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Trump Reportedly Denies Retroactive RFS Waivers (Ind. Report)
RFS
Date: 2020-09-11
Reuters is reporting U.S. Pres. Trump has instructed the EPA to deny dozens of oil refiner requests for retroactive "hardship waivers" under the Renewable Fuels Standard.

The president's could be seen as an effort to shore up his support in the Corn Belt states.

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.Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, the nation's oil refineries are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels such as ethanol into the fuel or buy credits from those that do. But the EPA can waive their obligations if they prove compliance would cause them financial distress. (Source: Chronicle Herald, 10 Sept., 2020)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  RFS,  Refinery Waivers,  Biofuel Blend,  


Ethanol Ind. Stabilization Quotes from Growth Energy CEO
Growth Energy
Date: 2020-08-28
"We have to make sure the (Trump) administration follows through on commitments that it has made. Last October, the administration made a series of commitments in terms of evaluating things like E15 labeling. An additional hurdle for us to have unfettered market access for higher blends is making sure the president has EPA follow through on its commitment to uphold a strong Renewable Fuel Standard.

"We want to be building stronger global markets with free trade. We want expansion of E15. As drivers are hitting the road again as we are recovering from Covid, there's more opportunity to get higher blends like E15. We, ultimately, want to focus on that road to recovery conversation because that's what our future is going to be all about.

"At this point, I think we may be okay. I think it will have different impacts in different areas regionally, and then certainly in the value chain. We're going to have to just wait and see. It's very disheartening to know what everybody has gone through." -- Emily Skor, Growth Energy, CEO , discussing ethanol industry stability.

More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  Growth Energy,  


NBB Launches RFS Support Ad Campaign (Ind. Report)
National Biodiesel Board
Date: 2020-08-26
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) reports the launch of a two-week radio advertising campaign in six states including Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota urging Pres. Trump to direct the EPA to reject the gap small refiner waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard.

NBB wants farmers to go to their website and complete a pre-written request to the President and EPA administrator to reject those gap small refiner waivers, 85 bof which have been issues over the past three years.

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: NBB, WNAX 26 Aug., 2020) Contact: NBB, Paul Winters, Pres., Kurt Kovarik, VP of Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.nbd.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News National Biodiesel Board,  NBB,  RFS Waivers ,  


Biden Camaign Supports Renewables (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)

Date: 2020-08-03
The 2020 US Democratic presidential presumptive candidate Joe Biden's campaign has released his climate change and clean energy position with the following the following specifics:

Wind and solar energy will be increased dramatically through the installation of 500 million solar panels and 60,000 made-in-America wind turbines.

Any clean energy infrastructure financed with federal support "through the tax code" should include robust wage and labor requirements.

Editor's Note: To ensure unbiased and equal coverage to all candidates , this publication will provide detailed coverage of the incumbent Republican Donald Trump's position on clean energy and climate change if and when his position paper is released.

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Energy,  


Biden Takes a Stand on Climate Change (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
Climate Change
Date: 2020-07-31
The 2020 US Democratic presidential presumptive candidate Joe Biden's campaign has released the following position on clean energy and climate change:

  • Democrats commit to eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035.

  • Wind and solar energy will be increased dramatically through the installation of 500 million solar panels and 60,000 made-in-America wind turbines.

  • Any clean energy infrastructure financed with federal support "through the tax code" should include robust wage and labor requirements.

  • Fossil fuel subsidies will be repealed.

  • California's primacy in Clean Air Act regulation of cars and trucks will be recognized and protected.

  • Oil and gas methane pollution will be reduced by the application of "robust" federal standards and targeted support for repairing and replacing aging distribution systems.

  • By 2030, all new buildings will achieve the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Within five years, the Democrats will "incentivize" tens of billions of dollars in private-sector investments to retrofit the energy efficiency of four million buildings.

  • The country's entire fleet of school buses will transition to zero-emission buses to reduce harmful air pollution within five years.

  • The US will rejoin the the Paris Climate Agreement. A new Executive Order should be issued on climate and environmental Justice. There will be a strong emphasis on building environmental justice governmental institutions and practices. An environmental justice fund will be created to make "historic investments" in low-income communities, and remediating Superfund and other contaminated sites will address other issues afflicting these communities. Democrats will employ screening and mapping tools to ensure racial and socio-economic equity in federal climate, energy and infrastructure programs.

  • Fossil fuel companies will be held accountable for cleaning up abandoned mine lands ,oil and gas wells and industrial facilities so they can be safely "repurposed," especially in the coal country.

  • Innovative technologies will be advanced that create cost-effective pathways for industries to decarbonize, including carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and "advanced nuclear" that eliminates risks associated with conventional nuclear technology.

  • America's natural carbon sinks on public lands will be increased by ensuring 30 percent of our lands and waters are conserved by 2030.

  • A new "climate test" will be applied to ensure that all major domestic and international infrastructure projects that require federal approval will avoid or minimize climate impacts, including impacts from export terminals.

  • The Federal Government should be reorganized by transforming the CEQ into a Council on Climate Change; establish a new office of Environmental Justice within the Department of Justice; create an Office of Climate Mobilization in the White House; establish a White House Council on frontline Environmental Justice where community and national leaders would inform the design and execution of climate change laws, policies and programs.

    Editor's Note: To ensure unbiased and equal coverage to all candidates , this publication will provide detailed coverage of the incumbent Republican Donald Trump's position on clean energy and climate change if and when his position paper is released.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Clean Energy,  


  • Energy Efficiency Included in Biden's Platform (Opinions & Asides)
    Energy Efficiency
    Date: 2020-07-31
    The 2020 US Democratic presumptive presidential candidate Joe Biden's position paper on clean energy and climate change includes the following energy efficiency measures:

    "By 2030, all new buildings will achieve the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Within five years, the Democrats will 'incentivize' tens of billions of dollars in private-sector investments for energy efficiency retrofits for four million buildings."

    Editor's Note -- To ensure unbiased and equal coverage to all candidates, this publication will provide detailed coverage of the incumbent Republican Donald Trump's position on clean energy,climate change and energy efficiency if and when his position paper is ever released.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency,  


    Climate Change Notable Quote from Former ExxonMobil CEO
    ExxonMobil
    Date: 2020-07-27
    "Whether or not anything we do will ultimately influence it (climate change) remains to be seen. One day we'll know the answer to that, but our ability to predict the answer to that is quite complicated." -- Rex Tillerson, Former ExxonMobil CEO, former Trump administration U.S. Sec. of State

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions news,  Climate Change news,  ExxonMobil news,  


    Notable Quote on Trump's $118Mn Carbon-Neutral Coal Commitment
    Clean Coal
    Date: 2020-07-24
    "Coal is one of our nation's most abundant natural resources and has been providing well-paying jobs and powering the US for decades. That's why, as the global energy mix evolves, we're investing in the next-generation of coal technologies that will lay the groundwork for clean, reliable 21st century coal-to-energy plants.

    "The Trump Administration sees a bright future for the new, next stage of coal."-- Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, July, 2020)

    Brouillette was commenting on the Trump Administration's $118 million Coal FIRST commitment to develop technologies to generate carbon-neutral electricity and hydrogen using coal.

    Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, Transformative) plants will incorporate carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies and be capable of flexible operations to meet the needs of the grid, use innovative components that improve efficiency and reduce emission and will be small compared to the current conventional utility-scale coal-fired plants. Contact: Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette www.energy.gov/contributors/dan-brouillette

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Coal,  Clean Coal,  


    Yet Another Letter to the President -- S.D. Congressman Calls for RFS Waivers Action (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    RFs
    Date: 2020-07-15
    In a recent letter to the EPA. South Dakota congressman Dusty Johnson (R) wrote: "President Trump has stood up for South Dakota's farmers, but the EPA is letting them down. For years, the EPA undermined the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by granting waivers to big oil, essentially cutting billions of gallons of biofuels demand and cutting off a vital market to corn farmers.

    "My House colleagues and I have written President Trump twice recently, asking him to protect the RFS. This message is clear -- the EPA must follow the law and stop reducing the amount of renewable fuel in our fuel supply. Our farmers need this market. South Dakota's biofuels industry can produce more than 1 billion gallons annually, adding more than $980 million to the economy -- but this only happens if there is reliable market access. The EPA can get this done.

    "The nation's eyes were on South Dakota during President Trump's visit to Mount Rushmore. I'll continue to deliver agriculture's request that the EPA support clear, homegrown biofuels. The president supports farmers -- and it's time the EPA does, too." -- South Dakota congressman Dusty Johnson (R).

    Editor's Note: 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: Rep. Dusty Johnson , Mitchell Republic, 12 July, 2020) Contact: Rep. Dusty Johnson , (202) 225-2801, www.dustyjohnson.house.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News US EPA,  Andrew Wheeler,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  RFS Waiver,  


    IBM Trumpets CO2 Emissions Reduction Success (Ind. Report)
    IBM,Climate Leadership Council
    Date: 2020-07-15
    IBM, a Founding Member of the Climate Leadership Council, reports it has reduced its operational CO2 emissions by 39.7 pct since 2005, well ahead of its goal of a 40 pct reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025. The company also notes 47 pct of the electricity it consumed in 2019 came from renewable sources, keeping the company on track to get 55 pct of its electricity from renewables by 2025. (Source: IBM Sustainability Report, July, 2020) Contact: IBM, www.ibm.com/us-en; Climate Leadership Council, Greg Bertelsen, www.clcouncil.org;

    More Low-Carbon Energy News IBM,  Carbon Emissions,  Renewable Energy,  Climate Leadership Council,  


    Legend Power Sys. Trumpets SmartGATE™ Installations (Ind. Report)
    Legend Power Systems
    Date: 2020-06-26
    Vancouver-based intelligent power management specialist Legend Power® Systems is reporting its 304th SmartGATE™ platform installation.

    The SmartGATE platform: decreases operating costs and improves operating income; increases uptime and lifetime of key systems and machinery; significantly contributes to corporate ESG measures and mandates; and improves tenant experience and occupancy, according to the company release.

    Collectively the installations have operated trouble-free for 2.044 million hours and saved 110.736 million kWh of energy for more than $17.7 million in energy costs savings for US and Canadian commercial buildings.

    SmartGATE Insights™ metering and analytics is available as a portable diagnostic service to scope building priorities before installation and continuing to supply detailed power analytics on an ongoing basis post-installation. Legend is also enhancing SmartGATE's overall capabilities with SmartGATE 2.0 for additional electrical savings, more detailed power quality data and improved ease of installation, the company notes. (Source: Legend Power Systems Inc., PR, 27 June, 2020) Contact: Legend Power Systems, Randy Buchamer, CEO, Steve Vanry, CFO, (6040 671-9533, svanry@legendpower.com, www.legendpower.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Legend Power Systems,  Energy Management,  Energy Efficiency ,  


    DOE Better Buildings Initiative Trumpets Success (Report Attached)
    DOE Better Buildings Initiative
    Date: 2020-06-12
    In Washington, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Initiative 2020 Progress Report, the program has saved participants nearly $11 billion, avoid 105 million tons of CO2 emissions and cut water use by 8.5 billion gallons over the last decade.

    The program includes 32 Fortune 100 companies, 12 pct of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint and 13 pct of the nation's commercial building space. The program challenges businesses, manufacturers, cities, states, universities and school districts to improve building energy efficiency by at least 20 pct over a decade.

    Download the full report HERE. (Source: US DOE, June, 2020) Contact: US DOE, Better Buildings Initiative, www.betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE Better Buildings Initiative,  Energy Efficiency,  


    RFA Urges Trump to Reject Refinery Waivers (Ind. Report)
    RFA
    Date: 2020-06-12
    "One year ago today, you visited Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy in Council Bluffs to join us in celebrating a monumental achievement. At your direction, EPA had just completed regulatory changes finally allowing year-round sales of gasoline containing 15 pct ethanol (E15).

    "This long-awaited move unlocked the door to future demand growth for ethanol and corn. It also meant consumers would have increased access to cleaner and more affordable fuel options at the pump.

    "Just as expected, the marketplace responded quickly. In the year since the red-tape barrier was removed, E15 sales are up 50pct.

    "But E15 growth would have been exponentially larger if not for your EPA continuing to excuse oil refiners from their legal obligations to blend renewable fuels. As we told you a year ago, EPA's refinery waivers have caused devastating demand losses for ethanol and corn, and they under mine the expansion of E15.

    "Even after a federal court overturned some refinery waivers in January, your EPA continues to receive dozens of exemption requests from oil companies. EPA is now even considering giving retroactive waivers for years that pre-date your administration.

    "This needs to stop. It is hurting farmers, costing consumers, and derailing progress on energy and environmental security.

    "The economic pain in farm country caused by these refinery waivers was compounded this spring—first by the Saudi-Russia oil price war, and then by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this 'perfect tsunami,' half of the ethanol industry was recently shut down, leading to layoffs across rural America. The ethanol industry and farmers are hurting like never before.

    Mr. President, we need your help. We ask that you stand up for the Renewable Fuel Standard. Please direct your EPA to abide by the January court ruling and end the abuse of the refinery waiver loophole.

    "You stood by us, farmers, and consumers when you directed EPA to allow year-round E15. Now, we humbly ask that you stand with us again and ensure ethanol demand is not eroded by illegal refinery waivers. Thank you,"

    Geoff Cooper, Pres. & CEO Renewable Fuels Associationwww.EthanolRFA.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS news,  Refinery Waivers news,  Biofuel Blend news,  RFA news,  


    States Challenging Trump's Clean Car Standard Rollback (Ind. Report)
    Clean Air Act
    Date: 2020-06-03
    In Sacramento, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a multistate coalition, has filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration's disastrous final rule rolling back the nation's Clean Car Standards requiring appropriate and feasible improvements in fuel economy and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and light trucks.

    The Trump Administration's "misguided" Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles (SAFE) rule stops Clean Car Standards progress in its tracks, despite the fact that the auto industry was currently on track to meet or exceed the Clean Car Standards, according to the release.

    The coalition will argue the Trump administration's rule unlawfully violates the Clean Air Act, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, and that the Trump Administration's rollback of the nation's Clean Cars Standards is unlawful because, among other things, the EPA and NHTSA's rollbacks violate the statutory text and congressional mandates they are bound by; and the EPA and NHTSA improperly and unlawfully relied on an analysis riddled with errors, omissions, and unfounded assumptions in an attempt to justify their desired result.

    In filing the lawsuit, Attorney General Becerra is joined by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. The California Air Resources Board, the Cities of Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Denver, and the Counties of San Francisco and Denver also joined the coalition in filing the lawsuit. (Source: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, PR, 27 May, 2020) Contact: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  Vehicle Enissions,  Mibile Emissions,  Clean Air Act,  


    "And now for something entirely different!" -- Pyongyang Recommends Charcoal Fueled Vehicles to Cut Emissions (Int'l.)
    North Korea
    Date: 2020-05-11
    In Pyongyang, in an effort to address the growing problem of vehicle emissions and air pollution, the President Donald Trump's new friend's Ministry of Land and Environment Protection has reportedly begun a wide-ranging crack down on "problematic diesel-fueled vehicles vehicles" and have implemented a ban on their importation and future operation with the exception of Cargo trucks weighing more than five tons which are considered "essential for the economy."

    The authorities also called on drivers to use alternative fuels, including the "active use of charcoal-powered vehicles." (Source: Daily NK, 7 May, 2020)

    Editor's Note: Daily NK is an online newspaper focusing on issues relating to North Korea. The site is based in South Korea where it reports stories allegedly obtained from inside North Korea via a network of informants. The service, which was established in April 2010 with staff in Washington DC, Seoul, and London, describes itself as "an unrivaled source of information analysis and news about North Korea."

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Alternative Fuel,  Diesel,  


    Trump Urged to Reject Waiver Requests (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    EPA,Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2020-05-11
    In the nation's capitol, a bipartisan group of 24 U.S. senators -- including Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Tina Smith(D-Minn) Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich) have written the following to the White House:

    "We are writing to urge you to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and immediately reject the requests for a waiver of the RFS under Section 211(o)(7) of the Clean Air Act recently received by the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) from five state governors.

    "Across our states, biofuels lower fuel prices, create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the new energy economy, many of which are in rural areas, provide an important market for farmers, cut our reliance on foreign oil, reduce emissions and harmful air pollutants, and provide critical inputs to our food supply.

    "Our nation is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the global health pandemic caused by COVID-19, with the impacts being felt across all of society. Waiving the RFS would cause further harm to the U.S.economy, especially our most vulnerable rural communities. It would also exacerbate the effects experienced by the biofuel sector as a result of COVID-19, causing far-reaching detrimental impacts on employment, farmers, food security, fuel prices, and the environment. The resiliency of America's renewable fuel industry has already suffered as a result of the EPA's drastic expansion of the small refinery waiver program in recent years.

    "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security identified the biofuels sector as an essential critical infrastructure workforce during the COVID-19 response. However, as motor fuel demand has plummeted, prices have slumped to record lows and producers are suffering heavy losses. At this point more than 70 ethanol facilities with an annual production capacity of 6.1 billion gallons have been fully idled, and approximately 70 more plants have reduced their operating rates by a combined amount of 1.9 billion gallons annualized. At least 46 pct of the ethanol industry's total production capacity is now idled, and eight biodiesel and renewable diesel facilities remain offline. Highly-skilled jobs across the country are being lost at an alarming rate.

    "Biofuel plant closures have ripple effects through the U.S. economy. Farm income is directly linked to the health of the renewable fuel industry. Plant shutdowns are causing commercial CO2 supply shortages and inhibiting the ability of meat packers and other food sectors to refrigerate, preserve,and supply food and beverages at current, affordable rates. Ethanol plants also produce low cost, high-protein animal feed (distillers grains). Supply shortages as a result of biofuel plant closures are impacting livestock feed procurement, rations, and prices. Biodiesel producers provide value to surplus and waste oils, fats and greases from food, feed and other biofuel production. Without the biodiesel industry, excess feedstocks will clog the supply chain, causing livestock producers to potentially raise prices for consumers. Removing biofuels from gasoline and diesel will also lead to an increase of greenhouse gas emissions, particulate matter, and toxics-causing degradation to our air quality.

    "Recent requests for a waiver of the RFS are unjustified and clearly do not satisfy the rigorous requirements necessary for EPA consideration. RFS waivers can only be granted by EPA if there is a demonstration of 'severe harm' to the economy or environment of a state, region or the United States that is directly caused by the RFS. None of these standards are met today and the following reasons clearly demonstrate the case for rejecting the waiver requests:

  • Challenging market conditions in the oil sector are the directresult of oversupply from international competitors combined with falling gasoline, diesel and jet fuel demand as a result of the COVID-19, not the RFS.

  • The RFS already accommodates demand reductions and provides flexibility to reflect the reality of motor fuel demand. EPA translates the annual RFS requirements into a percentage share of gasoline and diesel. Thus, the existing structure of the RFS regulations already results in an oil refiner's renewable volume obligations being proportionally reduced if overall motor fuel demand drops over the year

  • EPA has repeatedly found that RIN prices do not negatively impact refiners, a position reinforced by the 10th Circuit court in January 200. In addition, a record-large supply of RINs is available to refiners today, largely as a consequence of EPA's abusive expansion of the small refinery exemption program, so the threat of high RIN prices is currently non-existent.

    "We urge you to direct the EPA to reject all calls to waive the RFS. The RFS is more important now than ever as farmers, the biofuel sector, and rural America struggle to remain operational during the COVID-19 crisis." (Source: US Senate, 8 May, 2020)

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


  • Bankrupt Philly Refiner Offered Cap on RFS Obligation (Ind Report)
    Philadelphia Energy Solutions
    Date: 2020-05-11
    The Trump administration has offered to place a $10 million cap on bankrupt Philadelphia Energy Solutions' biofuel blending obligations, effectively cutting the refiner's regulatory liability by more than 70 pct and freeing more cash for the company's creditors. Under the deal PES will either surrender 161.8 million biofuel blending credits (RINs) valued at roughly $35 million or pay up to $10 million to meet its RFS obligations, according to Reuters.

    The Trump EPA previously waived $350 million in biofuels compliance costs for PES after its initial bankruptcy in 2018.

    As reported in Jan., Philadelphia-headquartered bioenergy developer SG Preston dropped its previously expressed interest in redeveloping the shut-down fire-damaged 335,000 bpd Philadelphia refinery, which is now being sold by creditors for $252 million and redeveloped under a bankruptcy court approved plan. (Source: Various Media,Reuters, May, 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Philadelphia Energy Solutions,  RFS,  Biofuel Blend,  RINs,  


    Former Ag.Sec. Vilsack Comments on Biofuels Ind. -- Notable Quote
    Tom Vilsack
    Date: 2020-05-01
    "It (biofuels industry) is in very, very serious shape."

    "It provides a stable market for crops, an affordable supply of feed supplements for livestock producers, it supports exports, provides jobs -- as many as 400,000 Americans at one time -- and gives consumers a less-expensive fuel option that is cleaner burning than fossil fuels." -- Tom Vilsack, former Iowa governor and U.S. agriculture secretary, commenting on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the biofuels industry and the Trump administration's understanding of the benefits of the ethanol industry.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Tom Vilsack,  Biofuel,  


    Trump Admin. Continues to Weaken Climate Change Laws Amid Pandemic (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Climate Change
    Date: 2020-04-27
    "Most American are probably unaware of how aggressively the Trump administration is rolling back environmental laws. Just recently, the administration implemented a far-reaching climate change rollback that dismantled an Obama-era clean air standard. Unfortunately, that rollback, as well as other rollbacks, have received little media attention -- and understandably so -- because most news outlets are preoccupied with Covid-19.

    "However, this pandemic does not provide decision makers with a license to haphazardly reverse decades of environmental progress and climate change laws. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening as the administration is seemingly using the pandemic as a 'red herring' to gut numerous laws. This misguided attempt to undermine climate change policy is particularly troublesome especially when considering that 64 pct of Americans believe climate change is a serious threat and/or a crisis.

    "Surfrider believes it is unconscionable to gut environmental laws while most Americans are deeply concerned about the global pandemic and will be less likely to engage in civics. Not only are these rollbacks underhanded, but they contribute more air and water pollution which will impact residents with health conditions, making them more susceptible to Covid-19. A new Harvard study found that air pollution can be significantly linked to higher rates of death in people with Covid-19.

    "It should be noted that some rollbacks were proposed prior to Covid-19, and are part of a broader pattern of environmental deregulation under the Trump administration. Yet, the most recent rollback is particularly troubling because it dramatically weakens vehicle emissions standards that were hard-fought over the past decade. Another attempt to undermined climate change efforts came when the administration proposed to revoke California's authority's to set higher air quality standards than the federal government. Of course, California promptly sued and the case is making its way through the courts.

    "The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a paramount environmental law that mandates climate change review, has also become another target. The Trump administration brazenly proposed a rule that climate change impacts should not be considered under NEPA. The proposal has met significant opposition in Congress where a Democrat and Republican co-authored a bipartisan sign on letter opposing the administration's plan. Moreover, the courts have a long history of requiring government agencies and businesses to weigh climate change impacts during decision-making and implementing large projects.

    "Then there are oil and gas production rollbacks. For years, the DoI has drastically weakened offshore drilling safety regulations. To add insult to injury, the administration launched a controversial plan to open up roughly 90 pct of U.S. waters to oil drilling, which Surfrider and our partners have helped stall. Most recently, the administration auctioned off 78 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil/gas producers despite cries to halt sales until after the pandemic.

    "Right now, our global community is experiencing two crises -- Covid-19 and climate change -- and we should be applying the same lessons to each crisis. While times have been challenging the past several weeks, there are positive lessons to embrace that relate to climate change:

  • Global society can work together to stave off 'worst case scenarios.' With sufficient leadership, we can take the necessary (albeit painful) collective steps to avoid catastrophe. A similar global response is needed to tackle climate change.

  • There is undeniable strength in science. At first, Covid-19 was framed as being no worse than the flu (some alluded it was a hoax). Once clear facts and science were embraced, the situation was taken more seriously.

  • A deeper appreciation for nature is emerging. Since people have been staying home, the great outdoors has never been so appealing.

  • The earth has appreciated the pause. Satellites images show air pollution over major worldwide cities has significantly dropped. In fact, in the northeast U.S. there was a 30 pct drop in pollution.

    Needless to say, it shouldn't take a global pandemic for us to make bold reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The threats posed by climate change have become abundantly clear and the solutions are right in front of us. Please join Surfrider in opposing environmental rollbacks and urging our government leaders to take bold action on climate change. (Source: Surfrider Foundation, Sefanie Sekich-Quinn, Blog, 23 April, 2020) Contact: Surfrider Foundation, Stefanie Sekich-Quinn, California Policy Manager, ssekich@surfrider.org, www.surfrider.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  


  • Biofuel Producers Left in the Lurch on $19Bn Aid Pkg (Ind. Report)
    USDA
    Date: 2020-04-22
    . "We don't have a fundamental way to help that (biofuel) sector," responded USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to the Trump administration's announced $19 billion aid package to farmers.

    Biofuels producers were not included in the aid package, although the sector consumes approximately 40 pct of America's total annual corn crop.

    In the 2018/2019 crop marketing year, (Sept. 1- Aug. 31) the U.S. grew more than 14.42 billion bushels (366 million metric tons) of corn. (Source: USDA, nexstar, 21 April, 2020)Contact: USDA, Sonny Perdue, Sec., www.usda.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel,  Sonny Perdue,  USDA,  Corn,  Corn Ethanol,  


    Turks Trumpet 2019 National Wind Power Capacity (Int'l. Report)
    Turkish Wind Energy Association
    Date: 2020-03-30
    According to the Turkish Wind Energy Association (TUREB), Turkey's total wind power capacity now stands at 8,056 MW, including 687 MW installed in 2019, and now generates sufficient electric power for roughly 8 million Turkish homes.

    According to TUREB, over 75 pct of the country's wind farms are located in the Aegean and Marmara regions and 12.3 pct are in the Mediterranean region. Turkey currently operates 198 wind energy power plants with an additional 25 wind farms under construction. Turkey's Energy and Natural Sources Ministry estimates the country's wind energy potential 48,000 MW. (Source: TUREB, PR, reve, 29 Mar., 2020) Contact: TUREB,+90 312 474 0274, info@tureb.com.tr, www.tureb.com.tr/en

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Wind,  Turkish Wind Energy Association,  


    Renewable Fuels Coalition Comments on Admin's Not Seeking SRE Ruling Re-hearing (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Americans for Clean Energy
    Date: 2020-03-27
    Further to our 20th Jan. coverage, a coalition of the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, American Coalition for Ethanol and National Farmers Union released the following statement:

    "We are pleased the Trump administration has decided not to side with oil refiners in seeking a re-hearing of this unambiguous and well-reasoned court decision in the Tenth Circuit. We trust this also means the administration does not plan to petition the Supreme Court for an appeal. Abiding by the court's ruling is the right thing to do at a time when our industries and rural America are already suffering from the effects of COVID-19, the Saudi-Russia oil price war and ongoing trade disputes.

    "We look to the RFS as a source of demand stability and certainty, especially in these troubling times. Requesting a re-hearing would have only prolonged uncertainty in the marketplace and exacerbated the pain and frustration already being experienced in the Heartland.

    "With this key milestone now behind us, we look forward to EPA applying the Tenth Circuit decision nationwide to all SRE (small refiner exemption) petitions, beginning with the 25 pending petitions for 2019 exemptions."

    The coalition also noted that fully restoring the integrity of the RFS means immediate action to restore 500 million gallons of inappropriately waived 2016 blending requirements, as ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. District in 2017. (Source: Various Media, The Fence Post, 25 Mar., 2020) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org; American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, (605) 334-3381 ext. 3389, www.ethanol.org; National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, Pres., (202) 554-1600, www.nfu.org; NCGA, (636) 733-9004, (636) 733-9005 -fax, corninfo@ncga.com, www.ncga.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Americans for Clean Energy,  RFS "Hardship" ,  Waivers,  Renewable Fuels Associatio,  National Farmers Union,  National Corn Growers Association,  American Coalition for Ethanol,  


    Renewable Fuels Coalition Urges EPA to NOT Appeal Court "Hardship" Waiver Decision (Ind. Report, Reg. & Leg.)
    American Coalition for Ethanol
    Date: 2020-03-20
    With the need for a decision only days away, the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, American Coalition for Ethanol and National Farmers Union -- the coalition that scored a unanimous court decision against the U.S. EPA -- is now calling for the agency to not appeal the decision.

    The coalition took the EPA to court and won over several "hardship" exemptions the EPA granted to small refineries, releasing them from their renewable fuel obligations in 2016 and 2017. The Trump Administration sought and secured an extension of the appeal deadline until Tuesday, March 24, this year.

    "With the renewable fuels industry reeling from coronavirus, trade disputes and small refinery exemptions, now is certainly not the time for the Trump administration to take any action that would cause further pain for ethanol producers or the farmers that supply them. The best thing they could do to support our industry and keep ethanol plants open is to announce immediately that they will not appeal," the coalition wrote.

    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.Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, the nation's oil refineries are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels such as ethanol into the fuel or buy credits from those that do. But the EPA can waive their obligations if they prove compliance would cause them financial distress. (Source: American Coalition for Ethanol , Various Trade Media, 18 March 2020) Contact: U.S. Grains Council, Tom Sleight, Pres., (202) 789-0789, (202) 898-0522, www.grains.org; Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org; American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, (605) 334-3381 ext. 3389, www.ethanol.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News American Coalition for Ethanol,  RFS,  "Hardship Wiver",  Renewable Fuel ,  


    DOE Energy Storage Grand Challenge Program Launched (Ind Report)
    Energy Storage Grand Challenge Program
    Date: 2020-03-13
    In Washington, the Trump administration DOE is touting the recently launched Energy Storage Grand Challenge Program aimed at accelerating the development of next-generation energy storage technology and creating and sustaining global leadership in energy storage utilization and exports by 2030. The Challenges goals are as follows:
  • Technology Development -- Establish ambitious, achievable performance goals, and a comprehensive R&D portfolio to achieve them;

  • Technology Transfer -- Accelerate the technology pipeline from research to system design to private sector adoption through rigorous system evaluation, performance validation, siting tools, and targeted collaborations;

  • Policy and Valuation -- Develop best-in-class models, data, and analysis to inform the most effective value proposition and use cases for storage technologies;

  • Manufacturing and Supply Chain --Design new technologies to strengthen U.S. manufacturing and recyclability, and to reduce dependence on foreign sources of critical materials; and
  • Workforce -- Train the next generation of American workers to meet the needs of the 21st century electric grid and energy storage value chain.

    Download DOE Energy Storage Grand Challenge program details HERE (Source: US DOE, Mar, 2020) Contact: Energy Storage Grand Challenge Program, www.energy.gov


  • DOE Ordered to Set Appliance Efficiency Standards (Ind. Report)
    DOE
    Date: 2020-03-13
    The Trump administration DOE has been ordered by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to impose energy efficiency, energy conservation standard upgrades for four set of appliances first proposed under the Obama Administration. Industrial air compressors, portable air conditioners, and uninterruptible power supplies or battery backup devices used to protect computers and other sensitive equipment are covered in the ruling.

    Under DOE's new rule, federal appliance energy efficiency upgrades must be "significant" -- defined under the rule as saving at least 0.3 quads of energy over 30 years or improving energy use by at least 10 pct above existing standards. (Source: US DOE, Heartland Institute, 12 Mar., 2020)

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


    Notable Quotes on Trump's Light Bulb Efficiency Debacle
    Light Bulb Energy Efficiency
    Date: 2020-02-28
    "The Trump Administration's obsession with dismantling common sense standards that save consumers money and help the environment is breathtaking. The only people who benefit from this dim-witted plan are those profiting from inefficient energy use." -- Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General, www.oag.ca.gov

    To refresh your memory, on Dec 11, 2019, we quotes "The Donald" as saying -- "It (standard light bulb) gives you an orange look, I don't want an orange look. Being a vain person, that's really important to me." -- Trump commenting on his administration's move to kill the Obama administration's light bulb energy efficiency standards.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency,  Light Bulb Efficiency,  Trump,  


    Penna. DEP Defends Gov. Wolf's RGGI Exec. Order (Ind. Report)
    RGGI, Pa DEP
    Date: 2020-02-28
    Following up on our 4 Oct., 2019 coverage, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell has defended Gov. Tom Wolf's (D) executive order directing the agency to develop rules for joining RGGI, a cap and trade regional program that charges power producers for the pollution they emit.

    McDonnell's comments came in response to concerns from the House Appropriations Committee over how the state's share of the RGGI programs quarterly auction program would be used by the state, relative to climate change issues rather than unrelated programs and projects.

    Sec. McDonnell assured the Appropriations Committee "improvements to public transportation, installing energy efficient windows, insulation, or appliances, or building out alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure" were among the projects the RGGI funds would be applied to.

    Governor Wolf's executive order follows the implementation of aggressive clean energy targets announced last year, including a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent by 2025. Pennsylvania also became the 24th state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance -- a group formed in 2017 after President Donald Trump withdrew the nation from the Paris Agreement.

    Critics of RGGI argue it will cripple Pennsylvania's economy, force fossil fuel plants into early retirement and drive up electricity prices. Critics note that Pennsylvania is the nation's number two natural gas producer and the region's top power exporter -- making it very different, economically, from the other RGGI participants. (Source: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, The Center Square, 26 Feb., 2020) Contact: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, www.dep.pa.gov; C RGGI, www.rggi.org

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


    US Renewable Fuel Prices Up With RFS "Hardship Waiver" Program Announcement (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuel
    Date: 2020-02-28
    Reuters is reporting U.S. renewable fuel prices were up by 25 pct the week following a Bloomberg reports that the Trump administration has decided to cut back on "hardship waiver" exemptions for oil refineries from the renewable fuel standard biofuel blending laws.

    Following the Bloomberg report, renewable fuel credits for 2019 traded at 35 cents each , up 7 cents while credits for 2020 traded at 40 cents each.

    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.Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, the nation's oil refineries are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels such as ethanol into the fuel or buy credits from those that do. But the EPA can waive their obligations if they prove compliance would cause them financial distress.

    (Source: Various Media, Successful Farming, Reuters, 26 Feb., 2020)

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


    "New USDA Mandate for Biofuels Should be Withdrawn" (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    USDA
    Date: 2020-02-24
    "When the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its 'innovation agenda' to align USDA's resources, programs, and research to help the agriculture industry meet the 'climate demands of the future' the first reaction at Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) is that this looks and sounds far too much like more taxpayers subsidies for programs that already exist. According to an April 30, 2018 Government Accountability Office report, the Office of Management and Budget found $13.2 billion in climate change funding across 19 agencies in 2017. The GAO reviewed six agencies and found that 94 pct of their reported climate change funding went to programs that touch on, but aren't dedicated to climate change, such as nuclear energy research. The government should determine whether those are effective and consolidate or terminate ones that are not before creating costly new mandates and programs.

    "The plan to reach 30 pct for biofuels in 2050 is especially troubling. The USDA's historic approach to 'market-driven blend rates' has been to aggressively pursue unachievable biofuel mandates that put manufacturing jobs at risk, result in more emissions and create a reliance on foreign fuels. Ethanol is cheaper than gasoline and does not need a mandate. If the USDA is truly interested in 'market driven' approaches, it should advocate eliminating the renewable fuel standard (RFS) so that renewable energy can economically compete on its own, rather than trying to promote mandates that drive quantities of ethanol-laced fuels that consumers may not want, while putting jobs at risk and raising costs at the pump. In fact, the blend rate is gradually increasing despite falling renewable identification numbers and small refinery exemptions. This shows that ethanol is economic on its own and that markets, not mandates, should determine our nation's fuel mix.

    "Calling for a 30 pct biofuels goal for 2050 is not something that should be coming out of the Trump administration. It sounds like an objective of the $93 trillion Green New Deal which President Trump and every free market and taxpayers group including CAGW has said is both unachievable and devastating to the economy. The USDA should withdraw its proposal and the RFS should be eliminated."(Source: The Waste Watcher - Against Government Waste , 21 Feb. 2020) Contact: The Waste Watcher -Against Government Waste www.cagw.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA,  Biofuel Blend,  RFS,  


    More Wind Farm Notable Quotes from "The Donald"
    Trump
    Date: 2020-02-24
    "And they're all over the place. You look at Palm Springs, California. Take a look. Palm Springs ... They're all over the place. They're closed, they're rotting, they look like hell."

    "You know if you shoot a bald eagle they put you in jail for a long time. But the windmills knock them down like crazy." -- Pres. Donald Trump, KESQ, Sacramento Bee, 21 Feb., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump.Wind,  Renewable Energy,  


    Trump USDA Announces 30 pct Biofuel Goal for 2050 (Ind. Report)
    USDA
    Date: 2020-02-21
    In Washington, as part of a new department-wide sustainability initiative the USDA is reported to have announced a goal for biofuels to make up 30 pct of U.S. transportation fuels by 2050.

    Under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) refineries are presently required to blend 20.09 billion gallons of biofuel in 2020 – roughly 10 pct of projected crude oil production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Source: KLO, Various Media, Reuters, 20 Feb., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA news,  RFS news,  Ethanol news,  Ethanol Blend news,  


    Trump 2021 Budget Ups BOEM Offshore Wind Support (Ind. Report)
    Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
    Date: 2020-02-14
    In its proposed 2012 budget, the Trump Administration is proposing $189 million for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), with $26.5 million earmarked for "advance offshore renewable energy development" compared with $21.3 in FY 2020.

    According to BOEM, the $189 million funds will be used to "continue to advance renewable energy" through its leasing programme. BOEM notes it "will continue to use environmental science as the foundation for sound policy decisions." (Source: BOEM, Various Media, renews, 11 Feb., 2020) Contact: BOEM, Connie Gillette, Public Affairs, Walter Cruickshank, Acting Dir., (202) 208-6474, www.boem.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Energy,  Offshore Wind,  Bureau of Ocean Energy Management,  Offshore Wind,  


    "Let Them Eat Cake" -- Better Yet, Plant 3Bn Trees (Reg. & Leg.)
    Climate Change
    Date: 2020-02-14
    In Washington, the Trump administration Republicans -- led by a president that proposes to cut down Alaska's Tongass National Forest and famously claimed "climate change is a hoax invented by China to gain a competitive edge" -- will reportedly soon introduce new energy, environmental and climate change legislation.

    The legislation will reportedly call for a tax credit for carbon capture utilization and sequestration (CCUS) technology R&D and -- here's the exciting part -- the planting of 3.3 billion trees per year over the next 30 years -- well beyond the widely accepted crucial 2050 date -- when the fight to contain climate change may well be lost.

    "The Donald" reportedly wholeheartedly backs the proposed legislation which includes no targets, dates or quantities for reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. (Source: Various Public Media, Feb., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Trump Climate Change,  


    Green Plains Adding Corn-Based Livestock Feed (Ind. Report)
    Green Plains Inc
    Date: 2020-02-12
    Omaha-headquartered ethanol producer Green Plains Inc. reports it will invest $400 million over the next two years to refocus its business on the production of corn-based, high protein animal feeds at its various production facilities. With this refocusing, ethanol will become a low-margin byproduct for the company.

    According to Reuters, the company's new game plan is in response to an uncertain ethanol market outlook, the Trump administration's continued issuance of RFS ethanol blending "hardship waivers" and an almost 20 pct drop in revenues from ethanol sales in 2019.

    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 waiver request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Green Plains, Successful Farming, Feb., 2020)Contact: Green Plains, Jim Stark, VP-IR, (402) 884-8700, www.gpreinc.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Green Plains Inc.,  DDGs,  Ethanol,  RFS,  


    Climate Change Notable Quote from Former ExxonMobil CEO
    ExxonMobil
    Date: 2020-02-05
    "Whether or not anything we do will ultimately influence it (climate change) remains to be seen. One day we'll know the answer to that, but our ability to predict the answer to that is quite complicated." -- Rex Tillerson, Former ExxonMobil CEO, former Trump administration U.S. Sec. of State

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Chnage,  Rex Tillerson,  


    DOE Finalizes Rule for Appliance Efficiency Standards (Ind. Report)
    DOE
    Date: 2020-01-29
    "There are a number of problematic Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency standards for home appliances. Perhaps worst of all is the one resulting in dishwashers taking hours to do the job. Fortunately, CEI's petition to modify the regulations to allow dishwashers that can finish a load in an hour or less is making headway at the agency, and it doesn't hurt that President Trump has expressed strong support for the effort. But even better than fixing bad regulations is preventing them from happening in the first place, and DOE's recent process rule, applicable to all future appliance rule-makings, contains a number of useful measures.

    "Most importantly, the agency will henceforth forbid standards that fail to deliver significant energy savings. Efficiency standards typically raise the upfront cost of the appliance, but presumably pay the consumer back in the form of lower energy bills -- unless the energy savings are too trivial.

    "The process rule contains a new bright-line requirement that a new or amended standard must save an estimated 0.3 quadrillion BTUs over 30 years (or improve current efficiency by at least 10 percent). According to the agency, if this threshold had already been in place, 40 pct of the appliance rules would have never been enacted. These 40 pct are so useless that, in aggregate, they account for a mere 4 pct of the program's estimated energy savings. Thus, this provision would eliminate those standards most likely to impose more pain than gain for consumers.

    "Other provisions in the process rule allow for a more open and interactive regulatory process, rather than one that limits the manufacturers' input while the rule is being fashioned by the agency. The process rule is also judicially enforceable." (Source: US DOE, Competitive Enterprise Institute - Blog, 29 Jan., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency,  Appliance Energy Efficiency Standards,  


    DOE Changes Update Efficiency Standards Process (Ind. Report)
    US DOE
    Date: 2020-01-24
    The Trump administration DOE's recently announced changes to the Process Rule reverse benefits achieved owing to the adoption of previous and current climate-friendly energy efficiency regulations are being widely questioned.

    The changes add new and lengthy steps to the procedure used in updating existing or developing new energy efficiency standards include:

  • A minimum savings threshold that will make new standards for many products illegal, even if the standards have zero cost.

  • Increased deference to industry developed test procedures, which may emphasize reducing manufacturer costs rather than efficiency ratings that give consumers accurate information.

  • Increased deference to standards established by ASHRAE for commercial products, a professional society in which manufacturers have a strong voice, rather than those developed by DOE.

  • A pre-rulemaking process that can lead to a decision to not conduct a rulemaking.

  • The requirement that DOE re-start the standards rulemaking process whenever more products are included within the scope of regulation, once again forcing a choice between including products that logically should be part of a rule, or more delay.

  • A mandate that makes the process rule legally binding in all instances, which will create endless litigation further tying up future standards.

    The previous Process Rule, which was climate-friendly, would help in reducing carbon emissions and saved the average US household $500 per year. The Trump administration claims the revealed Process Rule will save consumers about $2 trillion by 2030.

    According to ACEEE Exec. Dir. Steven Nadel, "These attacks defy the common-sense, bipartisan support that energy efficiency has long enjoyed. They will cost consumers and businesses money, create market uncertainty for businesses due to likely legal challenges, add to harmful pollution, and undermine efforts to address the climate crisis." (Source: ACEEE, Various Media, Smart Energy Int'l., 23 Jan., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency,  


  • Calif. Trumps the Fed's Light Bulb Efficiency Standard (Ind. Report)
    American Lighting Association
    Date: 2020-01-17
    The National Electrical Manufacturers Association and the American Lighting Association are reported to have has dropped the lighting industry's challenge to California's new efficiency standards for lightbulbs. The California standards, which exceed federal standards took effect this month while the Trump administration was rolling back similar requirements nationwide.

    The California Court ruled in favour of the California regulations on the grounds that federal law appeared to allow the state to set stricter standards, and that Congress had recognized the state's "history of leadership in energy".

    The new California rules require most types of newly sold light bulbs to emit at least 45 lumens of light for each watt of electricity they burn -- effectively banning the sale of standard incandescent and halogen bulbs, which produce roughly 15 to 20 lumens per watt.

    As an aside, when commenting on his administration's effort to roll-back existing federal lighting efficiency standards, Trump noted in his typically colorful and disjointed language: "The light bulb. People said what's with the light bulb. I said here's the story, and I looked at it. The bulb that we're being forced to use. Number one, to me, most importantly, the light's no good. I always look orange. And so do you. The light is the worst."

    Commenting on the President's dodgy logic, Alex Young of Consequences of Sound Radio noted: "So to recap, we're killing the environment to suffice the fragile ego of a man who made himself orange because he used a garbage tanning bed and now he can't handle being called a Cheeto."(Source: Various Media, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, American Lighting Association, SF Chronicle, Jan., 2020) Contact: National Electrical Manufacturers Association, www.nema.org; American Lighting Association, www.alalighting.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Lighting Energy Efficiency,  American Lighting Association,  


    "I Always Look Orange" -- Trump Talks Light Bulbs -- Notable Quote

    Date: 2020-01-17
    "The light bulb. People said what's with the light bulb. I said here's the story, and I looked at it. The bulb that we're being forced to use. Number one, to me, most importantly, the light's no good. I always look orange. And so do you. The light is the worst." -- Pres. Donald Trump.

    Commenting on the President's dodgy logic, Alex Young of Consequences of Sound Radio noted: "So to recap, we're killing the environment to suffice the fragile ego of a man who made himself orange because he used a garbage tanning bed and now he can't handle being called a Cheeto." (Source: Consequences of Sound Radio, 14 Sept., 2019)


    PSEG Trumpets Customer Energy Efficiency Savings (Ind. Report)
    PSEG Long Island
    Date: 2020-01-08
    PSEG Long Island is reporting its energy efficiency initiatives and energy efficiency improvements have saved its business and residential customers an estimated $280 million on their energy bills in the last six years. According to the utility, energy savings are the result of upgraded lighting, appliances, heating and cooling systems, and other energy-efficiency modifications that resulted in $265 million in rebates, in addition to the $280 million in estimated energy savings.

    The utility claims the effort saved 1.6 billion kilowatt hours of energy since Jan. 1, 2014, the equivalent of powering 191,530 homes for one year. Business customers saved money in the past six years by completing 20,000 energy efficiency projects, which earned them a collective $161 million in rebates and incentives, according to PSEG Long Island. The installed energy conservation measures are expected to save 633 million kWh in annual energy savings. (Source: PSEG, PR, Long Island Bus. News, 6 Jan., 2020) Contact: PSEG Long Island, , Michael Voltz, Director of Energy Efficiency and Renewables, www.psegliny.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News PSEG Long Island,  Energy Efficiency ,  


    The finalized rule incorporates the Wheeler plan

    Date: 2019-12-31
    that merely estimates future small refinery waivers based on DOE recommendations, according to Iowa Corn Growers Association. ICGA supports a simple, mathematical solution by averaging the past three years of actual waivers granted, then adding those gallons back into the RFS. ICGA’s supported resolution would have created market certainty, so as not to rely on the EPA or DOE Administrators for their annual decisions. “Apparently President Trump doesn’t care about his promise to Iowa’s farmers. He had the opportunity to tell his EPA to stick to the deal that was made on Oct. 4,” said ICGA President Jim Greif. “I can say for certain that ICGA pushed for a positive outcome, and we didn’t go down without a fight.” “The Environmental Protection Agency seems to be more concerned with politics than cleaner-burning, healthy air with renewable fuels. It was as simple as following the original Oct. 4 agreement with our elected officials and here we are with empty promises and no market certainty,” said Kelly Nieuwenhuis, ICGA member from Primghar and Chair of the Iowa Corn Industrial Usage and U.S. Production committee. During the comment period for the supplemental rule, ICGA sent out two calls to action with one directed at the EPA and the other at the President. Altogether the calls to action gathered over 1,000 farmer comments. Additionally, ICGA held a press conference along with other biofuels groups, worked with our entire delegation of public leaders, as well as attended roundtables, townhall meetings and EPA’s public hearing in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The final push was a meeting by ICGA with the director of the U.S. National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, at the White House earlier this week. (Source: High Plains Journal, 29 Dec. 2019)


    Ruling Awaited on Trump Lightbulb Efficiency Rollback (Ind. Report)
    Energy Efficiency
    Date: 2019-12-30
    Cronkite News at Arizona State University is reporting the Trump administration's plan to roll back Obama-era stricter regulations on energy-efficient lightbulbs may have put environmentalists and some utility companies on the same side of an issue. The Obama-ear new, tougher rules were set to take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

    In October, the Trump DOE announced it would not impose the new rules, framing the decision as one of choice for consumers who were already moving in the direction of energy-efficient bulbs on their own. The department doubled down Friday, with a notice in the Federal Register that it has determined tougher restrictions on general service incandescent lamps "would not be economically justified." When Trump signed the rollback in October, he criticized the rules for forcing consumers to buy a "much more expensive bulb that doesn't have a good-looking light."

    The Trump plan to roll back the tighter rules was challenged in court by 15 states -- NEW YORK, CALIFORNIA, COLORADO, CONNECTICUT, ILLINOIS, MARYLAND, MAINE, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, NEW JERSEY, NEVADA, OREGON, VERMONT, and WASHINGTON, the COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,and the CITY OF NEW YORK. The NRDC has joined multiple environmental groups in a separate lawsuit. To date, the courts have allowed the rollback to proceed. (Source: Cronkite News, Arizona State University, 27 Dec., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Lightbuld Efficiency,  


    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,  


    Disappointed COP25 Participant Quotes (Opinions and Asides)
    COP25
    Date: 2019-12-16
    "Never have I seen such a disconnect between what the science requires and what the climate negotiations are delivering in terms of meaningful action. Most of the world's biggest emitting countries are missing in action and resisting calls to raise their ambition." -- Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists, Director of Strategy and Policy

    "The US has not come here in good faith. They continue to block the world's efforts to help people whose lives have been turned upside down by climate change."

    "Developing countries came to this climate conference with the expectation that the people who have lost their crops to drought, or who have lost their homes to cyclones, will finally get help from the UN system. Instead, they have faced bullying, arm-twisting and blackmail. Rich countries most responsible for the crisis have refused to provide a single penny of new money to support communities to recover from the devastation caused by increasingly frequent and severe climate disasters." -- Harjeet Singh, ActionAid Climate Lead

    "Major players who needed to deliver in Madrid did not live up to expectations. But thanks to a progressive alliance of small island states, European, African and Latin American countries, we obtained the best possible outcome, against the will of big polluters." -- Laurence Tubiana, European Climate Foundation, CEO, France's Top Climate Negotiator and Architect of the Paris Agreement.

    "The only thing more disastrous than the state of UN climate negotiations at COP 25 is the state of the global climate. This is nothing less than a breakdown in the Paris Agreement. This is not climate leadership, this is a betrayal of humanity and future generations," -- Eric Holthaus, Meteorologist

    "What's happening today at COP 25 is a clear and present threat to civilization itself. The Trump administration and its fossil fuel allies around the world have sabotaged the Paris Agreement -- the only global treaty we have to fight climate change. This is a betrayal of humanity.

    "For so many people gripped by devastating floods, fires, and storms, time is up. And instead of helping them, rich countries hold on to your dollars and hold up loss and damage. Public mobilizations are swamping the streets. The status quo you are working so stubbornly to protect is not working for people or the planet." -- Catherine Abreu, Climate Action Network Canada

    (Source: COP25 Wrap-Up, Various Media, 15 Dec. 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News COP25,  Climate Change,  


    "Being a vain person, that's really important to me."-- Notable Quote from Pres. "The Donald" Trump
    Trump
    Date: 2019-12-11
    "It (standard light bulb) gives you an orange look, I don't want an orange look. Being a vain person, that's really important to me." -- Trump commenting on his administration's move to kill Obama administration's light bulb energy efficiency standards.

    The President was equally candid in his comments on new automobile quality, emissions and efficiency; "Frankly they don't work very well (because of standards which California put in place). Right now the cars are made out of papier-mache, and ours are actually, we allow steel content." -- the President stumbled.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  Light Bulb Efficiency,  


    Notable Quotes -- "The Donald" Rambles On -- Enough Trump Already!
    Trump
    Date: 2019-12-09
    "We have a situation where we're looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms where you turn the faucet on -- and in areas where there's tremendous amounts of water, where the water rushes out to sea because you could never handle it, and you don't get any water. You turn on the faucet and you don't get any water. They take a shower and water comes dripping out. Just dripping out, very quietly dripping out," the President continued, lowering his voice as he spoke about the drips. "People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once.

    "They end up using more water. So (the) EPA is looking at that very strongly at my suggestion.

    "You go into a new building or a new house or a new home and they have standards only you don't get water. You can't wash your hands practically, there's so little water comes out of the faucet. And the end result is you leave the faucet on and it takes you much longer to wash your hands.

    "There may be some areas where we'll go the other route -- desert areas -- but for the most part you have many states where they have so much water -- it comes down, it's called rain. They don't know what to do with it "So we're going to be looking at opening up that I believe. And we're looking at changing the standards very soon." -- Pres. “The Donald” Trump speaking at a recent roundtable on deregulatory actions.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  


    Notable Quotes -- "The Donald" Rambles On -- Enough Trump Already!
    Trump
    Date: 2019-12-09
    "We have a situation where we're looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms where you turn the faucet on -- and in areas where there's tremendous amounts of water, where the water rushes out to sea because you could never handle it, and you don't get any water. You turn on the faucet and you don't get any water. They take a shower and water comes dripping out. Just dripping out, very quietly dripping out," the President continued, lowering his voice as he spoke about the drips. "People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once.

    "They end up using more water. So (the) EPA is looking at that very strongly at my suggestion.

    "You go into a new building or a new house or a new home and they have standards only you don't get water. You can't wash your hands practically, there's so little water comes out of the faucet. And the end result is you leave the faucet on and it takes you much longer to wash your hands.

    "There may be some areas where we'll go the other route -- desert areas -- but for the most part you have many states where they have so much water -- it comes down, it's called rain. They don't know what to do with it "So we're going to be looking at opening up that I believe. And we're looking at changing the standards very soon." -- Pres. "The Donald" Trump speaking at a recent roundtable on deregulatory actions.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  


    Bay State AG Pushes Back on Trump EPA's Planned Methane Regulations Rollback (Reg. & Leg.)
    Methae, EPA
    Date: 2019-11-25
    Reporting from Boston, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey on Friday last joined a coalition of 20 state attorneys general in calling on the Trump administration EPA to "withdraw its illegal attempt to gut Obama era regulations that limit methane emissions and other harmful pollutants from new, reconstructed and modified sources in the oil and natural gas sector" -- the largest industrial source of environmentally damaging methane emissions.

    The coalition contends the EPA's unlawful proposal to rescind the Obama era methane regulation will threaten public health and the environment by increasing extremely harmful methane emissions, smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), benzene, formaldehyde and others.

    The Obama era 2015 rule is projected to reduce 300,000 tons of methane, 150,000 tons of VOCs, and 1,900 tons of hazardous air pollutants in 2020 alone. The rule will protect the environment and save businesses money with a net benefit of $35 million in 2020 and $170 million in 2025. On the other hand, the EPA's estimates show their planned proposal will increase methane emissions and VOCs by hundreds of thousands of tons through 2025!

    Joining AG Healey are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the City of Chicago, the City and County of Denver, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. (Source: Office of Mass. AG, STL News, 23 Nov., 2019) Contact: Office of Mass. AG, (617) 727-2200, www.mass.gov/orgs/office-of-attorney-general-maura-healey

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane,  Methane Emissions,  EPA Methane Emissions Rollback,  


    Notable Quote -- Sen. Chuck Grassley Comments on EPA, RFS
    Grassley,RFS
    Date: 2019-11-08
    "As the number one producer of corn, ethanol, biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, the renewable fuels industry is an important sector of Iowa's economy. It generates nearly $5 billion of Iowa's GDP, over $2.4 billion in household incomes and supports 47,000 jobs across Iowa.

    "President Trump made a commitment to Iowa and other biofuels producing states, and I look forward to seeing this promise fulfilled. The EPA shouldn't undercut President Trump's support of the Renewable Fuels Standard. I urge EPA to adjust the proposed supplemental rule to account for actual waived gallons using hard data from past practice to provide certainty to the marketplace." -- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in a letter to EPA Dir. Wheeler this week on the EPA's proposed supplemental rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Contact: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), www.grassley.senate.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Grassley,  RFS,  Ethanol,  

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