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EPA Changes Course on RFS "Hardship" Waivers (Reg & Leg.)
EPA, Renewable Fuel Standard
Date: 2021-02-24
In Washington, the US EPA reports it will support a January 2020 decision by the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and farm groups lawsuit over "improperly granted" renewable fuel standard (RFS) "hardship" waivers granted to oil refineries under the Trump administration. The lawsuit is expected to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this spring.

The EPA under Trump issued 85 retroactive small refinery exemptions for the 2016-2018 compliance years, undercutting the renewable fuel volumes by a total of 4 billion gallons, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA)

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: US EPA, 22 Feb., 2021)Contact: RFA, www.ethanolrfa.org

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


EPA changes stand, sides with ethanol industry
EPA
Date: 2021-02-23
DES MOINES — The federal government announced Monday that it will support the ethanol industry in a lawsuit over biofuel waivers granted to oil refineries under President Donald Trump’s administration. The Environmental Protection Agency said it is reversing course and will support a January 2020 decision by the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a lawsuit filed by the Renewable Fuels Association and farm groups. The lawsuit is headed to arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court this spring. The appeals court concluded the EPA improperly granted exemptions to refineries that didn’t qualify. The EPA under Trump issued 85 retroactive small refinery exemptions for the 2016-2018 compliance years, undercutting the renewable fuel volumes by a total of 4 billion gallons, (15.1 billion liters) according to the Renewable Fuels Association. Roughly a month after President Joe Biden took office, his EPA reversed the federal government’s stand, saying the EPA agrees with the appeals court that the exemption was intended to operate as a temporary measure. (Source: US EPA, 22 Feb., 2021)


U.S. Ethanol Production Drops (Ind. Report)
US EIA
Date: 2021-02-22
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), during the week ending on February 12, ethanol production fell to its lowest level in five months -- 911,000 bpd, down from 937,000 bpd during the prior week -- while stockpiles grew.

A Successful Farming report notes the U.S. Midwest, which produces more ethanol than any other region in the country, saw its production drop to 868,000 bpd from day from 895,000 bpd from the previous week and the lowest output level since late September. The East Coast and Gulf Coast regions stayed at an average of 12,000 bpd while the Rocky Mountain and West Coast production levels were unchanged at 9,000 bpd, on average, according to the EIA. Stockpiles increased to 24.297 million barrels in the seven days ending on February 12.

In other ethanol industry news, the US EPA has announced all 16 "hardship waiver" exemption petitions under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) from 2020 are still pending. In total, 66 petitions that date back as far as 2011 are still pending.

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: US EIA, Ag Central News, 20 Feb., 2021) Contact: US EIA, www.eia.gov

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


Arizona Cement Plant Awarded Ninth ENERGY STAR (Ind. Report)
CalPortland ,ENERGY STAR
Date: 2021-01-15
In Arizona, CalPortland reports its Rillito cement plant has been awarded its ninth consecutive US EPA ENERGY STAR certification for energy efficiency and intensity reduction.

To gain ENERGY STAR recognition, the plant replaced and upgraded various equipment for greater energy efficiency and expanded its energy team and increased energy efficiency awareness throughout the plant. (Source: CalPortland, Global Cement News , 12 Jan., 2021) Contact: CalPortland, Allen Hamblen, CEO, 520-744-3222, www.calportland.com; DOE ENERGY STAR, www.energystar.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News ENERGY STAR,  Energy Efficiency,  


EPA Sets Aircraft Engine Carbon Emissions Limits (Reg. & Leg.)
US EPA,ICAO
Date: 2020-12-30
In Washington, the US The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) it is adopting greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards applicable to certain classes of engines used by civil subsonic jet airplanes and larger subsonic propeller-driven airplanes. These new standards are equivalent to the airplane CO2 standards adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2017 and apply to both new type design airplanes and in-production airplanes.

The standards meet the EPA's obligation under the Clean Air Act to adopt GHG standards for certain classes of airplanes as a result of the 2016 Finding That Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Aircraft Cause or Contribute to Air Pollution That May Reasonably Be Anticipated To Endanger Public Health and Welfare for six well-mixed GHGs emitted by certain classes of airplane engines. Airplane engines emit only two of the six well-mixed GHGs, CO2 and nitrous oxide (N2O).

Download HERE.(Source: US EPA, Dec., 2020) Contact: US EPA, www.epa.gov; ICAO, 514-954-8219, 514-954-6077 -- fax, icaohq@icao.int, www.icao.int

More Low-Carbon Energy News Aviation Emissions,  ICAO,  


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 ,  


CEMEX's Miami Plant Cements ENERGY STAR Cert. (Ind. Report)
CEMEX, ENERGY STAR
Date: 2020-11-13
Houston-headquartered CEMEX USA reports its Miami cement plant has achieved US EPA ENERGY STAR® Certification for 2020 -- the tenth consecutive year the plant has earned the recognition for energy efficiency and sustainability and ranked in the top 25 pct of similar US facilities.

Since 2007, CEMEX USA cement plants have earned more than 50 ENERGY STAR® Certifications. In addition, dozens of CEMEX USA cement terminals and ready-mix concrete operations have achieved the ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry. (Source: CEMEX USA, PR, 10 Nov., 2020) Contact: CEMEX USA, Jaime Muguiro, Pres., 713-650-6200, www.cemexusa.com; US DOE, ENERGY STAR, www.energystar.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News CEMEX,  ENERGY STAR,  Energy Efficiency,  


PG&E Offers ENERGY STAR Product Rebates (Ind. Report)
PG&E, ENERGY STAR
Date: 2020-11-02
In the Golden State, San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) reports its continued to partnership with the US EPA ENERGY STAR program and others to promote the benefits of energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program to help consumers cut energy consumption, save money and shrink their carbon footprint. ENERGY STAR serves as a guide for customers shopping for appliances and looking for potential rebates, such as PG&E's, that help offset the cost of qualifying ENERGY STAR appliances.

For example, PG&E customers that sign up for the utility's time-of-use rate plan and purchase a qualifying ENERGY STAR smart thermostat may be eligible for a $120 rebate through the end of the year. The amount of the smart thermostat rebate recently increased from $50. The purchase of a smart thermostat combined with a time-of-use rate plan can reduce costs by shifting heating or cooling needs to low energy demand times when energy demand and rates are lower, and the amount of renewable energy is higher. By way of illustration, PG&E notes the following ENERGY STAR product specific savings:

  • LED light bulbs -- ENERGY STAR certified lighting uses up to 90 pct less energy than incandescent bulbs, lasts 15 times longer and saves more than $50 in electricity bills over their lifetime. By replacing the five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs in a home with ENERGY STAR models, customers can save nearly $45 per year.

  • Washing machines and dryers -- Save more than $370 over the lifetime of an ENERGY STAR certified clothes washer and even more with an ENERGY STAR washer/dryer pair. Clothes washers that have earned the ENERGY STAR rating use 25 pct less energy and approximately 33 pct less water than standard models.

  • Water heaters -- Water heaters account for 12 pct of residential energy consumption, costing a household of four up to $630 every year in energy costs. An ENERGY STAR certified electric water heater (known as Heat Pump Water Heaters) uses less than half the energy of a standard model. PG&E offers a $300 rebate for qualifying products.

    PG&E notes if every clothes washer, clothes dryer, dishwasher and refrigerator purchased in the U.S. this year were ENERGY STAR models, the equivalent of the greenhouse gas emissions from 450,000 cars would be avoided, and consumers would save more than $615 million in annual energy costs. (Source: PG&E, PR 2 Nov., 2020) Contact: PG&E, Aaron August, VP Business Development & Customer Engagement, www.pge.com; ENERGY STAR, www.energystar.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News PG&E,  Energy Efficiency,  Energy Efficiency Rebate,  ENERGY STAR,  


  • 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,  


    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,  


  • Growth Energy Suggests Ethanol to Address PM Emissions (Ind. Report)
    Growth Energy
    Date: 2020-07-06
    In comments addressed to the US EPA, Growth Energy Senior VP of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley noted: "Through multiple rulemakings at EPA over the last decade including those on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles and the Tier 3 fuel regulation, Growth Energy has submitted a wealth of data to further support the conclusion that ethanol decreases harmful particulate emissions. We think this is a critical opportunity for the agency to review this data as it reviews the Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

    The NAAQS are limits on atmospheric concentration of six pollutants that cause smog, acid rain, and other health hazards. Established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under authority of the Clean Air Act, NAAQS is applied for outdoor air nationwide.

    Growth Energy's letter to the EPA reiterates its May comments urging the EPA Science Advisory Board to examine the impact of toxic gasoline additives on respiratory health, as well as the potential benefits offered by bio-based alternatives like ethanol. (Source: Growth Energy, 2 July, 2020) Contact: Growth Energy, Chris Bliley, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy,  Ethanol,  


    2018 Vehicles Met 2018 GHG Targets, says US EPA Report (Ind. Report)
    US EPA
    Date: 2020-05-13
    According to the 2019 EPA Automotive Trends Report, the average estimated CO2 emission rate for all model year 2018 vehicles in the U.S. fell by 4 grams per mile to 353 g/mi and fuel economy increased very slightly by 0.2 mpg over 2017 levels to 25.1 mpg -- a record high. The reports notes that since 2004, auto CO2 emissions and fuel economy have improved in 12 out of 14 years and have repeatedly achieved new records.

    Average estimated real-world auto CO2 emissions are projected to fall 6 g/mi to 346 g/mi and fuel economy is projected to increase 0.4 mpg to 25.5 mpg. All the large manufacturers -- with production of more than 150,000 in model year 2018 -- ended the 2018 model year in compliance with the GHG target program, the report noted.

    Download the 2019 EPA Automotive Trends Report HERE (Source: US EPA, Auto Service World, 11 May, 2020)

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


    Governors Seeking RFS Refinery "Hardship" Waivers (Ind. Report)
    EPS, Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2020-04-27
    ICIS is reporting the governors of Louisiana (D), Texas (R), Oklahoma (R), Utah (R) and Wyoming (R) have written to the US EPA asking for "hardship" waivers for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for refiners in their states. In their appeal, the governors noted plunging fuel demand as the reason for the request.

    According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) the states currently under the COVID-19 pandemic "stay at home orders" account for 95 pct of US fuel demand. Meanwhile, ethanol market producers and players say that it is a "convenient reason for them (oil refiners) to escape a US law", and that doing so would further harm ethanol demand.

    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 Trade Media, ICIS, 17 April, 2020)

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


    US Greenhouse Gas Emission Down 27 pct Since 2005 (Ind. Report)
    Greenhouse Gas Emissions,EPA
    Date: 2020-04-27
    According to the just released US EPA 2020 Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks report on nationwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, since 2005, national GHG emissions have fallen by 10 pct and power sector emissions have dropped by 27 pct -- even as our economy grew by 25 pct.

    From 2005 to 2018, total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions fell by 12 pct. In contrast, global energy-related emissions increased nearly 24 pct from 2005 to 2018. (Source: EPA, 25 April, 2020)

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


    DOE Announces $25Mn for Grid Management Systems (Ind. Report)
    US DOE
    Date: 2020-04-27
    The U.S. DOE has announced $25 million in funding for 10 projects as part of the Performance-based Energy Resource Feedback, Optimization, and Risk Management(PERFORM) program. These projects will work to develop innovative management systems that represent the relative delivery risk of each asset, like wind farms or power plants, and balance the collective risk of all assets across the grid.

    PERFORM teams will design risk scores that communicate the delivery risk of an asset's offer, such as the reliability of electricity from a solar plant due to the weather on a given day. They will also develop grid management systems that internally capture uncertainty and evaluate the system risk to meet or exceed a set baseline. This risk-driven paradigm will enable grid operators to better maintain a supply-demand balance and system reliability, even with the intermittency of renewables. In turn, they can optimally manage the system and assess the true value of essential reliability services in real time, allowing for a more diverse energy mix.

    Details and sampling of PERFORM projects HERE. (Source: US EPA, April, 2020) Contact: US DOE ARPA, www.arpa-e.energy.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News US DOE,  Energy Management,  Smart Grid,  


    EPA Considering RFS Blending Compliance Delay (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2020-04-03
    Reuters is reporting US EPA chief Andrew Wheeler is considering delaying the deadline for oil refineries to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biofuel blending regulation past March 31 to help the industry cope with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Since the pandemic's onset, the oil industry has asked for broad regulatory relief to help it survive sharply reduced global demand for fuel and to lower related costs. (Source: US EPA, Reuters, 27 Mar., 2020) Contact: US EPA, Andrew Wheeler, Administrator, www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epas-acting-administrator

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


    EPA 2020 ENERGY STAR® Winners Recognized (Ind. Report)
    ENERGY STAR
    Date: 2020-04-01
    The U.S. EPA and the DOE are honoring 191 ENERGY STAR partners -- including Fortune 500 companies, schools, retailers, manufacturers, home builders, and commercial building owners and operators -- that have demonstrated national leadership in cost-saving energy efficient solutions.

    Recipients of the 2020 ENERGY STAR Awards come from 37 states and include: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Energize Connecticut -- statewide energy efficiency initiative in partnership with Eversource Energy and AVANGRID, HP, Palo Alto, CA, NY-based global financial service company MetLife, Faifax, Virginia-based home energy rating company Patuxent Environmental Group, and the electric utility Public Service Company of Oklahoma in Tulsa, and others.

    Since 1992, the ENERGY STAR program and its thousands of partners have helped save more than 4 trillion kWh of electricity and achieve over 3.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions. In 2018 alone, ENERGY STAR and its partners helped Americans avoid nearly $35 billion in energy costs. (Source: US EPA, 30 Mar., 2020) Contact: EPA ENERGY STAR®, www.energystar.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ENERGY STAR,  Energy Efficiency,  


    Suncor Challenges EPA RFS Waiver Denial (Ind. Report, Reg & Leg)
    Suncor Energy
    Date: 2020-01-08
    Denver-based Suncor Energy U.S.A. Inc., a unit of Calgary, Alberta-based Suncor Energy, reports it has filed an appeal of the US EPA's October 2019 decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. The agency recently finalized a rule designed to account for biofuel gallons waived from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

    In its appeal, Suncor, which received waivers for what were previously two refineries in Commerce City, Colorado, argued the agency's action was "arbitrary, capricious, and not otherwise in accordance with law." The EPA reportedly rejected Suncor's petition because the refineries no longer meet EPA's definition of a small refinery, which produces 75,000 bpd or less. Suncor previously received waivers for what were two small refineries, one that produced nearly 33,000 bpd and another at nearly 67,000 in 2018. The refineries were among the original facilities to receive waivers in 2006.

    According to the company's website, since 2006, Suncor has been making a significant impact in Canada's emerging biofuels industry. Suncor is using revenues from oil sands development to invest in biofuels, particularly ethanol produced from corn. Ethanol is a cleaner burning, renewable resource. The ethanol production industry is expanding in Canada and the United States. New government regulations require that a percentage of ethanol be blended into fuels to reduce the environmental impacts of vehicle emissions. Suncor operates Canada's largest ethanol facility -- the St. Clair Ethanol Plant in the Sarnia-Lambton region of Ontario. (Source: Suncor Energy, DTN, 6 Jan., 2019) Contact: Suncor Energy USA, 303-793-8000, www.suncor.com

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


    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,  


    Caribou, SUNY Developing Organic Waste-to-Fuels Gasifier (Ind Report)
    Caribou Biofuels
    Date: 2019-12-16
    Biomass process systems provider Caribou Biofuels has teamed up with the Research Foundation for the State University of New York (SUNY) to further develop and commercialize a rotary gasifier that converts combustible organic waste into both gaseous and liquid fuels. The technology was invented at SUNY Cobleskill Prof.David Waage with US EPA and DOD funding.

    This year, SUNY Cobleskill received $1.6 million in grant funding from the two government agencies to build and demonstrate a fully automated, portable rotary gasifier system that will produce 60 kilowatts of ppd from roughly 2 tpd of feedstock at a military base in the US.

    Caribou Biofuels will work with SUNY Cobleskill, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Scaled Power and the Joint Bioenergy Institute to to develop the mobile biomass processing system. (Source: SUNY, Caribou Biofuels, Biofuels, 13 Dec., 2019) Contact: SUNY Cobleskill, Prof.David Waage, 518-255-5312, waagedj@cobleskill.edu, www.cobleskill.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Caribou Biofuels ,  


    Growth Energy Calls on EPA to Fix Flawed RFS Proposal (Ind. Report)
    Growth Energy, EPA, RFS
    Date: 2019-11-01
    In testimony before the US EPA on the agency's proposed supplemental rule on 2020 biofuel targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor called on EPA to fix this flawed draft proposal and reverse the demand destruction that has shuttered biofuel plants across the heartland. "As drafted, EPA's plan fails to accurately account for lost gallons and betrays President Trump's promise to rural America. It cuts the fix we were promised in half, if not more, and destroys what may be our last chance to bring back the ethanol plants that have shut down and help ease the burden facing American farmers," Skor said.

    To begin repairing the damage, Skor called on the EPA to uphold the president's commitment to farmers and biofuel workers. "Midwestern lawmakers and governors have seen the damage firsthand and worked with the president to secure a deal that would start to undo the damage -- a deal that would honor this administration's commitments to farmers, biofuel producers, rural America, as well as small refineries. But instead, the EPA has undercut the president's promise and has yet again tilted the table in favor of the nation's largest oil companies -- all at the expense of the American farmer," Skor said.

    Skor urged regulators to use the rolling average of actual exempted volumes from the three most recently completed compliance years in the final rule, as promised by the administration. She also called on the agency to formally bind itself to the revised methodology for future years and expedite work to remove additional barriers to the sale of E15. "EPA must fix this rule immediately by properly accounting for exempted gallons and restoring lost demand. American biofuel producers and farmers cannot afford anything less," concluded Skor. (Source: growth Energy, PR, 30 Oct., 2019)Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, Elizabeth Funderburk, (202) 545-4000, EFunderburk@GrowthEnergy.org, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Growth Energy,  


    CEMEX Plants Score EPA ENERGY STAR Certification (Ind. Report)
    CEMEX
    Date: 2019-10-11
    Global building materials and cement company CEMEX USA is reporting two of its cement plants -- Miami and Brooksville South -- have been awarded US EPA ENERGY STAR® Certification for 2019, recognizing CEMEX's efforts in energy efficiency and sustainability.

    These two CEMEX plants have been repeatedly certified by the EPA's ENERGY STAR® program for their conservation efforts. This year's recognition marks nine consecutive years of ENERGY STAR® Certification for CEMEX's Miami Cement Plant, while the Brooksville South Cement Plant has achieved the certification seven out of the last eight years. (Source: CEMEX, USA PR, 10 Oct., 2019) Contact: DOE Energy Star®, www.energystar.gov; CEMEX USA, www.cemexusa.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ENERGY STAR,  Energy Eficiency,  CEMEX,  


    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,  


    Diamond Green Diesel Plans $1.1Bn Expansion (Ind. Report)
    Diamond Green Diesel
    Date: 2019-10-02
    Honeywell is reporting the Valero Energy and Darling Ingredients joint venture Diamond Green Diesel facility in Norco, Louisiana, will invest $1.1 billion to expand its annual production capacity of renewable diesel using Honeywell UOP's Ecofining™ process technology to meet growing demand for renewable fuels in North America and Europe.

    Producing 275 million gpy of Honeywell Green Diesel™, Diamond Green Diesel is the largest commercial advanced biofuel facility in the US. The expansion, which will increase the facility's annual production by nearly 150 pct to 675 million gpy, will also produce about 60 million gpy of renewable naphtha when completed and operational in late 2021.

    Diamond Green Diesel's product is a qualified Advanced Biofuel under the US EPA Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). (Source: Honeywell, Hydrocarbon Engineering, Oct., 2019) Contact: Diamond Green Diesel, sales@diamondgreendiesel.com, www.diamondgreendiesel.com; Valero Renewable Fuels, Joe Gorder, Pres., (800) 324-8464, www.valero.com; Darling Ingedients, Melissa A. Gaither, VP IR , (972) 281-4478, mgaither@darlingii.com, www.darlingii.com; Honeywell UOP, Bryan Glover, VP Petrochemicals & Refining Technologies, www,uop.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Honeywell UOP,  Diamond Green Diesel,  Renewable Diesel,  Valero,  Green Diesel,  Darling Ingedients,  


    Pittsburgh Firms Support Methane Emissions Ruductions (Ind. Report)
    Equitrans Midstream Corporation
    Date: 2019-09-27
    In the Steel City, Equitrans Midstream Corp. (ETRN) and EQM Midstream Partners LP (EQM) have come out in support of the US oil and gas industry's ongoing efforts to reduce methane emissions and therefore oppose the US EPA's proposed rollback of methane regulations.

    The EPA's April 2019 inventory report showed total methane emissions are down 15.8 pct since 1990 -- insufficient to achieve regulatory compliance on methane emissions in order to address the global impacts of climate change.

    ETRN and EQM currently utilize various methane mitigation methods across their operations and are evaluating additional enhancement and mitigation efforts, such as: expansion of the Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) programme; pneumatic controller upgrades; re-compression of pipeline gas prior to maintenance procedures; and upgrading existing stations with air or electric starts.

    ETRN is a member of the Environmental Partnership -- a voluntary reduction programme offered through the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the ONE Future Coalition of natural gas companies working together to voluntarily reduce methane emissions across the natural gas supply chain to 1 pct pct. (Source: ETRN, PR, Sept., 2019) Contact: Equitrans Midstream Corporation, Diana Charletta , Pres., CEO, www.equitransmidstream.com; EQM Midstream Partners, www.eqm-midstreampartners.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane,  EPA,  


    NBB's EPA RFS "Hardship" Waivers Challenge Nixed (Reg & Leg)
    NBB,National Biodiesel Board
    Date: 2019-09-09
    In the nation's capitol, the US Court of Appeals has announced it will not review the Trump administration US EPA's refusal to account for its granting of numerous retroactive Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) "hardship" waivers, as challenged by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).

    The Court nixed the NBB's appeal on the grounds that the biofuel industry did not comment on the topic or give the EPA sufficient opportunity to address those comments. (Source: NBB, Biofuels News, 9 Sept., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NBB,  Biodiesel,  RFS,  "hardship" Waivers,  


    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,  


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

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

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

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

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


    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 ,  


    US Drivers Cover 10 billion Miles on E15 Biofuel Blend (Ind. Report)
    Growth Energy
    Date: 2019-06-12
    According to Growth Energy, US drivers have logged more 10 billion miles on American highways using E15 fuel which has just been approved for year-round sales by the US EPA. Growth Energy notes the E15 – aka Unleaded88 – is available at mobe than 1,800 filling states across 31 US states.

    (Source: Growth Energy, Various Media, June, 2019) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, Elizabeth Funderburk, (202) 545-4000, EFunderburk@GrowthEnergy.org, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy,  E15,  Ethanol Blend,  Biofuel Blend,  


    EPA Now Allows E15 Ethanol Blend Summer Sales (Reg & Leg Report)
    EPA
    Date: 2019-06-03
    Today in Washington, the US EPA announced the ending a summertime ban on the E15 blend imposed out of concerns for increased smog from the higher ethanol blend. Until the change, the only ethanol blend fuel typically found in summer months was a 10 pct (E10) ethanol blend . The move may well be challenged by environmental groups on the grounds that the U.S. Clean Air Act disallows year-round E15 sales over smog and air quality concerns.

    The change removes a barrier to wider sales of E15 and is expected to expand the market for ethanol -- although immediate effects on the market are expected to be minimal since only about 1,000 to 1,500 of more than 150,000 U.S. gas stations currently sell the higher-ethanol blend, according to the EPA Office of Air and Radiation. (Source: EPA, PBS New, 31 May, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News E15 news,  Ethanol Blend news,  


    EPA Proposes Slight RFS Biofuel Mandate Increase (Reg & Leg)
    RFS, US EPA
    Date: 2019-05-15
    In Washington, the Trump administration EPA is reported to be proposing to increase volume of biofuels refiners must blend into their fuel annually from the present 19.92 billion gallons to 20.04 billion gallons in 2020. The proposed mandated increase is awaiting review by other government agencies before being finalized.

    The mandate includes 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels -- ethanol -- unchanged from 2019, and 5.04 billion gallons of advanced biofuels, up from 4.92 billion in 2019. The biodiesel mandate of 2.43 billion gallons for 2021, would be unchanged from 2020. (Source: US EPA, AgWEB, 14 May, 2019)

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


    Illinois Gov. Inks Carbon Storage Pilot Legislation (Reg. & Leg.)
    Wabash Valley Resources
    Date: 2019-05-10
    This week in Indianapolis, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb approved legislation allowing Wabash Valley Resources LLC to open a $450 million pilot project to produce anhydrous ammonia and store up to 50 million metric tons of CO2 at the former SG Solutions plant adjacent to Duke Energy's Wabash River Generating Station.

    The project is subject to US EPA approval. (Source: News & Tribune, 8 May, 2019) Contact: Wabash Valley Resources LLC, (929) 400-5230, www.wvresc.com

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


    Hawkeye State Ag Sec. Supports Year-Round E15 (Ind. Report)
    E15
    Date: 2019-05-01
    Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig submitted the following comments in support of the US EPA's proposed changes to E15 fuel-blend regulations to allow year-round sales of E15:

    "The Iowa renewable fuels industry accounts for more than $5 billion (roughly 3 pct) of Iowa's GDP, generating $2.5 billion of income for Iowa households and supporting almost 50,000 jobs throughout the state. Year-round access to E15 represents a long-overdue step toward creating a truly competitive fuel market, where cleaner, lower-cost biofuel blends are available to all consumers. This means stronger markets for farm families across Iowa who have been struggling with ongoing low commodity prices and trade tensions." Naig said.

    "In addition to allowing year-round sales of E15, the EPA's proposed regulatory changes would modify certain elements of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance system to improve the renewable identification number (RIN) market." Iowa is expected to have nearly 1,000 E-15 pumps at 200 stations statewide by the end of 2019. (Source: Iowa Dept. of Agriculture, Crop Life, 30 April, 2019) Contact: Iowa Dept. of Agriculture, Mike Naig, Sec., (515) 281-5321, www.IowaAgriculture.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Ethanol Blend,  E15,  


    Black Carbon Emissions Underestimated (Ind. Report, R&D)
    Blabk Carbon
    Date: 2019-05-01
    Although researchers have developed several historical inventories of black carbon (soot) emissions, new US EPA research suggests that U.S. soot emissions were 80 pct higher during the late 20th century than previously indicated.

    In particular, the researchers determined that the emissions from several key sources -- pre-1980 residential boilers and heating stoves, specific off-road engines, and heavy-duty diesel and light-duty gasoline-powered vehicles assembled prior to 1970 -- should be increased significantly.

    According to the research, between 1960 and 1980, the updated U.S. emissions totaled approximately 690 gigagrams per year in 1960 and 620 gigagrams per year a decade later. The revised inventory also exhibits a decreasing trend through 1980 that is not apparent in earlier reports. (Source: EPA, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Black Carbon,  


    EPA Says Brace for Climate Change Impacts (Report Attached)
    EPA
    Date: 2019-04-29
    In Washington, the US EPA has released a 150-page report in the Federal Register on coping with the fallout from climate change related natural disasters and how to address the debris left in the wake of floods, hurricanes and wildfires.

    Various recent studies have identified how climate change is already affecting the U.S. and the globe -- regional temperatures have increased by almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1970s, early snow-melts extending the fire season by three months and quintupling the number of large fires. Another EPA co-authored paper found that unless the U.S. slashes carbon emissions, climate change will probably cost the United States hundreds of billions of dollars annually by 2100.

    Download the EPA report HERE. (Source: EPA, Washington Post, 27 April, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Climate Change Mitigarion,  EPA,  


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

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

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

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


    APS Testing Woody Biomass for Power Generation (Ind. Report)
    Arizona Public Service
    Date: 2019-04-08
    Following up on our Mar. 23rd coverage, in Phoenix, Arizona's largest utility Arizona Public Service (APS) Co. reports it plans to convert its coal-burning Cholla Power Plant near Holbrook to burn woody biomass waste and pine wood chips. The test conversion is intended to address the potential loss of jobs occasioned by an expected 2025 shutdown of the coal-burning facility to meet environmental-emissions regulations and to help prevent the growing wildfire-forest fire threat.

    After a 60-day test period, AAPS will update the Arizona Corporation Commission regarding whether converting the coal generator to burn biomass would be cost efficient, officials said. According to the US EPA , electricity from forest biomass is carbon neutral and does not contribute to climate change. (Source: APS, WRAL.com, AP. 6 April, 2019) Contact: APS, Barbara Lockwood, VP, www.aps.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Arizona Public Service,  Woody Biomass,  Coal ,  


    EPA Proposes E-15 Fuel Regulatory Changes (Ind. Report, Reg & Leg)
    EPA
    Date: 2019-03-18
    In Washington, the US EPA has proposed regulatory changes to allow E-15 ethanol blended gasoline to take advantage of the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver for the summer months that has historically been applied only to E10. Under the proposed expansion, E15 would be allowed to be sold year-round without additional RVP control, rather than just eight months of the year.

    EPA is also proposing regulatory changes to modify elements of the renewable identification number compliance system under the Renewable Fuel Standard program to enhance transparency in the market and deter price manipulation. Proposed reforms to RIN markets include: prohibiting certain parties from being able to purchase separated RINs; requiring public disclosure when RIN holdings exceed specified thresholds; limiting the length of time a non-obligated party can hold RINs; and increasing the compliance frequency of the program from once annually to quarterly.

    Download details on proposed rulemaking HERE. (Source: US EPA, Irrigation & Green Energy, Mar., 2019) Contact: US EPA, www.epa.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News E-15,  E15,  Biofuel Blend,  EPA,  Alternative Buels,  Renewable Fuel,  Biofuel,  


    OMB Reviewing EPA E15, RIN Reform Rules (Reg & Leg, Ind Report)
    EPA
    Date: 2019-03-11
    In Washington, the US EPA reports it has sent sent a draft rule to allow for year-round sales of E15 ethanol fuel blends to the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) for review -- the next step in the regulatory process and for meeting expectations that this rule-making be completed when the summer driving season begins on June 1, 2019. A separate rule aims to curb market speculation in biofuel credits.

    The proposed rule does not have to be approved by Congress to be finalized, but it does have to be published and put out for public comment. In order for E15 to be available for summer sales, the process has to be completed before June 1, 2019. (Source: US EPA, Feedstuffs, 8 Mar., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  RINs,  E15,  Biofuel Blend,  


    ABA Claims EPA Strayed on RFS "Hardship Waivers" (Reg & Leg)
    EPA,Advanced Biofuels Association
    Date: 2019-03-11
    According to a brief filed by attorneys on behalf of the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABA) in a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit court in Washington last Wednesday, the US EPA broke away from Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements for granting small-refinery waivers starting in May 2017 and continued to deny a congressional order regarding which refiners qualify.

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

    Accordingly, the ABA suit asked the court to declare the EPA's methodology for determining disproportionate economic hardship "unlawful" and to strike down the agency's economic "hardship" policy.

    As previously 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. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct. (Source: ABA, DTN, 8 Mar., 2019) Contact: Advanced Biofuels Association, www.advancedbiofuelsassociation.com

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


    US Honda Keeps Wining ENERGY STAR Efficiency Cert. (Ind. Report)
    ENERGY STAR, Honda
    Date: 2019-03-08
    For the 13th consecutive year, two of Honda's Marysville and East Liberty Ohio automobile manufacturing plants in have earned the US EPA ENERGY STAR certification. Honda Manufacturing of Indiana (HMIN) achieved the ENERGY STAR designation for the seventh year in a row while the Honda Anna Engine Plant (AEP) in Anna, Ohio, scored its first ENERGY STAR status.

    EPA ENERGY STAR certification signifies that the facilities perform in the top 25 pct of similar facilities for energy efficiency and meet strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA. On average, ENERGY STAR certified plants consume 35 pct less energy and contribute 35 pct fewer greenhouse gas emissions than similar non-certified operations.

    The ENERGY STAR label can be found on over 60 different kinds of products as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings. Over the past twenty years, American families and businesses have saved a total of nearly $450 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 3.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from ENERGY STAR. (Source: Honda, EPA ENERGY STAR, Green Car Congress, 7 Mar., 2019) Contact: EPA Energy STAR, www.energystar.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ENERGY STAR,  Energy Efficiency,  


    Fossil Fuel Soot Contributes to Arctic Ice Melting (Ind. Report)
    Black Carbon
    Date: 2019-02-22
    According to the US EPA, black carbon (soot), which originates from the burning of fossil fuels, directly absorbs incoming sunlight and heats the atmosphere. In snowy places, soot deposits can absorb the sun's heat, rather then deflect it back into the atmosphere, and thus increase the rate of Arctic melting.

    Now, a new 5-year search study has found that fossil fuel combustion is the main contributor to black carbon 9ssot). The research, which collected raw data in Alaska, Russia, Canada, Sweden, and Norway, found that fossil fuel combustion was responsible for most of the black carbon in the Arctic, annually around 60 pct. The findings are an important call to decrease worldwide fossil fuel consumption.

    The study is published in the journal Science Advances, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. (Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Interesting Engineering, 21 Feb., 2019) Contact: American Association for the Advancement of Science, www.aaas.org

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


    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,  


    EPA Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions & Sinks --1990 - 2017 (Report Attached)

    Date: 2019-02-15
    According to the US EPA's most recent Greenhouse Gas Inventory, in 2017 the U.S. total gross greenhouse gas emissions were 6,472.3 million metric tons (MMT) CO2 equivalent, a decrease of 0.3 pct from 2016, driven in part by a decrease in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion.

    The decrease in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion was a result of: a continued shift from coal to natural gas; increased use of renewables in the electric power sector; milder weather that contributed to less overall electricity use, and other factors.

    Relative to the 1990 baseline, gross emissions in 2017 were higher by 1.6 pct, down from a high of 15.7 pct above 1990 levels in 2007. Overall, net emissions in 2017 were 12.7 pct below 2005 levels, according to the report.

    Download the EPA Greenhouse Gas Inventory HERE. (Source: EPA, Green Car Congress, 14 February 2019)

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


    EPA Proposal Raises Mercury Emissions Standard (Leg & Leg.)
    Dairyland Power ,EPA
    Date: 2019-01-07
    The US EPA has proposed changing its 2012, Obama era, standards limiting hazardous mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. Under its proposal, the agency would ignore indirect benefits from reducing mercury pollution when it weighs industry compliance costs against public health benefits.

    Presently, power plants spend up to $9.6 billion per to control mercury emissions, but the regulations that reduce mercury pollution only provides $6 million in direct benefits, according to the EPA. However, the same controls that reduce mercury also reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which are precursors to fine particle pollution, haze and ozone. These additional benefits were worth up to $89 billion in reduced fine particle pollution and $360 million in avoided climate change impacts, according to the Obama-era EPA.

    Most utilities are already in compliance with the 2012 mercury rule by installing costly pollution controls that limit emissions of mercury and other pollutants. The agency proposed retaining current mercury emissions standards. (Source: Dairyland Power Cooperative, Crosse Tribune, Jan., 2019) Contact: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, https://dnr.wi.gov/contact

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ,  Emissions,  Mercury Emissions,  EPA ,  


    EPA to Repeal Another Obama-Era Anti-Coal Regulation (Reg & Leg)
    EPA,Coal
    Date: 2019-01-04
    In Washington, the U.S. EPA has published its proposed revision of the Obama administration's carbon dioxide emission standards for new coal power plants. The Obama standards effectively ban investment in new coal generation -- a policy Congress never approved, according to the Trump administration EPA.

    In 2015, the Obama administration determined that partial carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the best system of emission reduction (BSER) for new coal units.

    The Trump EPA now proposes that the best system of emission reduction is the most efficient commercially-viable coal boiler combined with best industry practices. Under the new EPA proposal, new coal power plants would have to meet a standard of 1,900 pounds of CO2 per MWh rather than the current more stringent standard of 1,400 pounds per MWh. The Trump EPA's proposal is based on an updated analysis of the cost and geographic availability of CCS.

    Presently, only two utility-scale CCS power plants in existence: Petra Nova in Texas and Boundary Dam in Saskatchewan.

    Download the EPA repeal proposal HERE. (Source: US EPA, Competitive Enterprise Institute, CNS News, Various Media, Jan., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  Coal,  Carbon Emissions,  


    More RFS "Hardship" Waiver Applications Filed (Ind. Report)
    RFS,Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-01-02
    According to a recently released US EPA list of small-refinery "hardship" waivers filed under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), seven new applications for waivers have been filed for the 2018 compliance year. All of the waivers were filed between November 10 and December 18, 2018, when the EPA reported receipt of 22 waiver requests for the 2018 compliance year.

    For 2017, EPA received a total of 37 small refinery "hardship waiver" petitions, 29 of which were approved, seven are still pending and one declared ineligible or withdrawn. The 29 approved petitions have exempted roughly 1.46 billion renewable identification numbers (RINs) keeping more than 13.6 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel from meeting the RFS blending targets.

    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: US EPA, NAFB, 31 Dec., 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RINs,  Hardship Waiver,  RFS,  US DOE,  


    EPA Waivers Costly for Ethanol Ind., says Study (Ind Report)
    EPA "Hardship Waivers"
    Date: 2019-01-02
    According to a recently released University of Missouri Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) study, the US EPA's small refinery "hardship" waivers of their obligations under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) could cost the ethanol industry nearly $20 billion annually.

    The study concludes that the small refinery waivers could account for as many as 4.6 billion gallons of domestic demand lost over the next six years, along with the hit to revenue. Conventional biofuel such as corn ethanol stands to fall in use, along with consumption of ethanol in flex fuels and mid-level blends, and wholesale ethanol prices could slip as much as 19 cents per gallon on average. The study also notes that U.S. ethanol consumption stands to drop 761 million gpy on average between 2018 and 2023 with a resulting decline in gross ethanol sales revenues, with an average of $3.3 billion lost per year. (Source: University of Missouri Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute, Transportation Today, 2018) Contact: University of Missouri Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute, (573) 884-4688, www.fapri.missouri.edu

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

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