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Growth Energy Calls for EPA to Reject RFS Compliance Extension Deadlines (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
Growth Energy
Date: 2021-02-12
In Washington, in testimony at the EPA virtual hearing on the proposal to extend the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance deadlines for the 2019 and 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), Growth Energy's Senior VP of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley called on the agency to reject calls to delay RFS compliance and instead take immediate steps to restore integrity to the RFS and restore lost biofuel demand.

"The intent of the RFS is to blend more biofuels into our nation's transportation fuel supply. Period. It is not meant to have oil companies use questionable legal tactics to avoid blending biofuels and then demanding that the agency further delay compliance," Bliley said.

Bliley also reminded EPA about the benefits of biofuels as America works toward its clean climate goals, stating that "With recent research showing that greenhouse gas emissions from corn ethanol are 46 pct lower than gasoline, it makes no sense why EPA should continue to exempt oil companies and further delay them from complying with their blending obligations."

EPA's proposal would extend the RFS compliance deadline for the 2019 compliance year to November 30, 2021 and extend the RFS compliance deadline for the 2020 compliance year to January 31, 2022. (Source: Growth Energy, PR, Website, 9 Feb., 2021) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, Chris Bliley, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy,  RFS,  


Equinor Awards $74Mn in Northern Lights CCS Contracts (Int'l.)
Equinor, CCS
Date: 2021-01-29
In Oslo, Equinor is reporting the issuance of $74 million in contracts for its Northern Lights project, the world's first carbon capture project to pump Norwegian industrial emissions into an offshore reservoir.

Equinor awarded a $57.5 million EPCI contract to Subsea 7 for fabrication, pipe laying and subsea installations to be completed during 2022-2023. Equinor also awarded a $16.1 million EPCI contract to Stavenger-based oil and gas service provider Aibel for the Northern Lights subsea control system.

According to the company most contracts for Northern Lights are now in place, including Aker Solutions ‘ $28 million deal for the CO2 receiving facilities outside Bergen and subsea equipment for injecting captured CO2 into a reservoir for permanent storage. Aker's work is expected to be completed in 2023.

The Norwegian government-funded Northern Lights project will transport, inject and store up to 1.5 million tpy of CO2 and is slated to be operational in 2024. (Source: Equinor, PR, 27 Jan., 2021) Contact: Northern Lights Project, Sverre Overaa, Director, sjov@equinor.com, Per Sandberg, Bus. Dev, prsa@equinor.com, www.northernlightsccs.com; Aibel, +47) 85 27 00 00, www.aibel.com; Equinor, www.equinor.com; Aker Solutions, Kjetel Digre, CEO, Fredrik Berge, Inv. Relations, +47 22 94 62 19, fredrik.berge@akersolutions.com, www.akersolutions.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Equinor,  CCS,  Aker Solutions,  


Univ. of Wyoming Releases Carbon Storage Study (Ind. Report)
University of Wyoming
Date: 2020-12-30
The University of Wyoming, in partnership with West Virginia University of Law and the U.S. Energy Association (USEA) has released a comparative study for the U.S. DOE identifying the regulatory shortcomings slowing the deployment of carbon dioxide utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies. The study findings could help eliminate regulatory blindspots that pop up when projects are proposed with federal or private surface and subsurface interests.

Scientists are working to find commercial ways to capture and store CO2 underground. But CO2 can also be used at oil fields, by injecting it into reservoirs to remove residual oil that traditional drilling processes could not extract. Researchers note policy makers need to know both the legal and regulatory obstacles facing energy developers trying to advance these technologies. For examples, developers hoping to establish these technologies on federal, state or private lands can run into issues involving land, mineral, pore space or water rights, pipeline regulations, eminent domain or limits to CO2 storage regulation, among others, according to the report.

Recent federal incentives could accelerate the advancement of CO2 storage and utilization across the 12 states studied. For one, in 2018 Congress revised Section 45Q of the tax code to provide more favorable tax incentives to companies engaged in carbon capture and sequestration. The 45Q federal tax credit is given to companies for each ton of CO2 they sequester in the ground. Since then, the program has received feedback from potential claimants, and the Internal Revenue Service recently proposed rules to regulate the program. (Source: University of Wyoming, PR, US Energy Association, Dec., 2020) Contact: US Energy Association, (202) 312-1230, www.usea.org; University of Wyoming, School of Energy Resources, Holly Krutka, Exec. Dir., (307) 766-1121, hkrutka@uwyo.edu, www.uwyo.edu/ser

More Low-Carbon Energy News University of Wyoming,  CCS,  CCUS,  U.S. Energy Association ,  


$3Bn Calif. Pumped Hydro Storage Project Proposed (Ind. Report)
Power Tech Engineers
Date: 2020-12-30
In the Golden State, Walnut, California-based Power Tech Engineers Inc. is proposing a $3 billion pumped-water energy storage project along Isabella Lake that would help even out power delivery from California solar and wind farms.

The plan calls for the creation of a new reservoir above the lake from which water would be pumped into a rechargeable dam and 2,000 MW hydroelectric generator. The early-stage project is presently being reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) but has yet to apply for environmental impact and other regulatory studies and approvals.

The US DOE has reportedly offered to cover 70 pct of the project's cost. (Source: Power Tech Engineers Inc., PR, Website Dec., 2020) Contact: Power Tech Engineers Inc., Victor Rojas, Pres., 909-595-5314, www.ptei.net

More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Storage,  Pumped Hydro,  


EPA Misses 2021 RFS RVO Announcement (Opinions & Asides)
Renewable Fuels Association,National Farmers Union
Date: 2020-12-02
Commenting on the US EPA's again missing the annual statutory deadline for the release of the RVOs, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said:

"It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that EPA is missing its statutory deadline for publishing the final rule for 2021 RVOs, given that we still haven't even seen a proposed rule. And even if a proposed rule was released today, it would be next to impossible to have a final rule done by the end of the calendar year, or even by inauguration day.

"At this point, it likely makes more sense to let the new administration handle the 2021 RVO rulemaking process entirely. President-elect Biden has correctly noted that the RFS waivers granted by the current EPA have severely cut ethanol production, costing farmers income and ethanol plant workers their jobs. Thus, we are confident that the new EPA administrator, whoever that may end up being, will stop doing secret favors for oil refiners and ensure the RFS is implemented in a way that is consistent with the law and Congressional intent. We know it may take a few months for the new administration to get a final 2021 RVO rule done, but in the meantime, the statute is crystal clear that refiners must blend at least 15 billion gallons of conventional renewable fuel in 2021.

"So, while there may be some uncertainty around where the final advanced and cellulosic volume requirements may end up, the marketplace should be able to enter 2021 with some level of confidence around the conventional renewable fuel and biomass-based diesel requirements."

National Farmers Union President Rob Larew added, "By punting a decision on 2021's RVOS to the next administration, EPA is introducing yet more uncertainty to the biofuels industry -- uncertainty that most farmers and biofuels producers can't afford right now. Despite promising again and again to uphold RFS, the Trump administration has consistently undermined the program with its misappropriation of small refinery exemptions, preferential treatment of oil corporations, and disregard for its legal responsibility to restore lost demand, all of which has cost America's farmers and biofuel producers dearly. To add insult to injury, fuel use -- and, consequently, ethanol use -- has dropped significantly during the pandemic, cutting deeply into profits.

"Trump's EPA has almost invariably fallen short in its handling of biofuels, and today's decision, or lack thereof, is no different. We sincerely hope Biden's EPA learns from their mistakes and takes biofuels policy in a much more promising direction." (Source: National Farmers Union, Renewable Fuels Association, FencePost, 30 Nov., 2020) Contact: National Farmers Union, Rob Larew, Pres., (202) 554-1600, www.nfu.org; Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Association,  RFS,  National Farmers Union ,  


Aussie Oil Giant Responds to Climate Change Pressure (Int'l.)
Santos
Date: 2020-12-02
Under pressure from more than 43 pct of its shareholders, Santos, one of Australia's largest oil and gas companies, has announced it will become a "net-zero" emitter by 2040. To that end, the company aims to cut its direct emissions 26-30 pct on 2020 levels by 2030, purchase nature-based offsets such as tree-planting programs, accelerate the deployment of more renewable energy and utilize carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

Santos' strengthened targets come as it nears a final investment decision for one of the world's cheapest CCS projects at its Moomba gas plant in South Australia. After completing the final field trial, successfully injecting 100 tonnes of CO2 into a depleted gas reservoir in the Cooper Basin, Santos is now waiting for the Clean Energy Regulator to finalize the methodology for CCS to qualify for federal carbon credits. (Source: Santos, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Dec., 2020) Contact: Santos, Kevin Gallagher, CEO, Brett Woods, Exec. VP, Low Carbon Operations, +61 8 8116 5000, www.santos.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News CCS,  Carbon Credit,  Carbon Emissions,  Carbon Footprint,  


Oxford Launches Carbon Offsetting Principles (Int'l. Report)
Oxford University
Date: 2020-10-26
In the UK, a multi-disciplinary team from the University of Oxford has released The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting guidelines on how offsetting should be done to ensure it is trustworthy and effective in helping the world achieve carbon net-zero.

The Oxford guidelines recommend a shift to verified carbon removal offsetting and to long-lived carbon storage, stating "users of offsets should increase the portion of their offsets that come from carbon removals rather than from emission reductions, ultimately reaching 100 pct carbon removals by mid-century to ensure compatibility with the Paris Climare Agreement goals". To that end, the guidelines also recommend:

  • Cut emissions, use high quality offsets, and regularly revise offsetting strategy as best practice evolves: prioritise reducing your own emissions, ensure environmental integrity, and maintain transparency;

  • Shift to carbon removal offsetting -- Users of offsets should increase the portion of their offsets that come from carbon removals;

  • Shift to long-lived storage -- This refers to methods of storing carbon that have a low risk of reversal over centuries to millennia, such as storing CO2 in geological reservoirs or mineralizing carbon into stable forms;

  • Support the development of net-zero aligned offsetting -- Using long-term agreements; forming sector-specific alliances; supporting the restoration and protection of a wide range of natural and semi-natural ecosystems in their own right; and adopting and publicising these Principles and incorporate them into regulation and standard setting for approaches to offsetting and net-zero.

    Access Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting HERE. (Source: University of Oxford, Smith School Enterprise & Environment, Sept., Oct., 2020) Contact: University of Oxford, Smith School, +44 0 1865 614942, enquiries@smithschool,ox.ac.uk, www.smithschool.ox.ac.uk

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Oxford University,  Carbon Offsetting,  Carbon Offset,  Carbon Emissions,  


  • Neste Plans Refinery "Operational Restructuring" (Int'l. Report)
    Neste Oyi
    Date: 2020-09-16
    In Helsinki, Finnish Biofuels producer Neste Oy is reporting plans to restructure its refinery operations in Porvoo and Naantali, Finland. The company is exploring the shutdown of its refinery operations in Naantali and focusing the Naantali site on the terminal and harbor operations, as well as transforming the Porvoo refinery operations to co-processing renewable and circular raw materials.

    According to the release, Neste says the demand for fossil oil products will continue to decline, and the share of renewable energy solutions will continue to grow in the coming years. The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially accelerated the decline in demand for oil products which is not expected to recover to previous levels. Fundamental changes are therefore needed to secure the competitiveness of Neste's Oil Products business and to improve its productivity, resource efficiency and adaptiveness to market changes.

    The planned changes are expected to result in annual fixed cost savings of approximately €50 million, the release notes. (Source: Neste, PR, 14 Sept., 2020) Contact: Neste Oyi, Salla Ahonen, VP Sustainability, +358 50 458 5076, media@neste.com, www.neste.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Neste,  Biofuel,  


    DEEP Announces Cdn. Geothermal Project Progress (Ind. Report)
    DEEP Earth Energy Production Corp
    Date: 2020-09-16
    In Saskatchewan, Saskatoon-headquartered geothermal specialist DEEP Earth Energy Production Corp. (DEEP) is reporting satisfactory temperature and flow rate test results from the geothermal reservoir in the Deadwood Formation to support multiple geothermal power facilities.

    DEEP will commence drilling this month with the deepest horizontal well to date in Saskatchewan, allowing for the installation of a large diameter submersible pump. This initial horizontal well will be the first step in constructing the first geothermal power facility in Canada.

    When completed, the Williston Basin's first 20 MW geothermal power plant will supply sufficient power for approximately 20,000 households. (Source: DEEP Website News, 10 Sept., 2020) Contact: DEEP, Kirsten Marcia, Pres., CEO, (306) 261-6979, kmarcia@deepcorp.ca, www.deepcorp.ca

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DEEP Earth Energy Production Corp,  Geothermal,  


    RFA Offers EPA Advisory Committee Recommendations (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2020-09-11
    At a recent EPA Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee meeting Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Pres. and CEO Geoff Cooper suggested the following steps the EPA needs to take immediately to support U.S. ethanol producers and rural America:

  • adopt the recent Tenth Circuit Court decision (Renewable Fuels Association et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency) nationwide;

  • deny all pending so-called "gap year" small refinery exemption (SRE) petitions;

  • decide the 31 pending SRE petitions for 2019 and 2020 according to the Tenth Circuit Court criteria;

  • publish the proposed rule for 2021 renewable volume obligations (RVOs);

  • as ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in ACEI v. EPA, restore the 500 million-gallon conventional renewable fuel volume that was illegally waived from the 2016 RFS requirements, (Source: RFA, AgWired, Sept., 2020 Contact: Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee, www.epa.gov/faca/farm-ranch-and-rural-communities-federal-advisory-committee-frrcc-membership; Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Association,  Ethanol,  Renewable Fuel,  Geoff Cooper,  


  • ACE says EPA Misses Chance To Fix The RFS (Opinions and Asides)
    American Coalition for Ethanol
    Date: 2020-07-08
    The Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) reports it is concerned that the EPA has missed important deadlines dealing with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

    The EPA normally issues the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) petroleum companies must meet under the RFS by July 4, but have missed that deadline for 2021 and there's no indication when they may be released, according to ACE CEO Brian Jennings.

    EPA also has not responded to an April ACE request for an emergency interim final rule on RVOs to restore RFS volumes to help ethanol producers hurt by the pandemic. The EPA is also being inactive on dealing with small refinery waiver requests which they need to deny in accordance with a January court ruling that will likely will take Congressional intervention to enforce, Jennings added. (Source: American Coalition for Ethanol, July, 2020) Contact: American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, (605) 334-3381, www.ethanol.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News American Coalition for Ethanol ,  Ethanol. RFS,  Renewable Fuels Standard,  


    NWF Supports Governors' Requests for RFS Relief (Ind. Report)
    AFPM
    Date: 2020-07-08
    According to a recent American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) blog posting, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has become the most recent US EPA petitioner seeking a general waiver to reduce 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance obligations.

    In a letter to the EPA' Administrator Andrew Wheeler, NWF President and CEO Collin O'Mara echoed the requests of six state governors and stressed the need for smaller biofuel mandates. In its letter, the AFPM noted:

  • "The RFS currently requires about 19 billion gal. of fuel derived from plants to be blended into gasoline. The overwhelming majority of that fuel is corn ethanol, and today 40 pct of the corn produced in the U.S. goes into our gas tanks."

  • "Increasing mandated blending levels increases the potential for further land conversion, presenting a marked threat to the battle against global climate change, with its consequent catastrophic effects on human health and the environment. Higher blends of ethanol necessitated by unrealistic RVOs diminish public health."

  • "In light of the clear and present danger to the environment, we join with the governors of six states in asking for a waiver to the RVO."

    The NWF letter concludes: “"In short, the corn ethanol mandate has led to the loss of important wildlife habitat, particularly in regions critical for monarch butterflies, ducks and other ground-nesting birds, and many other species -- threatening outdoor recreation opportunities as well as the economy. The mandate has also resulted in deteriorated water quality and harmful algal blooms in important surface waters as a result of increased farm runoff. Increasing mandated blending levels increases the potential for further land conversion, presenting a marked threat to the battle against global climate change, with its consequent catastrophic effects on human health and the environment. Higher blends of ethanol necessitated by unrealistic RVOs diminish public health. In light of the clear and present danger to the environment, we join with the Governors of six states in asking for a waiver to the RVO." (Source: National Wildlife Federation, AFPM, Hydrocarbon Engineering, 7 July, 2020) Contact: National Wildlife Federation, Colin O'Mara, CEO, www.nwf.org

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


  • Panasonic, Span Offer Home Battery Energy Management (Ind. Report)
    Panasonic,Span
    Date: 2020-07-06
    N.J.-based Panasonic is reporting a strategic alliance with "smart" electric panel maker Span to deliver a combined energy storage and management offering that will give homeowners a new level of control over their battery backup power with intuitive energy management for the entire home.

    When paired with EverVolt, Panasonic's residential home energy storage solution, consumers gain more control over battery backup power and access to simple whole-home energy management. Panasonic's EverVolt, available in AC- and DC-coupled versions, supports existing or new solar systems, and can be scaled down to as little as 11.4kWh of energy storage or expanded to 34.2kWh and comes equipped with advanced software. (Source: Panasonic, kerala, July, 2020) Contact: Panasonic Residential Solar www.na.panasonic.com/us/solar; Span, Arch Rao, CEO, www.span.io/panasonic-evervolt

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Panasonic news,  Span news,  Battery news,  Energy Storage news,  Energy Management news,  


    Oregon Pumped Energy Storage Project Advancing (Ind. Report)
    Rye Development,National Grid
    Date: 2020-07-06
    In Oregon, Boston-based Rye Development and Portland-based National Grid are reporting their $740 million Swan Lake Energy Storage closed-loop pumped-hydro energy storage project is moving forward with a 15-year property tax break recently approved by Klamath County Commissioners in mid-June.

    The 394-watt project, once constructed, will span a total 300 acres and include two 65-acre reservoirs, to be located about 11 miles northeast of Klamath Falls. Construction is slated to get underway in December 2021 and anticipated to be finished in 2025, according to developers. (Source: Rye Development, Herald & News, 5 July, 2020) Contact: National Grid Ventures , Nate Sandvig, Dir. U.S. Strategic Growth , www.nationalgrid.com; Rye Development, www.ryedevelopment.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Rye Development,  Energy Storage,  Pumped Hydro,  National Grid,  


    Span, Panasonic Offer Home Battery Energy Storage (Ind. Report)
    Panasonic,Span
    Date: 2020-06-10
    U.S.-based electric panel manufacturer Span Inc reports it is partnering with Panasonic to offer a combined energy storage and residential energy management product that pairs Panasonic's EverVolt residential battery system, which comes in two sizes: 11.4 kWh and 17.1 kWh , with Span's electric panel.

    Span's electric panel is designed to monitor and control up to 32 circuits, all managed through a smartphone app . The Panasonic systems are intended for indoor usage and are available in DC-coupled or AC-coupled versions and can be retrofitted to existing solar systems. (Source: Span Inc., PV Mag., June, 2020) Contact: Span Inc, Arch Rao, CEO, www.span.io, www.span.io/panasonic-evervolt

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Storage news,  Panasonic news,  Battery news,  


    NM Tech Funded for $22Mn CCS Study (Ind. Report, Funding)
    New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
    Date: 2020-04-29
    The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NM Tech) is reporting receipt of $17.5 million in US DOE funding to study the safe storage of CO2 in underground saline reservoirs near the San Juan Generating Station. An additional $4.4 million in afunding will come from Enchant Energy and NM Tech funds.

    The data obtained from the $22 million effort will be used to prepare, submit and obtain a permit to construction a Class VI well to store CO2 captured from the power plant if Enchant Energy successfully retrofits San Juan Generating Station with carbon capture technology. The Class VI wells are intended to store carbon dioxide in a safe and secure manner for at least 990 years.

    Other recently funded CCS projects include:

  • Approximately $25.4 million for the Illinois Storage Corridor

  • Nearly $23.6 million for an early carbon dioxide storage complex in Kemper County, Mississippi

  • Roughly $25 million for a carbon dioxide storage well project in North Dakota as part of Minnkota Power's Project Tundra

  • About $19.1 million for a storage complex project in Campbell County, Wyoming, that would use CO2 captured from the coal-fired Dry Fork Station. (Source: New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology Farmington Daily Times, 27 April, 2020) Contact: New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Robert Balch, Dir, Petroleum Recovery Research Center at New Mexico Tech, 575-835-5434, www.nmt.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Storage,  CCS,  CO2,  New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology ,  


  • Berlin's ecoworks GmbH Raises €5Mn (Int'l, Ind. Report)
    ecoworks
    Date: 2020-04-10
    In Germany, Berlin-based startup ecoworks GmbH, a pioneer in the rapid modernization and upgrading of apartment building for greater energy efficiency, reports it has raised €5 million in seed financing.

    The company aims to reduce the total energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions using factory-produced facade and roof elements and per-assembled building technologies that reduce the amount of work required in completing a project by a whopping 80 pct. With its processes, ecoworks converts an inefficient building into a "de-centralised and small power plant by installing photovoltaic systems, thermal reservoirs, and heat pumps that generate more energy than needed by the building's occupants." The surplus green energy is fed into the public power grid. (Source: ecoworks GmbH, silicon canals, 7 April, 2020) Contact: ecoworks GmbH, www.ecoworks.tech

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  Energy Efficiency,  


    Neste Acquiring Ill. Grease Collector-Recycler (Ind Report, M&A)
    Neste,Mahoney Environmental
    Date: 2020-03-13
    Espoo, Finland-headquartered Neste, the world's largest producer of renewable diesel and renewable jet fuel refined from waste and residuesis, reports it will acquire 100 pct of Joilet, Illinois-based Mahoney Environmental, a collector and recycler of used cooking oil and its affiliated entities. The deal is subject customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.

    Neste operates renewable diesel refineries in Singapore, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and Porvoo in Finland where it produces Neste MY Renewable Diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). (Source: Neste Corp, 11 Mar.,2020) Contact: Neste US, Jeremy Baines, Pres, +358 10 458 4128, www.neste.com; Mahoney Environmental, 800-892-9392, www.mahoneyes.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biodiesel,  Neste,  Biofuel,  Cooking Oil,  


    Neste Oyj Targets Carbon-Neutral Production by 2035 (Int'l Report)
    Neste
    Date: 2020-03-13
    Espoo, Finland-headquartered biofuels and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) producer Neste Oyi reports it is committed to reaching carbon neutral production by 2035. The commitment complements Neste's other strategic climate commitment of reducing customers' greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 million tpy by 2030. To that end, the company:

  • Continues to focus on energy efficiency to optimize the use of fuel gas, electricity, hydrogen and steam in its production. The improvements in the turnaround at Porvoo refinery in 2020 will decrease production emissions by more than 100 kt CO2eq annually;

  • Increases the use of renewable electricity at its production sites. As an example of this, Neste has already agreed to start using wind power in Finland;

  • Increases the weight of greenhouse gas emissions in the investment calculations and business case evaluation;

  • Explores new, less emitting production methods, for example utilizing biogas or electrolysis for hydrogen production;

  • Has started a project for GHG emission reductions at the Porvoo production site, focusing on carbon capture and storage (CCS) and identifies reliable compensation models for the remaining part which cannot be achieved by emission reductions.

    Neste is working on rolling out the detailed plan and timeline for implementing the initiatives aimed at carbon neutral production by 2035. (Source: Neste Oyi, PR, Mar., 2020) Contact: Neste Oyi, Salla Ahonen, VP Sustainability, +358 50 458 5076, media@neste.com, www.neste.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Neste,  Carbon Neutral,  Carbon Emissions,  


  • $18.8Mn DOE Funding for Low-Temp Geothermal R&D (R&D, Funding)
    US DOE EERE,
    Date: 2020-02-07
    The U.S DOE has announced an $18.8 million funding that will go towards six innovative R&D initiatives aimed towards:
  • Exploration RD&D -- Hidden Geothermal Systems in the Basin and Range; and
  • Advanced Energy Storage Initiative (AESI) -- Bi-directional Energy Storage Using Low-Temperature Geothermal Applications.

    The first topic aims to build on the success of the Geothermal Technologies Office's Play Fairway Analysis (PFA) initiative. The PFA technique is a method for discovering hidden hydrothermal systems in the Basin & Range region of the western U.S using known geologic factors associated with geothermal systems. By reducing the uncertainty of discovering geothermal systems in such settings, development and investment in the area can become more attractive.

    The second topic aims to enhance the resilience of energy systems through the use of Reservoir Thermal Energy Storage (RTES) technology particularly in low-temperature geothermal systems. Deep-Direct Use (DDU) for space heating is being considered as the best application of this technolgoy, as excess thermal energy during summer could be stored as a reserve for winter heating.

    Interested applicants may submit a letter of intent until February 28, 2020, 5 PM. Only those who have submitted the letter will be eligible for full applications, which will be accepted until April 6, 2020, 5 PM. (Source: U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office, 6 Feb., 2020) Contact: U.S. DOE Geothermal Technologies Office, geothermal@ee.doe.gov, egs@ee.doe.gov, www.energy.gov/eere/geothermal/geothermal-technologies-office-contacts-0

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Geothermal,  US DOE EERE,  


  • Daybreak Proposes AZ Pumped-Hydro Energy Storage (Ind. Report)
    Daybreak Power
    Date: 2020-01-20
    In the Old Dominion State, Vienna-based gigawatt-scale energy storage projects developer Daybreak Power Inc. is reporting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has accepted the company's application for a preliminary permit for its proposed $3.6 billion, 2,200 MW Navajo Energy Storage Station at the retired Navajo Generating Station coal plant near Page, Arizona.

    The Navajo Energy Storage Station (NESS) is a pumped storage hydropower facility that would use water from Lake Powell and a new reservoir on a plateau above the lake to create a gigantic battery. The facility would use solar and wind energy to pump water to the upper reservoir, then release it through turbines to generate 10 hours of renewable energy each day to power cities in California, Arizona and Nevada.

    The NESS facility is Daybreak's second huge energy storage project, following its proposed 1,540 MW Next Generation Pumped Storage facility that would utilize water from Lake Mead and transmission infrastructure near Hoover Dam, according to the release. (Source: Daybreak Power,PR, Website, 17Jan., 2020) Contact: Daybreak Power, Jim Day, CEO, 703-624-4971,jim@daybreakpower.com, www.daybreakpower.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Pumped Hydro,  Daybreak Power,  Battery,  Energy Storage,  


    Wheeler Disappoints Corn Growers, RFS Advocates (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Volume Obligations
    Date: 2019-12-30
    The High Plains Journal is reporting corn growers and renewable fuel standard (RFS) advocates were more then a little disappointed by the recent EPA Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) rule as signed on Dec. 19 by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

    "I'm disappointed the EPA chose to ignore the concerns voiced by renewable fuels producers, farmers and consumers. The flawed formula used to account for waived gallons creates unnecessary uncertainty in our markets, detrimental to so many across rural America. We must continue to work together to hold the EPA accountable for ensuring the 15 billion gallons mandated by the RFS are met. We must also continue to invest in infrastructure that builds demand and increases the availability of higher blends of biodiesel and ethanol across the state of Iowa."-- Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

    The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship administers the Iowa Renewable Fuel Infrastructure program, which offers cost-share grants to help fuel retailers install infrastructure to increase the availability of ethanol and biodiesel. To date, the program has distributed or obligated over $33 million with $200 million added in private economic activity. (Source: Iowa Department of Agriculture, High Plains Journal, 29 Dec. 2019) Contact: Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Mike Naig, Sec., 515-281-5321, www.iowaagriculture.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ANdrew Wheeler,  Renewable Volume Obligations,  RVO,   RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  Ethanol.Ethanol Blend,  EIA,  


    IFB Comments on RFS 2020 Ruling (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Illinois Farm Bureau
    Date: 2019-12-23
    "Illinois farmers expected more than what EPA managed to deliver in its final supplemental rule. More than 1,600 Farm Bureau members told the agency in person and in writing that maintaining the integrity of the RFS only occurs by replacing each and every gallon in the annual Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) that is waived for the benefit of small oil refiners. The EPA seems to be missing a real opportunity to rebuild trust with farmers and the biofuels industry.

    "IFB also urges USDA to move quickly on an infrastructure package to accommodate higher blend levels."

    The Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) represents 75 pct of the state's farmers with membership of more than 386,291 and a voting membership of 79,159. Illinois is the nation's third-largest producer of ethanol with roughly 75 pct of it corn production being converted into ethanol. (Source: Illinois Farm Bureau, 21 Dec., 2019) Contact: Illinois Farm Bureau , t Richard Guebert, Jr, Pres. www.ilfb.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Biofuel,  Ethanol Blend,  USDA,  US DOE,  Renewable Volume Obligation ,  


    Trump Breaks Promise With RVOs, says NFU (Ind. Report)
    RFS,EPA,National Farmers Union
    Date: 2019-12-23
    In Washington, the US EPA's just released final renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the year 2020 is already drawing flak.

    As outlined, RVOs will account for a portion of the 4 billion gallons of demand for biofuels eliminated over the past three years due to the rampant misappropriation of small refinery "financial hardship" sexemptions (SREs). Rather than determine relief using an actual three-year average of exempted gallons, the agency has instead used much lower values recommended by the DOE The former would have increased the amount of biofuels in the transportation sector by approximately 1.35 billion gpy, while the latter will increase it by just 770 million gpy.

    National Farmers Union (NFU), a strong proponent of biofuels and the RFS, reports it was disappointed with EPA's proposal when it was first released and urged the agency to account for all 4 billion gallons worth of demand in the final rule. In a statement, NFU Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew restated the organization's mounting frustration with the administration's destructive approach to biofuels policy.

    The NFU NFU represents more then 200,000 family farmers, fishers and ranchers across the country, with formally organized divisions in 33 states. (Source: National Farmers Union, Aberdeen News, 20 Dec., 2019) Contact: National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, Pres., (202) 554-1600, www.nfu.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  EPA,  National Farmers Union,  


    White House Confirms 2020 Biofuel RVO Plan (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-12-20
    Reuters is reporting the Trump administration plans to stick with its proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) biofuel blending requirements as proposed in October, despite the farming sector's complaint that the plan does too little for corn growers.

    Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) oil refiners are required to blend some 15 billion gpy of corn-based ethanol into their gasoline, but small facilities can be exempted if compliance would hurt them financially.

    The October proposal was intended to placate corn growers and compensate the biofuel industry for the administration's expanded use of refinery exemptions, but which the industry has largely panned as insufficient, according to Reuters. The EPA's October plan would raise the biofuels volumes that some refineries must blend in 2020 based on DOE recommendations for volumes that should be exempted.

    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. (Source: Reuters, Various Media, 19 Dec., 2019)

    For details see our Oct. 21 report as follows -- Proposed Volumes for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021. The Trump administration EPA has issued the attached supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional comment on the recently proposed rule to establish the cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

    The notice does not change the proposed volumes for 2020 and 2021. Instead, it proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way that annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated. Annual renewable fuel percentage standards are used to calculate the number of gallons each obligated party is required to blend into their fuel or to otherwise obtain renewable identification numbers (RINs) to demonstrate compliance.

    Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the BOE, including where DOE had recommended partial exemptions. The agency intends to grant partial exemptions in appropriate circumstances when adjudicating 2020 exemption petitions. The agency proposes to use this value to adjust the way it calculates renewable fuel percentages. The proposed adjustments would help ensure that the industry blends the final volumes of renewable fuel into the nation's fuel supply and that, in practice, the required volumes are not effectively reduced by future hardship exemptions for small refineries. Consistent with the statute, the supplemental notice seeks to balance the goal of the RFS of maximizing the use of renewables while following the law and sound process to provide relief to small refineries that demonstrate the need.

    Download the Renewable Fuel Standard Program -- Proposed Volumes for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021 HERE. Contact: EPA Renewable Fuel Standard, 800-385-6164, www.epa.gov/fuels-registration-reporting-and-compliance-help/forms/fuels-program-helpdesk

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


    Hydro-Quebec Decrbonization Effort Supports Clean Hydrogen (Ind Report)
    Hydro-Quebec
    Date: 2019-12-09
    Hydro-Quebec operates some 60 hydroelectric generating stations, making it one of the largest hydroelectricity producers in the world. Decarbonizing the economy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is one of the company's priorities.

    Hydro-Quebec's Strategic Plan 2020-2024 identifies various applications for clean hydrogen, including renewable natural gas (RNG), carbon-neutral synthetic hydrocarbon fuels, and others Overall, GHG emissions from Quebec hydropower (run-of-river generating stations and generating stations with reservoirs) are similar to those from wind, five times lower than those from photovoltaic solar, 50 times lower than those from natural gas-fired plants and 70 times lower than those from coal-fired plants. (Source: HydroQuebec, Green Car Congress, Dec., 2019) Contact: Hydro-Quebec, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, (514) 289-5005, www.hydroquebec.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Hydro-Quebec,  Hydrogen,  Clean Hydrogen,  RNG,  Wthanol,  


    Aussie TCorp Acquires Canadian H2O Power (Int'l. M&A)
    TCorp, H2O Power
    Date: 2019-12-09
    In the Land Down Under, New South Wales Treasury Corporation (TCorp)reports it has teamed up with Oshawa, Ontario-based H2O Power and its Canadian Pension Fund owner PSP Investments, in a deal that will see the investment arm of the NSW government own a 49 per stake in eight hydroelectric generation assets based in Ontario, Canada.

    H2O Power, the third largest provider of hydroelectric power in Ontario, is a wholly owned private asset within PSP Investments which has never publicly disclosed the power company's value. There are no plans for changes in reservoir management or operations, according to the statement. (Source: TCorp, Investment Mag., Dec., 2019) Contact: TCorp , Stewart Brentnall, CIO, www.tcorp.nsw.gov.au; H2O Power,905.438.8539. 905.438.8226 - fac., www.h20power.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News H2O Power,  Hydroelectric,  ,  


    Saudi Aramco Joins WB Zero Routine Flaring Initiative (Int'l.)
    Saudi Aramco
    Date: 2019-11-08
    Saudi Aramco reports it is joining Zero Routine Flaring by 2030, a World Bank climate collaboration initiative aimed at minimizing carbon emissions and addressing climate change.

    According to the release, as a result of Saudi Aramco's reservoir management best practices, flaring minimization and energy efficiency programs, the Company's 2018 upstream carbon intensity figure is among the lowest globally at 10.2 kilograms of CO2 equivalent per barrel of oil equivalent.

    Launched in April 2015, the Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 Initiative brings together more than 80 governments, oil and gas companies, and development institutions from around the world to eliminate routine flaring by 2030. (Source: Saudi Aramco, PR, Asharq AliAwsat, 6 Nov., 2019) Contact: Saudi Aramco, Ahmad A. Al-Saadi, Senior VP, Technical Services, Amin H. Nasser, Acting Pres., CEO, +966 13 872 0115, webmaster2@aramco.com, www.saudiaramco.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Saudi Aramco ,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  World Bank,  


    Rutgers Awarded $1.3Mn for Offshore Wind Turbine Research (Funding)
    Rutgers University
    Date: 2019-10-11
    In the Garden State, New Brunswick-based Rutgers University reports Professor Onur Bilgen, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was recently awarded a U.S. DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), $1,356,872 grant for wind turbine research.

    The ARPA-E's Aerodynamic Turbines Lighter and Afloat with Nautical Technologies and Integrated Servo-control (ATLANTIS) program focuses on three areas critical to the successful development of radically new floating offshore wind turbines (FOWT) -- new designs, new computer tools, and experiments that collect data to validate the FOWT designs and computer tools.

    Bilgen and his team plans to use their software to design a FOWT that generates more electricity while using fewer materials to manufacture and reducing turbine maintenance and operational costs. (Source: Rutgers University, PR, 10 Oct., 2019) Contact: Rutgers University, Professor Onur Bilgen, 848-445-5869, o.bilgen@rutgers.edu, www.mae.rutgers.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Offshore Wind,  Floating Wind,  Rutgers,  


    EPA, USDA Agree to 15Bn Gal. Ethanol Blend Minimum (Ind. Report)
    US EPA, USDA, Renewable Duel Standard
    Date: 2019-10-07
    On Friday in Washington, the Trump administration U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a long awaited agreement on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and will now request public comment on expanding biofuel requirements beginning in 2020.

    The agreement will ensure the blending of 15 billion gallons of ethanol with fuel supplies starting in 2020 and will also ensure the biomass-based diesel volume is met. EPA will also start the process for streamlining labeling and removal of other barriers for the sale of E15 fuel.

    Among other changes, the EPA will begin to account for projected numbers of gallons exempted when coming up with Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) for refiners, which means greater certainty for farmers and producers. It will ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol are blended into the nation's fuel supply starting in 2020. Additionally, the USDA will invest in infrastructure projects to facilitate higher blends of biofuel, such as E85. (Source: US EPA, McDonough County Voice, Various Other Media, 4 Oct., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Biofuel,  Ethanol Blend,  USDA,  US DOE,  


    Convergent Taps GE for Cal. Energy Storage Project (Ind. Report)
    GE Renewable Energy,Comvergent Energy
    Date: 2019-10-02
    GE Renewable Energy reports is has been tapped by Convergent Energy + Power (Convergent) to supply battery energy storage systems for three California projects totaling 100MWh.The deal includes a long-term service agreement and augmentation guarantees.

    GE's Reservoir platform is a flexible, compact energy storage solution that combines GE's advanced technologies and expertise in plant controls, power electronics, battery management systems and electrical balance of plant -- all backed by GE's performance guarantees.

    With this California project, GE's largest in the U.S. to date, the company will reach a total of 495MWh in operations or construction in the battery energy storage space. (Source: GE Renewable Energy, PR, 25 Sept., 2019) Contact: GE Renewable Energy, www.ge.com/renewableenergy, www.linkedin.com/company/gerenewableenergy, www.twitter.com/GErenewables; Comvergent Energy & Power, Frank Genova, COO, CFO, www.convergentep.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News GE Renewable Energy,  Convergent,  Energy Storage,  Battery,  


    Neste Introduces IMO 2020 Compliant Maritime Fuel (Int'l Report)
    Neste
    Date: 2019-08-16
    Helsinki-headquartered Neste, the world's largest producer of renewable diesel fuel reports it will introduce Neste Marine 0.5 , a new fuel before the year end.

    The new fuel will help maritime shippers comply with the International Maritime Organization's 2020 sulfur cap of 0.5 pct to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, effective 1 Jan, 2020. Neste Marine 0.5, which is manufactured at the company's refinery in Porvoo, Finland, will be available at yet to be announced locations in Northwest Europe.

    In other Neste news, the company announced it is partnering with Valdosta, Georgia-based McCall Companies to distribute its branded Neste MY Renewable Diesel in Oregon, which implemented clean fuels standards in 2016. (Source: Neste, Biodiesel Mag., 15 Aug., 2019) Contact: Neste, +358 10 458 4128, www.neste.com; McCall Companies CEO Kevin Jones, CEO, 229.242.2551, Fax - 229.244.8358, mail@mccallinc.com, www.mccallinc.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Neste,  Maritime Fuel,  Marine Fuel,  IMO ,  


    Ameresco Advocates for Renewable Natural Gas (Ind. Report)
    Ameresco
    Date: 2019-08-02
    In testimony at recent EPA hearings on 2020 Renewable Fuel Volume Standards and Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), Framingham, Mass.-based RBG developer and renewables and energy efficiency specialist Ameresco, Inc. Senior Project Manager Jeff Stander noted -- "We strongly encourage the EPA to set the 2020 cellulosic biofuel RVO to account for at least 650 million gallons of RNG."

    Stander led the 2018 development of Ameresco's RNG production facility at the Woodland Meadows Landfill in Canton, Michigan and was one of several industry experts representing the RNG Coalition at the EPA public hearing on July 31 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, for the EPA's proposed Renewable Fuel Standards for 2020, according to the release.

    Ameresco has developed 39 beneficial use projects involving biogas at wastewater treatment plants and landfills, including three RNG facilities in Arizona, Michigan and Texas that participate in the RFS program. The RNG facilities generate D3 Cellulosic Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) and provide transportation fuel that is injected into the natural gas pipeline grid.

    Since 2014, the EPA has recognized the use of RNG to meet fuel volume standards under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). RNG makes up more than 95 pct of the renewable fuel used to meet the RFS cellulosic biofuel requirement, according to the Ameresco release. (Source: Ameresco, PR, 31 July, 2019) Contact: Ameresco, Jeff Stander, Senior Project Developer, (508) 661-2288, www.ameresco.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ameresco,  RNG,  RFS,  


    UK Exploring Funding Options to Drive Renewables, CCUS (Int'l)
    Low-Carbon Energy, UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
    Date: 2019-07-29
    In London, the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is touting renewable and nuclear energy fund proposals it says are critically important in reaching net-zero emissions. The proposals explore the use of the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) finance approach to attract significant private investment in major infrastructure projects like the Thames Tideway Tunnel which used the RAB model to reduce the cost of financing and risk for developers while limiting the long term impact on consumer energy costs.

    The RAB funding model could also be used to reduce the costs of carbon dioxide storage. A funding model similar to the Contracts for Difference scheme, which provides developers with a set price for low-carbon electricity will be explored alongside other options to deliver investment in Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) power projects while cutting emissions. The government aims to roll out the technology at scale by the 2030s, subject to costs coming down, as part of its commitment to become a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.

    To that end, the government has committed £170 million towards deploying technologies like carbon capture and hydrogen networks in industrial clusters to support establishment of the world's first net-zero industrial cluster by 2040. Additionally, industry will consider investing up to £261 million in new technologies to reduce emissions. Plans have also been announced to make it easier to recycle oil and gas infrastructure for use in CCUS projects, including using some of the 20,000 km of pipelines and depleted oil and gas reservoirs to transport and store CO2. Great Britain is aiming to completely phase out coal by 2025. (Source: UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) , PR, 23 July, 2019) Contact: BEIS, +44 0 20 7215 5000, enquiries@beis.gov.uk, www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-energy-and-industrial-strategy

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CCUS,  CCS,  CO2,  Carbon Dioxide,  Net-Zero Emissions,  BEIS,  


    EPA Releases 2020 RVOs Proposal (Ind. Report, Reg & Leg)
    EPA, RVO
    Date: 2019-07-24
    The US EPA's recently proposed 2020 and 2012 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) require 91 billion litres of renewable fuels to be blended into the US fuel supply in 2020, up from 90.5bn litres in 2019 -- 23 billion litres of advanced biofuels, 11 billion litres of biomass-based diesel - which was set last year and is the same for 2021, and 2.4 billion litres of cellulosic biofuel -- up 545 million litres from the 2019 figure.

    The proposed RVO would require biofuels to make up 10.92 pct of US transportation fuel, including 2.75 pct advanced biofuels, 1.99 pct biomass-based diesel and 0.29 pct cellulosic biofuel.

    The rule making also proposed amendments to the RFS regulations including: clarification of diesel RVO calculations; pathway petition conditions; a biodiesel esterification pathway; distillers corn oil and distillers oil pathways; renewable fuel exporter provisions allowing the production of biomass-based diesel from separated food waste; flexibilities for renewable fuel blending for military use; heating oil used for cooling; RFS facility ownership changes; additional registration deactivation justifications; a new Renewable Identification Number (RIN) retirement; a new pathway for co-processing biomass with petroleum to produce cellulosic diesel, jet fuel and heating oil; public access to information; and other revisions. The amendments came as part of the as yet finalized Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support rule. (Source: EPA, Oils & Fats Int'l., 22 July, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard,  RVO,  Biofuel Blend,  


    Backlash on Proposed RFS RVOs (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-07-24
    "By neglecting to prospectively reallocate small refinery exemptions and blatantly ignoring a court order to restore improperly waived gallons, the EPA's proposed 2020 RVOs completely betray President [Donald] Trump's commitment to uphold the integrity of the RFS.

    "EPA's stubborn refusal to obey a court order to restore lost demand is yet another kick in the teeth to U.S. renewable fuel producers and farmers already facing the worst market conditions in a generation. EPA's suggestion that following the court's directive would place an 'additional burden' on obligated parties is an insult and an affront to the farmers and ethanol producers who trusted this administration would follow the law." -- Renewable Fuel Association (RFA), Geoff Cooper, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    "We are frustrated the EPA did not account for potential waived gallons going forward in the proposed rule. If the EPA continues to grant retroactive waivers, the RVO numbers are meaningless and the EPA is not following the law. Farmers are facing a very tough economic environment and the continued waiver abuse chips away at farmers' bottom line." -- Lynn Chrisp, Pres., National Corn Growers Association, (202) 326-0644, www.ncga.com (Source: RFA, NCGA, Various Media, EHS, 23 July, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFA,  RVO,  RFS,  NCGA,  "Hardship Waiver",  


    EPA's RFS Obligations Another Setback for American Farmers, says NFU (Ind. Report)
    NFU,EPA,RFS
    Date: 2019-07-19
    The US EPA's recently proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the year 2020 would set required biofuel use at 20.04 billion gallons next year, a marginal increase over this year's 19.92 billion gallons. The difference is primarily attributable to an expansion of cellulosic biofuel, from 420 million to 540 million gallons. The rule maintains the current 15-million-gallon target for corn ethanol, according to a NFU release.

    In the face of the EPA's proposal, the National Farmers Union (NFU) has expressed its disappointment in the almost unlimited issuance of RFS refinery "hardship waivers", the newly released RVO's and the that the agency's failure not only to factor the lost demand into its proposed RVOs but to increase biofuel use at all. "At every turn, EPA and this (Trump) administration have undermined the intent of RFS and destroyed demand for billions of gallons of ethanol", NFU President Roger Johnson added. (Source: The Cattle Site, National Farmers Union, PR, July, 2019) Contact: National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, Pres., (202) 554-1600, www.nfu.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS news,  NFU news,  National Farmers Union news,  "Hardship Waiver" news,  


    Vattenfall Scores Dutch Offshore Wind Tender (Int'l Report)
    Netherlands Enterprise Agency ,Vattenfall
    Date: 2019-07-12
    At The Hague, The Netherlands Enterprise Agency reports it has awarded Vattenfall a tender to construct and operate the Hollandse Kust 3 & 4 offshore wind farms in the Dutch North Sea.

    Hollandse Kust 3 & 4 are 350 MW each and will start operating in 2023. They are the latest in a series of 700 MW annual offshore wind power auctions in the Netherlands. (Source: Netherlands Enterprise Agency, PR, reve, 11 July, 2019) Contact: Netherlands Enterprise Agency, +31 70 379 80 00, www.english.rvo.nl; Vattenfall, Magnus Hall, CEO, Pres, +46 8 739 5000, www.corporate.vattenfall.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Vattenfall,  Offshore Wind,  


    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 ,  


    Are EPA's Proposed RFS 'Obligations' Actually Just Suggestions?" asks RFA (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    RFA, RFS
    Date: 2019-07-08
    By neglecting to prospectively reallocate small refinery exemptions and blatantly ignoring a court order to restore improperly waived gallons, the U.S. EPA's proposed 2020 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) completely betrays President Trump's commitment to uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

    "As long as EPA continues to dole out compliance exemptions to oil refiners without reallocating the lost volume, the agency may as well start referring to the annual RFS levels as 'renewable volume suggestions' rather than renewable volume 'obligations'. It is a complete misnomer to call these blending volumes 'obligations' when EPA's small refinery bailouts have essentially transformed the RFS into a voluntary program for nearly one-third of the nation's oil refineries.

    "In its announcement today, EPA has proposed a total renewable fuel volume of 20.04 billion gallons, of which 5.04 billion gallons are advanced biofuel, including 540 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel. That leaves, on paper, a 15-billion-gallon requirement for conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol, unchanged from 2019.

    "Most notably, EPA failed to prospectively account for any expected small refinery exemptions in the 2020 proposal, even though it is almost a foregone conclusion at this point that the Agency will continue to grant more exemptions.

    "Congress gave EPA the direction and tools necessary to ensure that the statutory RFS volumes are enforced, and that includes prospectively reallocating exempted volumes to non-exempt parties. Instead, EPA has chosen to continue its demand destruction campaign that has been crippling to both ethanol producers and the farmers who supply our industry. Enough is enough.

    "EPA approved 54 exemptions for 2016 and 2017 and an additional 38 requests for 2018 exemptions are pending. Not a single exemption request has been denied by EPA since 2015. The exemptions effectively lowered the total RFS requirement for 2017 by 1.82 billion gallons and cut the 2016 requirement by nearly 800 million gallons.

    "Making matters worse, EPA's proposal continues to flout the D.C. Circuit Court's 2017 order requiring the Agency to restore 500 million gallons of renewable fuel obligations that it inappropriately and illegally waived from the 2016 RVO. Unbelievably, the Agency is proposing to snub the court's ruling by refusing to restore the 500 million gallons remanded volume. EPA's stubborn refusal to obey a court order to restore lost demand is yet another kick in the teeth to U.S. renewable fuel producers and farmers already facing the worst market conditions in a generation. EPA's suggestion that following the court's directive would place an 'additional burden' on obligated parties is an insult and an affront to the farmers and ethanol producers who trusted this administration would follow the law. The RFS wasn't intended to make oil refiners comfortable; it was intended to change the status quo by guaranteeing renewable fuels would have access to a marketplace otherwise closed to competition.

    "EPA appears to be selling out to oil refiners -- again -- at the expense of rural America. The court found in favor of renewable fuel producers in 2017 because it was clear our industry had been harmed by EPA's illegal use of a general waiver -- now EPA is doubling down on that harm to the ethanol industry and farmers.

    "Today's proposal undermines the pledge President Trump made to farmers and renewable fuel producers that his administration would enforce the statutory RFS volumes. By failing to prospectively reallocate, failing to commit to a more judicious and restrained approach to refinery waivers, and failing to follow a court's order to restore lost demand, EPA is blatantly undercutting President Trump's commitment to ethanol, which he restated less than a month ago when he visited the Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy ethanol plant. We urge the President to resolve the disconnect between the oval office and EPA and get the RFS back on track." (Source: RFA, PR, 8 July, 2019) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFA,  RFS,  


    EPA's RFS Obligations Another Setback for American Farmers, says NFU (Ind. Report)
    RFS,EPA,National Farmers Union
    Date: 2019-07-08
    Last Friday, the EPA released its proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the year 2020. The proposal would set required biofuel use at 20.04 billion gallons next year, a marginal increase over this year's 19.92 billion gallons. The difference is primarily attributable to an expansion of cellulosic biofuel, from 420 million to 540 million gallons. The rule maintains the current 15-million-gallon target for corn ethanol.

    In the face of the EPA's proposal, the National Farmers Union (NFU) has expressed its disappointment in the almost unlimited issuance of RFS refinery "hardship waivers", the newly released RVO's and the that the agency's failure not only to factor the lost demand into its proposed RVOs but to increase biofuel use at all.

    "At every turn, EPA and this (Trump) administration have undermined the intent of RFS and destroyed demand for billions of gallons of ethanol", NFU President Roger Johnson added. (Source: The Cattle Site, National Farmers Union, PR, 8 July, 2019) Contact: National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, Pres., (202) 554-1600, www.nfu.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News "Hardship Waiver",  RFS,  National Farmers Union,  Biofuel,  Ethanol Blend,  


    BioMCN to Produce Renewable Methanol from CO2 (Int'l. Report)
    BioMCN
    Date: 2019-02-27
    Amsterdam-based Nouryon (fka AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals) and Gasunie New Energy are reporting an agreement to supply green hydrogen to BioMCN for the production of renewable methanol from CO2. the two companies are investigating the possible conversion of sustainable electricity into green hydrogen using a 20-MW water electrolysis unit in Delfzijl, the Netherlands.

    BioMCN will combine hydrogen from the intended facility with CO2 from other processes to produce renewable methanol, a raw material for bio-fuels and a variety of chemical feedstocks. Compared to fossil-based methanol this will reduce emissions by up to 27,000 tpy of CO2.

    According to Gasunie, "Gas infrastructure plays a connecting and facilitating role in the energy transition. We will be transporting different energy carriers, such as hydrogen and green gas, increasingly through our pipelines in the future. As independent network operator we can connect hydrogen from different suppliers for transportation to the major industrial clusters in the Netherlands. This network may have a capacity of 10 gigawatts or more by 2030." (Source: Nourvon, PR, Industry Europe, 26 Feb., 2019) Contact: Nouryon, Knut Schwalenberg , +31 88 969 78 09, www.nouryon.com; Gasuine, +31 50 521 1080, www.gasunie.nl/en; BioMCN, Soren Jacobsem Managing Dir., +31 (88) 664 7700, info@biomcn.eu, www.biomcn.eu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News AkzoNobel,  Methanol,  


    E.U. Supports French Floating Wind Demo Projects (Int'l Report)

    Date: 2019-02-27
    The European Commission (EC) reports it will provide investment and operating aid to four French floating wind demonstration projects: the Groix Belle Ile project will be located in the Atlantic Ocean, while the other three projects (Golf du Lion, Eolmed and Provence Grand Large) will be located in the Mediterranean Sea. Each will consist of three or four turbines and have a total installed capacity of 24MW.

    The demonstration wind farms will receive both .

    Earlier this year, the U.S. DOE announced up to $28 million in funding for a new floating offshore wind turbines via the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program, Aerodynamic Turbines, Lighter and Afloat, with Nautical Technologies and Integrated Servo-control (ATLANTIS).

    Navigant Research anticipates that over 69GW of new offshore wind capacity will be installed between 2018 and 2027, exceeding 100GW of operating capacity by 2030. (Source: EC, MarEx, 25 Feb., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Wind,  Floating Wind,  


    Growth Energy Suing Over RFS "Hardship" Waivers (Reg & Leg)
    Growth Energy
    Date: 2019-02-15
    Ethanol trade association Growth Energy, the ethanol trade association reports it has taken legal action challenging the US EPA's (EPA) "disingenuity" and "failure" to address small refinery "hardship" exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in its 2019 renewable volume obligation (RVO) rulemaking.

    According to Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor, the "EPA's inaction on addressing lost gallons due to small refinery exemptions in this rulemaking is a clear violation of law. In doing nothing to remedy these and other deficiencies, EPA has again failed to meet its statutory obligation to ensure that annual RVOs are met each year. Today's filing calls for greater accountability from EPA to ensure that every renewable fuel obligation is fulfilled as the law intended."

    As previously reported, "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. (Source: Growth Energy, Various Media, Biofuels Int'l, 13 Feb., 2019) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy,  RFS Hardship Waiver,  RFS,  EPA,  


    Netherlands Eyes Rotterdam PORTHOS CCUS Project (Int'l Report)
    GASUNIE
    Date: 2019-02-15
    In the Netherlands, the state gas transmission system operator GASUNIE reports it is joining the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the state-owned producer EBN to prepare a sub-sea carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) project under the name PORTHOS -- Port of Rotterdam CO2 Transport Hub & Offshore Storage.

    The PORTHOS project is being developed as an open access transport and storage infrastructure which can be used by multiple parties to store CO2. The project is presently seeking expressions of interest from potential users to determine The expression of interest process is part of the preparations for the project. A decision about the realization of the PORTHOS project is expected sometime in 2020.

    The concept is based on a collective pipeline that runs through Rotterdam's port area. This pipeline will serve as a basic infrastructure that a variety of industrial parties can connect to in order to dispose of the CO2 captured at their facilities. Most of the collected gas will be transported via a pipeline to an empty gas field in the North Sea where it will injected into an empty natural gas field under the seabed consisting of sandstone reservoir rock. By 2030, the project expects to sequester between 2 and 5 million tpy of CO2. (Source: Rotterdam CCUS Website, Nat. Gas World, 14 Feb., 2019) Contact: GASUNIE, www.gasunie.nl/en; Rotterdam CCUS, +31 6-22466553, info@rotterdamccus.nl, https://rotterdamccus.nl/en/the-project, https://rotterdamccus.nl/en/customers; Port of Rotterdam, https://www.portofrotterdam.com/en

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CCUS,  CCS,  CO2,  


    EPA Sued Over RFS "Hardship" Exemptions (Reg & Leg, Ind. Report)
    Growth Energy
    Date: 2019-02-06
    The NAFB is reporting Growth Energy has filed a petition in the Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals challenging theUS EPA's failure to address small refinery "hardship" exemptions in its 2019 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking, which was issued late in 2018. "The filing calls for greater accountability from EPA to ensure that every renewable fuel obligation is fulfilled as the law intended," according to Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.

    The EPA has a deadline of November 30th each year to issue their RVOs, which establish the required total volume of renewable fuel to be blended with transportation fuel for the upcoming calendar year. In July of 2018, the industry found out that in previous years, the EPA had been granting an unprecedented amount of small refinery exemptions to numerous refiners. The EPA made no apparent effort to publicly identify the refineries that received the exemptions. In the petition, Growth Energy is challenging the EPA's failure to reallocate the renewable volume obligations of exempt refiners, according to Growth Energy. (Source: NAFB, Growth Energy, 6 Feb., 2019) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, www.growthenergy.org

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


    DOE SETO Funds Univ. of Washington Solar Cell R&D (R&D, Funding)
    DOE SETO
    Date: 2019-01-18
    In Seattle, University of Washington (UW) researchers are reporting receipt of $2.3 million in funding from the U.S. DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). The funding is to support projects that will advance R&D in photovoltaic materials.

    The UW research teams are led by Scott Dunham, a professor of electrical and computer engineering; Hugh Hillhouse, a professor of chemical engineering; and Devin MacKenzie, an associate professor of both mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering. All are also researchers with the UW-based Clean Energy Institute, and MacKenzie serves as director of the institute's Washington Clean Energy Testbeds. Dunham and Hillhouse are also members of the UW Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute.

    Prof. Hugh Hillhouse's project was awarded $1.5 million to focus on understanding how the composition, structure, and environmental exposure of pervoskites can affect their stability and performance. Associate Prof Devin MacKenzie's project scored nearly $200,000 to focus on perovskite manufacturing using roll-to-roll processing techniques. Prof. Scott Dunham's project will investigate copper indium gallium selenide (CIGs) with $681,000 in grant funding. (Source: University of Washington News, DOE SETO, 16 Jan., 2019) Contact: University of Washington Clean Energy Institute, 206-221-9263, uwcei@uw.edu, www.cei.washington.edu; Washington Clean Energy Testbeds, 206-685-6833, wcet@uw.edu, www.wcet.washington.edu; Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute, University of Washington, www.washington.edu; US DOE SETO, www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-energy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Solar,  DOE SETO,  PV,  Photovoltaic,  


    NREL High on U.S. Floating Solar Potential (Ind. Report)
    NREL
    Date: 2019-01-07
    According to Floating PV: Assessing the Technical Potential of Photovoltaic Systems on Man-Made Water Bodies in the Continental U.S., a recent study from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), floating pv solar (FPV) projects across more than 24,000 man-made US reservoirs could generate approximately 10 pct of the nation's annual electricity production and, at the same time, reduce the land requirements for conventional ground mount PV power plants by at least 2.1 million hectares. (Source: NREL, PV Tech, Jan., 2018) Contact: NREL, Jordan Macknick, Research Team Leader, www.nrel.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NREL,  Solar,  Floating Solar,  


    Neste Expanding Renewable Diesel Production in Singapore (Int'l)
    Neste
    Date: 2018-12-14
    In Helsinki, Finnish biofuel producer and oil refiner Neste reports it will invest €1.4 billion to boost its biofuel production capacity in Singapore. The expansion will increase Neste's production capacity to 4.5 million tpy by 2022 from a current 2.7 million tonnes.

    Neste currently produces biofuels in Singapore, Rotterdam and Porvoo, Finland. The new production line is due to start in 2022. (Source: Neste, Various Media, Dec., 2018) Contact: Neste, Peter Vanacker, CEO, Kaisa Hietala, VP Renewable Products, +358 10 458 4128, www.neste.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Neste,  Biodiesel,  Biofuel,  Renewable Diesel,  


    Storelectric Raises £1Mn for Compressed Air Energy Storage (Int'l)
    Storelectric
    Date: 2018-12-14
    Lancashire, UK-based compressed air energy storage specialist Storelectric Ltd. is reporting receipt of £1 million in additional funding from green tech investors 350PPM alongside employees from a major US institution.

    According to the company's website, Storelectric's Compressed Air Energy Storage enables a surplus of wind or solar power to be stored underground where the surplus energy is used to store air in salt caverns, a type of underground reservoir. (Source: Storelectric, UKTN, 12 Dec., 2018) Contact: Storelectric Ltd., Jeff Draper, CFO and co-founder, +44 0 7919 536551, jdraper@storelectric.com, www.storelectric.com; 350PPM, https://350.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Storage,  Compressed Air Energy Storage,  ,  

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