    According to a recent brief filed by attorneys on behalf of the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABA) in a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit court in Washington, the US EPA broke away from Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements for granting small-refinery waivers starting in May 2017 and continued to deny a congressional order regarding which refiners qualify.

    The suit contends the EPA approved waivers for small refiners that didn't meet the minimum U.S. DOE score to qualify, and improperly considered the debts of small-refiners' parent companies when considering waiver requests. The brief also noted the agency considered small-refiners' operating losses whether or not they were related to RFS compliance. The agency also considered what small refiners might spend on biofuel credits, without looking at revenue the refiners would later generate from sales of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). Accordingly, the ABA suit asked the court to declare the EPA's methodology for determining disproportionate economic hardship "unlawful" and to strike down the agency's economic "hardship" policy.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct. (Source: ABA, DTN, April, 2019) Contact: Advanced Biofuels Association, www.advancedbiofuelsassociation.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Advanced Biofuels Association,  "hardship Waiver: RFS,  


    US Ethanol Exports Up 23 pct in 2018 (Ind. Report)
    Ethanol
    Date: 2019-04-26
    In Washington, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) is reporting US ethanol exports jumped by 23 pct in 2018 reaching 112,000 bpd, up from a previous record high of 91,000 bpd in 2017.

    According to the EIA, at 33,000 bpd Brazil was the top market for US ethanol, followed by Canada at approximately 23,000 bpd while India ranked third, receiving 10,000 bpd of US ethanol followed by South Korea and the Netherlands. (Source: US EIA, 25 April, 2019) Contact: US EIA, www.eia.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  EIA,  Biofuel,  

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