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8 New RFS "Hardship" Waiver Applications Since 10 Nov. (Ind. Report)
RFS
Date: 2018-12-21
In Washington, the US EPA is reporting receipt of seven new Renewable Fuel Standard “hardship” waiver petitions for the 2018 compliance year and one new petition for the 2017 compliance year as of Nov. 10 , 2018

For the 2017 compliance year, the EPA has received 37 small refinery petitions, up from the 36 it had received as of Nov. 10. Twenty-nine of the 37 petitions have been approved , 7 ar pending and 1 was withdrawn. The 29 approved petitions exempted 13.62 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel from meeting the RFS blending targets.

Under the RFS, oil refiners must increasingly blend ethanol and other biofuels into their fuel each year or purchase blending credits from those that do. The 2005 regulation was intended to help farmers and to cut fuel imports. But small oil refineries can be exempted from the standard if they prove compliance would cause disproportionate hardship. The EPA granted 29 waivers for the 2017 compliance year, up from 14 in 2015 and 20 in 2016. (Source: EPA, Dec. 20, 2018)

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


House Republicans Call for Axing RFS Ethanol Mandate (Reg & Leg)
RFS
Date: 2018-12-17
The Houston Chronicle is reporting US House Republicans are pushing to eliminate the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandating the blending of ethanol into the nation's fuel supply by 2032 in favor of a requirement that cars built from 2023 on run only on gasoline with a minimum octane level of 95.

The new octane requirement is being pitched as a fuel-neutral mechanism that would retain demand for ethanol into the future while improving vehicle engine efficiency.

Under present legislation the EPA would take over the RFS in 2022 with authority to reduce the ethanol mandate first set by Congress in 2005. Industry players have described the Republican proposal as "unworkable" especially with the possibility of Trump winning a second four-year term. (Source: Various Media, Houston Chronicle, 12 Dec., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Biofuel Blend,  


NATSO Comments on Draft Legislation to Reform Renewable Fuel Standard (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
NATSO,RFS
Date: 2018-12-12
Alexandria, Virginia-headquartered truck stop and travel plaza industry group NATSO testified before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Congress on Tuesday to discuss new legislation that would reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and transition the gasoline market to a high octane fuel performance standard.

In his testimony, NATSO VP of Government Affairs David Fialkov focused on the diesel market and the opportunities for policymakers to incentivize diesel retailers to incorporate increasing amounts of advanced biofuels such as biodiesel into the nation's diesel fuel supply.

"NATSO supports the provisions of the 21st Century Transportation Fuels Act that would facilitate market conditions and opportunities for its members to lower prices for consumers for advanced biofuels. Fialkov also recommended revisions to the draft legislation that would eliminate unnecessary obstacles to market investment in renewable fuels infrastructure and that undermine the returns on those investments that industry has already made.

"Specifically, Fialkov testified in favor of the provisions that would extend the advanced biofuels mandate for another decade. But Fialkov strongly urged lawmakers to revise the draft legislation to address NATSO's concerns about the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) practice of issuing small refinery waivers that exempt small refineries from their obligations under the RFS, including small refineries that are owned by profitable refining entities.

"The bill's rules-based Renewable Volume Obligations system will only achieve the objectives of enhanced certainty and less volatility if it addresses the Program's current flawed small refinery exemption regime," Fialkov testified. "The fact that the Legislation is silent on this topic is a real flaw. Any legislation to reform the RFS must remedy this situation." (Source: NATSO Inc. , PR, 11 Dec., 2018) Contact: NATSO, David Fialkov, VP Gov. Affairs, Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman (703) 739-8578, www.natso.com

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


NBB Seeks Long-Term Tax Credit Extension (Ind. Report)
NBB,Biodiesel
Date: 2018-12-12
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and its affiliated organizations delivered the attached letter to House and Senate leaders, urging them to enact a multiyear extension of the biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentive before Congress adjourns for the year.

Congress retroactively extended the tax incentive for 2017 in February 2018, leaving it expired for this year and beyond. The letter welcomes a recent proposal for a seven-year extension of the tax incentive.

Download the NBB letter HERE. (Source: National Biodiesel Board, 11 Dec., 2018) Contact: National Biodiesel Board, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

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


Biofuel Players Comment on New RFS (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
RFS,Advanced Biofuels Business Council
Date: 2018-12-07
"Specifically, I'm glad levels for biodiesel are maintained and slightly increased. And although the levels for advanced biofuels and cellulosic biofuels don't represent the full potential of the industry, they are very promising and will help significantly." -- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R), www.grassley.senate.gov

"It is time to get our America First fuel policy back on track, and we encourage the acting EPA administrator to hold oil refiners accountable and maintain the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard." -- Kyle Gilley, Snr VP External Affairs and Communications, POET, www.poet.com

"The final targets open new possibilities for advanced and cellulosic biofuels, but without a check on abusive EPA waivers, we'll continue to see plants closing their doors or idling production. The agency cannot fulfill the president's commitments in the heartland without putting a lid on handouts to oil giants like Chevron and Andeavor." -- Brooke Coleman, Exec. Dir., Advanced Biofuels Business Council, www.advancedbiofuels.org

"It reflects continued growth in the renewable natural gas industry. The growth in production of renewable natural gas and the completion of nearly 50 new production facilities from coast to coast since 2014 is proof positive that the RFS is working as intended for cellulosic and advanced biofuels." -- Johannes Escudero, CEO, Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, www.rngcoalition.com

"While the numbers are a positive step forward and they hold promise with a 15-billion-gallon commitment to starch ethanol and 418 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels, the billions of lost gallons due to excessive small refinery exemptions need to be accounted for." -- Emily Skor, CEO, Growth Energy, www.growthenergy.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Grassley,  POET,  RFS,  Growth Energy,  


EPA 2019 Final Renewable Fuel Standards Quota (Summary Report)
EPA,RFS
Date: 2018-12-05
On November 30, 2018, the US EPA finalized volume quotas under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for 2019 for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, total renewable fuel, and biomass-based diesel for 2020.

In brief,the conventional renewable fuel quota, which is met primarily by corn-based ethanol, will be maintained at 19 billion gal in 2019, while required advance biofuel volumes will climb by 630 million gal from 2018 to 19.92 billion gal. The 2019 quota for cellulosic biofuels increased nearly 130 million gal to 418 million gal.

Download the EPA RFS summary HERE. (Source: EPA, Dec., 2018) Contact: US EPA, www.epa.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Biofuel,  Biomass,  Ethanol,  Biodiesel,  Biofuel Blend,  


Industry Comments on New RFS (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
Iowa Renewable Fuels Association , National Biodiesel Board
Date: 2018-12-05
"Without reallocation of small-refinery exemptions, the numbers released today may look good on the outside, but just like the chocolate bunnies my children open up on Easter morning, they are hollow on the inside. While any increase is better than a flatline, these modest increases vastly underrate the potential of advanced biofuels." -- Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, (515) 252-6249, info@irfa.org, http://iowarfa.org

"EPA's failure to properly account for small refinery exemptions will continue to destroy biodiesel demand. EPA recognizes that the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry is producing fuel well above the annual volumes. The industry regularly fills 90 percent of the annual advanced biofuel requirement. Nevertheless, the agency continues to use its maximum waiver authority to set advanced biofuel requirements below attainable levels. The method is inconsistent with the RFS program's purpose, which is to drive growth in production and use of advanced biofuels such as biodiesel." -- National Biodiesel Board, Donnell Rehagen, CEO, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

"Of the 418 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel called for in the RFS, the vast majority, 388 million gallons, are requested from biogas and that represents a 45 pct increase in production from the 2018 volumes." -- American Biogas Council, Patrick Serfass, Executive Director, (202) 640-6595, www.americanbiogascouncil.org

"When the EPA continues to grant waivers and does not account for those volumes in this rule, domestic demand for our crop is lost, impacting farmers' livelihood and the economy of rural America." -- National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), Lynn Chrisp, (202) 326-0644, www.ncga.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News American Biogas Council,  NCGA,  ,  RFS,  Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,  National Biodiesel Board ,  


Renewable Fuels Standard "Hardship" Waivers on Hold (Reg & Leg)
Renewable Fuels Standard
Date: 2018-11-30
It is being widely reported that the Trump Administration is reconsidering and temporarily frozen Renewable Fuels Standard "hardship" waivers exempting small oil refineries from biofuel blending requirements.

Under the RFS, oil refiners must increasingly blend ethanol and other biofuels into their fuel each year or purchase blending credits from those that do. The 2005 regulation was intended to help farmers and to cut fuel imports. But small oil refineries can be exempted from the standard if they prove compliance would cause disproportionate hardship. The EPA granted 29 waivers for the 2017 compliance year, up from 14 in 2015 and 20 in 2016. (Source: Various Media, 28 Nov., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Standard,  Hardship Waiver,  Ethanol,  Biofuel Blend,  


EPA to Hold the Line on 2019 RFS Biofuel Blend Quotas (Ind. Report)
RFS,Renewable Fuels Standatd
Date: 2018-11-28
Bloomberg is reporting the Trump administration will likely order refiners to use 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol and other conventional renewable fuels in 2019 despite oil industry pressure to lower the mandate, The slate of biofuel blending targets, which are expected to be released on Friday, are unlikely to placate biofuel and agricultural interests that have denounced the EPA's generous issuance of RFS "hardship" waivers to small refineries. To date, 15 refineries have reportedly applied for "hardship" waiver relief from the 2018 quotas.

The EPA had proposed requiring refiners to blend 19.88 billion gallons of biofuels next year, a 3.1 pct increase over current quotas. That target included a 15 billion gallon quota for corn-based ethanol and other conventional renewable fuels, the maximum allowed under federal law and the same amount required in 2018. The agency also is set to finalize a 2020 requirement for using biodiesel, after proposing a 15.7 pct increase in the target.

The EPA reportedly plans to establish new biofuel blending targets for 2020 through 2022 and is poised to lower congressional goals for cellulosic biofuels as part of the RFS "reset" process. (Source: EPA, Bloomberg, Farm Journal, 27 Nov., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS news,  Biofuel Blend news,  Cellulosic news,  


EPA Updates RFS "Hardship" Waiver Applications (Ind. Report)
EPA,RFS
Date: 2018-11-21
On Nov. 16, the U.S. EPA released updated data on small refinery "hardship" waivers filed under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) showing that no new petitions were filed or approved between Oct. 10 and Nov. 10. As of Nov. 10, the EPA has received 15 petitions seeking small refinery "hardship" waivers for the 2018 compliance year. All 15 petitions are still pending.

For the 2017 compliance year, EPA received 36 small refinery petitions, 29 of which were approved and 7 are still pending. The 29 petitions approved to date have exempted approximately 1.46 billion renewable identification numbers (RINs), or approximately 13.62 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel from meeting the RFS blending targets.

For compliance year 2016, the EPA received 20 small refinery petitions, with 19 approved to date and one still pending. The 19 approved petitions have exempted approximately 790 RINs, or 7.84 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel from meeting RFS blending targets.

The EPA is expected to update data on small refinery hardship waivers monthly, with the next updated expected to be released in mid-December.

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, 16 Nov., 2018)

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


Calif. Q2 Renewable Diesel Supply Tops 100Mn Gal. (Ind. Report)
California ARB
Date: 2018-11-16
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is reporting that in an effort to meet the state's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), California has increased its net supply of renewable "green" diesel, reaching 100 million gallons during Q2, 2018 -- 10.1 pct of the total diesel supplied to California during the quarter.

Administered by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), LCFS aims to incrementally decrease the carbon intensity of gasoline and diesel fuel by at least 10 pct by 2020 relative to a 2010 baseline.

Under the state's LCFS, petroleum refiners, gasoline and diesel importers, and transportation fuel wholesales are required to either produce low carbon fuels or purchase credits to demonstrate compliance. But while under the RFS, both biodiesel and renewable diesel meet a 50 pct GHG reduction threshold (and are eligible to generate biomass-based diesel RINs), LCFS uses a measurement called carbon intensity (CI).

Renewable diesel generates a large number of credits relative to other fuels because it has some of the largest lifecycle GHG reduction compared to other fuels. The total volume of renewable diesel LCFS credits exceeded ethanol credits for the first time this year, reaching about 870,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent during the second quarter. (Source: US EIA, Agri-Pulse, 14 Nov., 2018) Contact: CARB, Melanie Turner, Information Officer, (916) 322-2990, melanie.turner@arb.ca.gov, www.arb.ca.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News Low Carbon Fuel Standard,  California Air Resources Board,  .Biofuel,  Renewable Fiesel ,  


Biofuel Group Seeks RFS "Hardship Waivers" Freeze (Ind. Report)
Producers United,
Date: 2018-11-16
Reuters is reporting Producers United, a group of unidentified biofuel companies, has asked a federal judge to force the U.S. EPA Agency to stop granting "hardship waivers" exempting small refineries from Renewable Fuel Standard regulations until a lawsuit challenging the agency's actions is resolved.

The group claims the EPA almost secretly and illegally issued retroactive biofuel credits to HollyFrontier and Sinclair Oil this year, although not required to do so as part of a legal settlement. HollyFrontier received nearly $34 million worth of credits for this year to reverse denial of a waiver for one of its Wyoming plants dating back to 2015. Sinclair scored waivers for two facilities in the same state for 2014 and 2015.

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: CNBC, Variuos Media, Reuters, 14 Nov., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  


Conservationists Upbraid EPA Over Biofuel Crop Legislation (Reg. & Leg., Ind. Report)
EPA
Date: 2018-11-02
Following on the heels of the Trump administration's allowance of year-round E-15 ethanol blend sales,several U.S. Conservation groups have petitioned and accused the US EPA of failing to enforce the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) and thus turning a blind-eye to the illegal destruction of wildlife habitat nationwide.

The petitioners contend that rather than follow the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, which only allows land cultivated before 2007 to grow corn and soybeans for biofuels, the EPA, at Trump's instruction, has been adhering to a change in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) which allows new land to be farmed as long as the total amount of U.S. farmland dedicated to biofuel feedstock production doesn't exceed 402 million acres.

The EPA estimates cropland in the U.S. has increased somewhere between 4 million and 7.8 million acres since 2007, but is uncertain how much of that is cultivated for biofuel feed stock production.

The petitioning conservation groups say recent mandates to increase the use of corn and soybeans in gasoline have led to more habitat destruction, water pollution, and greenhouse gases. (Source: wfiy, National Public Radio, Oct., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Feedstock,  E-15,  RFS,  


NBB Calls for Stronger, More Accountable RFS (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
National Biodiesel Board
Date: 2018-10-26
"In June, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) expressed appreciation that the U.S. EPA proposed increases in the 2020 biomass-based diesel and 2019 advanced biofuel categories under the RFS. While the proposed increases sent a positive signal to the industry, EPA's granting of dozens of retroactive small refinery (hardship) exemptions undercut prior year volumes and could still have a negative impact on future year standards.

"We welcome the administration's proposal to grow the biodiesel volumes, following two flat-lined years. This is a positive signal for our industry and we're pleased the EPA has acknowledged our ability to produce higher volumes. We've consistently demonstrated that we can do much more. The fact remains, though, instability in the RFS program caused by the EPA has done significant damage that can only be rectified for biodiesel through consistent and predictable growth in volumes, according to Kurt Kovarik, NBB VP Federal Affairs.

"Kovarik pointed to decisions by the EPA administrator to provide numerous (hardship) waivers to petroleum refiners that release them from their obligations under the RFS, effectively reducing the overall volumes under the program in 2016 and 2017. Those exemptions have effectively destroyed current demand for biodiesel by 300 million gallons.

"As a candidate on the campaign trail, Donald Trump pledged he would support biofuels and protect the RFS, Kovarik added. While this is just a proposal, we hope the administration is serious about growing biodiesel volumes and will fulfill the president's promise to support and grow the RFS.

The EPA proposed to raise the renewable volume obligations (RVO) for the biomass-based diesel category from 2.1 billion gallons in 2019 to 2.43 billion gallons in 2020. The agency also proposed to slightly increase the advanced biofuel category, for which biodiesel also qualifies, from 4.29 billion gallons in 2018 to 4.88 billion gallons in 2019.

"The RFS requires the EPA to grow the volume of advanced biofuels like biodiesel delivered to U.S. consumers. Since taking office, Trump's EPA has recommended zero growth for the biomass-based diesel category.

"This summer, 39 U.S. senators sent a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging him to increase biomass-based diesel and advanced volumes and accurately account for small refinery hardship exemptions in the annual RFS volumes. NBB specifically thanked Sens. Patty Murray, D-Washington; Roy Blunt, R-Missouri; Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota; and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, for leading the letter.

"Noting that EPA proposes to set the 2020 biomass-based diesel volume at 2.43 billion gallons, the senators wrote, 'While these proposed increases are encouraging, these volumes continue to underestimate the existing potential of the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries in our states. We believe the biodiesel industry can do more and that EPA should demonstrate more confidence in the RFS program's ability to drive growth.' Comments from the senators and NBB demonstrate that the increased biomass-based diesel volume is achievable with available feedstocks. Calling on EPA to accurately account for small refinery hardship exemptions, the senators added, 'It is critical that EPA appropriately account for any small refiner economic hardship exemptions that it reasonably expects to grant during the 2019 compliance year in the final rule, or EPA will not be able to fulfill its duty to ensure RVOs are met.'

"We (NBB) join the senators in calling on EPA to raise biomass-based diesel volumes to an appropriate level that will drive additional growth. Biodiesel production has consistently exceeded the annual volume obligations set by EPA. The industry continues to operate below capacity, which limits job creation and economic growth. Moreover, EPA must fully and accurately account for small refiner hardship exemptions under the RFS. NBB estimates that the exemptions granted by EPA for 2016 and 2017 reduced demand for biodiesel and renewable diesel by about 300 million gallons. That lost demand is equal to or greater than the annual production of some of the nation's top biodiesel-producing states, including Washington, Missouri, North Dakota and Iowa. The volumes that EPA sets are meaningless if the agency does not ensure they are met at the end of the year.

"NBB and its members continue working to move the needle for higher volumes, meeting with the administration, working with biodiesel champions on the Hill, and collaborating with key industry stakeholders. The EPA is set to finalize volumes before Nov. 30." (Source: NBB, 24 Oct., 2018) Contact: NBB, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard,  National Biodiesel Board,  


Is the Renewable Fuel Standard enough to spur progress in advanced Biofuels? Probably not. (Ind. Report)
International Council on Clean Transportation
Date: 2018-10-19
Production of cellulosic biofuel is expected to fall nearly 7 billion gallons short of meeting the statutory Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume for this type of advanced biofuel in 2018, which has forced the EPA to lower targets for the program. Although cellulosic biofuel production has lagged behind the ambitious RFS schedule, it has exhibited an overall upward trajectory, with year-over-year increases in output since 2011 and new cellulosic biofuel companies coming online. Given that other government support, such as grants and loan guarantees, also influence cellulosic biofuel development, we wanted to know if this modest success is due to the RFS or other forms of direct support.

Download the report HERE. (Source: International Council on Clean Transportation, Chelsea Petrenko and Stephanie Searle, 17 Oct., 2018) Contact: ICCT, www.theicct.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News International Council on Clean Transportation,  RFS.Biofuel,  Advanced Biofuel,  


Washington Should Eliminate Costly Boondoggles Like the RFS, says Americans for Prosperity (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
Americans for Prosperity
Date: 2018-10-12
In response to President Trump's announcement that his administration will be promoting the use of ethanol by allowing year-round sales of E15, Americans for Prosperity Chief Government Affairs Officer Brent Gardner issued the following statement:

"President Trump has revitalized our economy in part by rolling back counterproductive, job-killing federal mandates and regulations, but this move would undo some of that success by preserving the harmful renewable fuel standard (RFS) at the expense of taxpayers and consumers. Rather than trying to make this market-distorting boondoggle viable with yet another rule written by bureaucrats in Washington, DC, he (Trump) should consign the costly and misguided RFS to the dustbin as well. The best way to make a mandate easier to meet is to eliminate it."

Americans for Prosperity, founded in 2004, is a U.S. libertarian/conservative political advocacy group funded by David H. Koch and Charles Koch. As the Koch brothers' primary political advocacy group, it is one of the most influential American conservative organizations. (Source: Americans for Prosperity, 11 Oct., 2018) Contact: Americans for Prosparity, Brent Gardner, Gabrielle Braud, Press, GBraud@afphq.org, www.AmericansForProsperity.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Renewable Fuels Standard,  Biofuel,  Ethanol,  


Trump Admin. Expected to Change E15 Biofuel Rules (Reg & Leg)
E15,Trump
Date: 2018-10-10
It is being widely reported that U.S. Pres. Donald Trump will order acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to lift the Renewable Fuel Standard summertime ban on the sale of E15 and thus help limit market speculation in biofuel credits.

E15 sales are currently blocked from the beginning of June through the middle of September because the fuel blend does not meet ozone standards spelled out in the Clean Air Act.

It is even more widely speculated that Trump's move is focused on stroking his biofuels and farm belt base before for the November mid-term elections. (Source: CNBC, Various Media, 8 Oct., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News E15,  Trump,  RFS,  Biofuel,  


N.H. Legislators Want Biomass Power Included Under RFS (Ind Report)
New Hampshire
Date: 2018-10-10
New Hampshire federal legislators Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D), Maggie Hassan (D) and Reps. Carol Shea-Porter (D) and Annie Kuster (D) have asked Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to resolve outstanding issues impeding the agency's ability to process biomass and waste-to-energy fuel pathways submitted under the RFS program. Expanding the RFS program to include power from biomass sources will incentivize renewable biomass power generation while simultaneously reducing pollution and GHG emissions, according to the letter.

The letter, dated October 3, notes that EPA issued its proposed Renewable Enhancement and Growth Support rule in 2016 in an effort to gather additional information about the potential configurations of this new renewable electricity pathway but to date has failed to finalize the REGS rule or issue an approved renewable fuel pathway for biomass, waste-to-energy and other fuel sources.

The letter calls for Wheeler to immediately address all outstanding RIN registration requests and finalize a regulatory structure for biomass and waste-to-energy fuel pathways under the RFS program.

New Hampshire is currently home to There are currently seven biomass power facilities in New Hampshire that are on the verge of closing due to challenging power markets, the letter notes. (Source: Office of Sen Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), 3 Oct., 2018) Contact: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, www.shaheen.senate.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News Biomass,  Woody Biomass,  New Hampshire Biomass,  RFS,  


NATSO Alt. Fuels RFS RIN Management Service (Ind. Report)
NATSO
Date: 2018-10-03
NATSO Inc., the Alexandria, Virginia-headquartered national association representing the travel plaza and truckstop industry, and the Alternative Fuels Council are reporting the launch of a new RIN Management Service designed to help fuel retailers that blend and sell renewable fuels -- ethanol, biodiesel, renewable cng -- to more efficiently participate in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and manage their compliance and Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). Under the RIN Management program, participants will:
  • consult with experts on the RFS and Low Carbon Fuel Standard compliance;

  • get help registering for EPA's RFS program as well as for the IRS Blenders License;

  • access sources for fuel supply options;

  • secure advice and assistance for state incentive programs;

  • monitor the status of impending IRS Blender's Tax Credits;

  • participants can access an exclusive software program that provides real-time RIN management, a system of record for all RIN transactions, as well as RIN account reconciliations. Through this software, blenders and marketers can reduce the staff time that it takes to comply with the RFS by as much as 75 pct;

  • knowledgeable Alternative Fuels Council staff will perform EPA-required quarterly reporting as well as end-of-year third-party CPA audits.

    The new RIN Management Service marks the second offering from the Alternative Fuels Council this year. The Alternative Fuels Council previously unveiled a Biodiesel Fuel Quality Plan designed to help those who blend, market, and distribute biodiesel blends ensure the final product meets a minimum standard of quality. A step-by-step guide to the blending process directs users through fuel quality management, including sampling procedures, protocols and proposed schedules, to help ensure that alternative fuel meets the required ASTM fuel quality standards. The Alternative Fuels Council also helps facilitate fuel testing and analysis for marketers at a substantially discounted price.

    The Alternative Fuels Council is a NATSO, Inc. subsidiary created to help NATSO members and the entire retail fuels industry understand alternative fuels markets, including available government incentives, to effectively incorporate alternative fuels into their supply offerings. (Source: NATSO, PR, Oct., 2018) Contact: NATSO, Lisa Mullings, Pres., CEO, Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman, (703) 739-8578, twlazlowski@natso.com, www.natso.com; Alternative Fuels Council, Jeff Hove, jhove@natsoaltfuels.com, www.NATSOAltFuels.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NATSO,  Biofuel,  Alternative Fuel,  


  • Ethanol Players Tell Trump Ethanol Industry Needs Help (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)

    Date: 2018-09-14
    The Renewable Fuels Association and other agriculture and ethanol groups on Wednesday appealed to President Donald Trump to immediately approve year-round sales of E15 and to reallocate Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) small-refinery waivers to larger refiners as originally intended under the RFS.

    In a joint letter, the groups stress that small-refinery waivers have given refiners "exactly what they asked for: artificially low RIN (renewable identification numbers) credit prices and weaker biofuel blending requirements." Ethanol RIN prices have been trading between 20 and 30 cents since May as a result of the waivers, or a decrease of about 80 pct since last fall, the groups said.

    Read the letter HERE. (Source: RFA, DTN/Progressive Farmer , Others, 12 Sept., 2018)

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


    Notable Quote -- RFS "Hardship" Waivers Hurting Ethanol Demand
    EPA,National Farmers Union
    Date: 2018-09-12
    "The farmers are the ones at the end of the day who are really not the winners in all of this, and it's very contrary to what the president and this administration has said that they support. They have talked extensively about supporting farmers but the actions from this EPA about the small refinery exemptions have not been supportive."

    "We're obviously at a time right now where we're very concerned about our lack of export markets and so it's really important that this administration continues to support farmers, continue to support the renewable fuels industry by the Renewable Fuel Standard." -- Anne Steckel, Biofuels Advisor with the National Farmers Union, speaking on the US EPA RFS "Hardship" waivers for refiners.

    According to EPA data, nearly 50 waivers were granted in 2016 and 2017, wiping out 2.2 billion gallons of blending obligations. "Hardship waivers" were intended for refineries that produced 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: Public News Service, 14 Aug., 2018) Contact: National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, Pres., (202) 554-1600, https://nfu.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA "Hardship Waiver" news,  RFA news,  NFU news,  


    Study says EPA Waivers Could Cost Ethanol Ind. $20 bln (Ind Report)
    EPA
    Date: 2018-09-12
    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 found 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.

    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: University of Missouri Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute, Transportation Today, 11 Sept., 2018) Contact: University of Missouri Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute, (573) 884-4688, www.fapri.missouri.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard,  Hardship Waiver,  RFS,  EPA,  Ethanol,  EPA Hardship Waivers,  


    Zambian RfP Seeks 100 MW of Solar Energy (Int'l Report)
    Zambia ,African Development Bank
    Date: 2018-09-05
    Via the tender, selected developers will be awarded 25-year PPAs for the sale of power to local utility, ZESCO. In Lusaka, the Zambian Ministry of Energy and the GET FiT Zambia Secretariat have issued a Request for Proposal (RfS) for the deployment of 100 MW of solar PV capacity The RfP follows the Request for Qualification phase, which was concluded in June and saw the shortlisting of 10 developers including Enel Green Power, Engie, EDF, and others. Selected developers will be granted a 25-year PPA by the local utility ZESCO.

    The tender is being held under the framework of the Zambian REFiT Strategy, an initiative developed with the support of German development bank, KFW. The REFiT program aims to initially tender up to 100 MW of PV and envisages the deployment of 200 MW small- and medium-scale renewable energy projects, up to a maximum size of 20 MW. Eligible renewables include solar PV, hydro, geothermal, biomass, waste energy and wind power. The Department of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at the African Development Bank has issued an expression of interest to arrange debt financing for the five 20 MW IPP solar projects. The Zambian government is aiming to deploy 500 MW of solar PV over the next few years. (Source: Zambia Ministry of Energy, PV Mag, September 3, 2018) Contact: Zambia Ministry of Energy, www.mewd,gov.zm; African Development Bank, Amadou Hott, VP Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, +225 2026 3900, www.afdb.org/en

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Solar,  African Development Bank,  


    Biotechnika Tech Slated for North Dakota Biorefinery (Ind. Report)
    Biotechnika
    Date: 2018-08-31
    Lodz, Poland-headquartered Biotechnika is reporting an $80 million deal under which it will supply it proprietary technology for the production of high-protein animal fodder and bio-gas from ethanol production waste to a new-build bio-refinery in Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA.

    Using Biotechnika's technology, after purification, bio-gas is usable in regular gas systems. The technology conformed with the demands of the US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) programme promoting renewable fuels. The bio-refinery is expected to be online early in 2020.

    Biotechnika specializes in industrial biotechnology -- ethanol production, the construction of agricultural bio-gas refineries, sewage management, and food and bio waste processing. (Source: Biotechnika, PR, First News, 30 Aug., 2018) Contact: Biotecnika, Tomasz Kapela, +48 608 409 440, www.biotechnika.net/en

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biotechnika ,  Biorefining,  Ethanol,  Biofuel,  


    USDA Comments on RFS "Hardship" Waivers (Reg & Leg)

    Date: 2018-08-31
    The attached memorandum, the USDA comments on Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) small refinery "hardship" waivers and the agency's ability to make different reductions in the total and advanced mandates when using the cellulosic waiver authority.

    In its proposed rule Renewable Fuel Standard Program Standards for 2019 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2020, the EPA proposes the Renewable Fuel Volume Obligations (RVOs), the analytical support in setting those RVOs, the setting of the percent standards to achieve those RVOs and an assessment of the cost of implementation.

    The USDA stresses that it does not disagree with the appropriateness of the use of the cellulosic waiver authority in lowering the total and cellulosic standards, but disagrees with the newly stated constraints the EPA places on the agency when those waivers are applied. These comments also address the inconsistencies between the cost and the percent standard approaches, which have historically failed to achieve the RVO standard set in the analysis and rule making.

    Download RFS details HERE. (Source: USDA, Aug., 2018) ) Contact: USDA,www.usda.gov

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


    AFBF Comments on Biofuels Volumes, Small Refinery Hardship Waivers (Opinions, editorials & Asides)
    American Farm Bureau Federation
    Date: 2018-08-27
    "Though pleased with EPA's proposal to increase renewable fuel volumes, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) warned that the agency's excessive use of small refinery "hardship" waivers diminishes the likelihood that volume targets will be met.

    "EPA's excessive use (of small refinery waivers) will undermine the goals that were set by Congress to create a more robust renewable fuels industry and greater energy independence. EPA's actions could result in an estimated 1.5 billion gallons of lost demand for renewable fuels," the AFBF said.

    "EPA's proposed renewable fuels volume standards for 2019 would maintain the statutory requirement for conventional renewable fuel at 15 billion gallons, increase cellulosic fuels to 381 million gallons and bump up total advanced biofuels to 4.88 billion gallons. It would also increase the biomass-based diesel volume to 2.43 billion gallons for 2020.

    "The AFBF touted the Renewable Fuel Standard's many successes, including the growth it spurred within the agriculture sector as corn and soybean farmers expanded their crop production to meet growing demand for corn- and soybean-based biofuels.

    "Beyond the boost to the agricultural economy, the RFS2 is intended to spur investment in cleaner, domestic fuels; give consumers more choices at the pump; lower gas prices; and boost the country's energy security. But EPA has allowed dozens of oil refineries off the hook from their legal obligations to blend renewable fuels with gasoline and diesel fuel, which is jeopardizing this progress, according to Farm Bureau.

    "Given the accomplishments of the RFS program to date, EPA's excessive and unreasonable use of the small refinery waiver dampens the prospects for reduced emissions and increased energy security," the organization cautioned.

    "AFBF also addressed the RIN market as it relates to the current RFS2 program, noting that RINS are functioning properly and providing incentives for refiners to offer higher blends of ethanol in the market at prices that are increasingly competitive with conventional gasoline. A RIN is a serial number assigned to a batch of biofuel for the purpose of tracking its production, use and trading.

    "In addition, the organization emphasized that the petroleum industry's unwillingness to offer higher blends of biofuels should not be taken as evidence that the RFS2 is unworkable. Rather, it is evidence that they are unwilling to adapt to policies enunciated by Congress. But making space in the market for alternative fuels that contribute to energy independence, environmental improvement, and economic development is exactly the point of RFS2." (Source: American Farm Bureau Federation, FBNews, 21 Aug., 2018) Contact: American Farm Bureau Federation, Sarah Brown Dirkes, Exec. Director, Industry Relations, (202) 406-3684, sarahd@fb.org, www.fb.org

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


    Notable Quote
    RFS
    Date: 2018-08-27
    "The Trump administration wants to move forward implementing the RFS within the spirit and letter of the law. We want to provide more certainty for the renewable volume obligations. So far, this administration has been on time in setting the RVOs each year and that provides more certainty for producers and consumers. We will continue to do that." -- Andrew Wheeler, EPA Acting Administrator, 25 Aug., 2018

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump news,  RFS news,  Ethanol news,  Biofuel news,  


    NCGA Comments of EPA RFS Proposals (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    National Corn Growers Association
    Date: 2018-08-20
    On Friday, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) submitted the following unsolicited comments to the EPA on the proposed rule for the 2019 volume standards under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

    In the proposed rule, the EPA granted retroactive "hardship" exemptions to 48 refineries for 2016 and 2017 RFS obligations, amounting to 2.25 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons. Through this proposed rule, EPA has the tools to ensure retroactive exemptions do not further reduce volumes.

    "While EPA may not want feedback on how the agency is failing to maintain the integrity of the RFS and administer the volume standards in accordance with the law, corn farmers will provide that feedback nonetheless and make our voices heard. The process for accounting for these volumes is central to the integrity of the RFS, and it is offensive to farmers that EPA does not believe our comments on this issue are worth soliciting and considering.

    "To uphold the full clean air, cost-savings, energy independence, and rural economic benefits consumers and farmers receive from the RFS, EPA must also use the 2019 volume rule to make and keep the RFS whole.

    "Maintaining an implied volume for conventional renewable fuel at 15 billion gallons, consistent with the statutory target for 2019 and the proposed rule, provides a firm base of support for ethanol production and corn prices. A strong RFS is a market-based solution for sustaining the agriculture economy," the comments state. (Source: NCGA, Wisconsin State Farmer, 17 Aug., 2018) Contact: National Corn Growers Association, Kevin Skunes, Pres., (202) 326-0644, www.ncga.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News National Corn Growers Association,  RFS,  Biofuel,  


    ACE Touts Low Carbon Corn Ethanol Benefits (Ind. Report)
    American Coalition for Ethanol
    Date: 2018-08-20
    The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is reporting the release of its White Paper -- The Case for Properly Valuing the Low Carbon Benefits of Corn Ethanol.

    The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was enacted, in part, to drive innovation and production of low carbon biofuels that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and as a result the program has replaced 10 pct of petroleum in the U.S. transportation fleet with carbon-friendly fuel. However, the EPA has yet to update its original corn ethanol GHG assessments of a decade ago to reflect today's significant GHG reduction benefits, the report says.

    "The ACE White Paper makes a compelling case that lifecycle GHG modeling must reflect the latest science if low carbon fuel programs are to achieve their desired results. The Great Plains Institute agrees there is a huge opportunity for existing corn ethanol plants to lower their carbon footprint through innovative technology and updated lifecycle modeling," said Brendan Jordan, VP of the Great Plains Institute.

    Download the full The Case for Properly Valuing the Low Carbon Benefits of Corn Ethanol White Paper HERE. (Source: American Coalition for Ethanoll, Aug., 2018) Contact: American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, Ron Lamberty, VP, (605) 334-3381, https://ethanol.org; Great Plains Institute, (512) 278-7150, www.betterenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News American Coalition for Ethanol,  Ethanol,  Corn Ethano,  ,  


    Notable Quote -- RFS "Hardship" Waivers Hurting Ethanol Demand
    National Farmers Union
    Date: 2018-08-17
    "The farmers are the ones at the end of the day who are really not the winners in all of this, and it's very contrary to what the president and this administration has said that they support. They have talked extensively about supporting farmers but the actions from this EPA about the small refinery exemptions have not been supportive."

    "We're obviously at a time right now where we're very concerned about our lack of export markets and so it's really important that this administration continues to support farmers, continue to support the renewable fuels industry by the Renewable Fuel Standard." -- Anne Steckel, Biofuels Advisor with the National Farmers Union, speaking on the US EPA RFS "Hardship" waivers for refiners.

    Farmers nationwide say the EPA is undercutting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and hurting farmers by granting too many "hardship" exemptions for small oil refineries. According to EPA data, nearly 50 waivers were granted in 2016 and 2017, wiping out 2.2 billion gallons of blending obligations.

    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: Public News Service, 14 Aug., 2018) Contact: National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, Pres., (202) 554-1600, https://nfu.org

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


    Hawkeye State Secretary of Agriculture Comments on Proposed RFS Changes (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2018-08-13
    In Iowa City, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, has submitted the following comments on the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) levels for conventional, advanced and cellulosic biofuels for 2019 and biodiesel for 2020, to the U.S. EPA

    "A strong RFS that follows the law is critically important to ensuring market access for ethanol and biodiesel and to giving consumers additional choices at the pump. I will reiterate to acting Administrator Wheeler when he visits Iowa next week the need to support the RFS, allow year-round sale of E15 and end the small-refinery waivers that have cut ethanol demand by 1.5 billion gallons over the past two years."

    Iowa has the capacity to produce 4.4 billion gpy of ethanol, including 55 million gpy of cellulosic ethanol and 400 million gpy of biodiesel, all from approximately 1 billion bushels of corn. The biofuels industry contributes about $5 billion to the state's DGP. (Source: Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, CBC OnLIne, 12 Aug., 2018) Contact: Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, www.iowaagriculture.gov/MichaelNaig.asp

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


    RFA Seeks Court Action to Set RFS Back on Track (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuels Association ,Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2018-08-06
    The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) reports it is taking legal action to challenge the EPA's abuse in issuing small refiner "hardship" waivers from the RFS. According to RFA Executive VP Geoff Cooper, the excessive number of waivers have cut into the demand biofuel and that the surplus of RINS has led to lower costs for refiners who then do not blend as much ethanol as they could and should. Court action is expected to get underway within the next few months.

    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: RFS, WNAX Radio, 2 Aug., 2018)Contact: RFA, Bob Dinneen, Pres., (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS Waivers,  Renewable Fuels Association,  Renewable Fuel Standard ,  


    EPA Report Notes Ethanol Environmental Damage (Ind. Report)
    Ethanol,Clean Air Task Force
    Date: 2018-08-03
    According to a recent, federally-mandated EPA assessment of the environmental impact of corn and soybean based ethanol production, ethanol is creating several ill effects on the enviroment and wildlife habitat.

    The EPA report documents millions of acres of wildlife habitat lost to ethanol crop production, increased nutrient pollution in waterways and air emissions and side effects worse than the gasoline the ethanol is replacing. According to Johnathan Lewis, senior counsel for climate policy with the Clean Air Task Force, ethanol from corn in particular is linked to increased emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX) which contributes to and increases ozone formation.

    In March, the Growing Renewable Energy through Existing and New Environmentally Responsible (GREENER) Fuels Act to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was introduced to the US Senate and Congress. The GREENER Fuels Act sets out a clear goal of moving U.S. mandates away from a heavy reliance on food-based -- corn -- biofuels that have been linked to food price spikes and large-scale environmental contamination in the United States and around the world. (Source: EPA, Public News Service - NY, Aug., 2018) Contact: Clean Air Task Force, www.catf.us

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  EPA,  RFS,  Clean Air Task Force,  


    Montauk Energy Announces California Manure-to-RNG JV (Ind. Report)
    Montauk Energy
    Date: 2018-08-03
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-headquartered Montauk Energy LLC reports it has inked an 80 -20 joint venture agreement under which it will extract and convert cow manure on a California dairy farm into natural gas. Under the JV agreement, Montauk will own and operate a manure digester and build, own and operate a renewable natural gas (RNG) facility for 20 years.

    Montauk which has been engaged in commercial-scale development of renewable energy facilities for more than 30 years, was spun off from South African black empowerment investment company Hosken Consolidated Investments in 2014 but remains listed on the JSE.

    The company extracts and converts methane gas from waste landfills across the US where it benefits from subsidies through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. (Source: Montauk Energy LLC, Business Day, 2 Aug., 2018) Contact: Montauk Energy LLC, Marty Ryan, CEO, (412) 747-8700, www.montaukenergy.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Montauk Energy,  Biogas,  Anearobic Digestion,  


    National Biodiesel Board Challenging 2018 RFS (Reg & Leg)
    National Biodiesel Board
    Date: 2018-08-01
    The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) reports it filed an opening brief July 27 in its lawsuit objecting to U.S. EPA's methodology for establishing the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS). Specifically, the NBB claims: the EPA must account for all small refinery exemptions in the annual percentage standard; the EPA acted arbitrarily when it set the 2018 advanced biofuel volume below what it found to be “reasonably attainable"; and the agency set the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume based on impermissible considerations.

    The NBB brief is the first the courts will consider in arguing that EPA must account for all small refinery "hardship" exemptions -- including retroactively granted exemptions -- when it sets the annual RFS volumes and renewable volume obligations (RVOs).

    The NBB brief claims the "EPA unlawfully failed to account for all small-refinery exemptions it awards, violating its duty to promulgate percentage standards that 'ensure' all aggregate volumes are met. Unaccounted for small-refinery exemptions reduce aggregate volumes, and EPA's approach creates a new, de facto waiver authority contrary to Congress's design. Despite knowing those consequences, EPA declines to adjust percentage standards to account for that shortfall, either before it is likely to happen or after it actually does."

    The EPA has disclosed that it recently retroactively granted 48 small refinery hardship exemptions, reducing the 2016 and 2017 RVOs by a combined 2.25 billion RINs. In the brief, NBB notes that the exemptions reduced the 2016 RVOs by 4.3 pct and the 2017 RVOs by 7.5 pct.

    Separately, NBB estimates the 2016 and 2017 exemptions reduced demand for biodiesel by more than 300 million gallons, potentially putting hundreds of new jobs at risk.

    The NBB argues that EPA violated its duty to ensure that the annual volumes it sets are met and that the use of its cellulosic waiver authority to reduce the 2018 advanced biofuel RVO below the volume the agency determined would be reasonably attainable. The "EPA's view that it has unlimited discretion to do whatever it wants to the advanced-biofuel volume via the cellulosic waiver provision is not supported by this Court's precedents and would, if correct, render the provision unconstitutionally broad," the NBB brief states. the NBB brief also argues that EPA set the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume based on factors that are not mentioned in the RFS statute, while disregarding factors that are in the statute. "EPA set the 2019 BBD volume nearly identically to how it set the 2018 volume, which NBB is challenging in a separate proceeding. But the result here is even worse for the industry," NBB says in the brief. (Source: National Biodiesel Board , PR, 30 July, 2018) Contact: National Biodiesel Board, Kurt Kovarik, VP of Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News National Biodiesel Board ,  RFS,  Biofuel Blend,  


    Biofuels and the Environment: The Second Triennial Report to Congress -- Reports Attached (Ind. Report)

    Date: 2018-07-27
    The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). Section 204 calls for the EPA to report to Congress on the environmental and resource conservation impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

    This second report updates the findings of the first Report to Congress, published in 2011, reflects the current scientific understanding of the Section 204 impacts using data gathered through May 2017. Data on U.S. land use and the scientific literature through April 2017 were also reviewed. Greenhouse gas emission reductions that result from replacing fossil fuels with biofuels, nor comparisons to estimated environmental impacts of other transportation fuels or energy sources, are not included in this report.

    The 2011 report is available HERE.

    Download Biofuels and the Environment: The Second Triennial Report to Congress HERE. (Source: EPA Science Inventory, July, 2018) Contact: EPASI, PRADNYA BHANDARI , (202) 564-0000, Bhandari.Pradnya@epa.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  Biofuel,  


    EPA Approves Sorghum Oil as Biodiesel Feedstock (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuel Standard ,National Sorghum Producers
    Date: 2018-07-27
    In Washington, the US EPA reports the issuance of a final notice determining biodiesel and heating oil produced from distillers sorghum oil via a transesterification process, and renewable diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, naphtha, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) produced from distillers sorghum oil via a hydrotreating process, would meet the lifecycle GHG emissions reduction threshold of 50 pct required for advanced biofuels and biomass-based diesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

    The analysis considered a scenario where distillers sorghum oil is recovered from distillers grains with solubles (DGS) at dry mill plants that produce biofuel from grain sorghum and where the remaining reduced-oil DGS co-product is used as animal feed. The distillers sorghum oil is then used as a feedstock for conversion into certain biofuels.

    Additionally, the EPA is amending the RFS regulations by adding a new definition of "distillers sorghum oil" and replacing existing references to "non-food grade corn oil" with the newly defined term "distillers corn oil." (Source: EPA, National Sorghum Producers, Green Car Congress, 25 July, 2018) Contact: National Sorghum Producers, (806) 749-3478, info@sorghumgrowers.com, www.sorghumgrowers.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Sorghum,  Biodiesel,  Renewable Fuel Standard ,  


    Pruitt's Replacement Open to RFS Changes (Ind. Report)
    EPA
    Date: 2018-07-27
    This week in Washington, the Omaha World Herald is reporting former EPA top dog Greg Pruitt's replacement, Acting EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler commented: "When everybody's complaining about a program (the Renewable Fuel Standard RFS) from every side, then we ought to take a look and figure out if there's a way to make the program better, and I'm certainly open to trying to make the program better." Wheeler also noted that "the EPA must ensure it's following both the letter and spirit of the law" and rejected changes to ethanol policy in "piecemeal fashion." (Source: Various Media, Omaha World Herald, 26 July, 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel,  EPA,  Sorghum,  Biofuel Blend,  Pruitt,  


    Ergon Wrongfully Denied RFS Hardship Relief, Appeals Court Rules (Reg & Leg)
    Ergon
    Date: 2018-07-20
    In a recent release, Newell, West Firginia-based Ergon - West Virginia, Inc reports the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has vacated and remanded the EPA's denial of a 2016 petition for a small refinery "hardship waiver" filed by Ergon - West Virginia, Inc., (EWV) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

    Family-owned EWV owns and operates a 23,000 bpd specialty paraffinic refinery that produces paraffinic base oils, paraffinic bright stocks, waxes, petrolatum, petroleum resins, E10 gasoline and ultra low sulfur diesel.

    According to the press release, "EWV blends 10 pct ethanol with 99 pct of the gasoline it produces and will continue to do so, even without a mandate. However, EWV cannot pass through its RIN costs and the detrimental impact imposed by the RFS on EWV's high diesel production is unacceptable and counter to the intent of the RFS program."

    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: Ergon West Virginia, PR, Contact: Ergon West Virginia, Inc., Kirk Latson, VP Fuels Marketing, Kathy Potts, Communications & Marketing, (601) 933-3000, kathy.potts@ergon.com, www.ergon.com

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


    Iowa Gov. Comments on RFS (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Iowa Gov. Kim Reynols
    Date: 2018-07-20
    "Our (Iowa) farmers need some positive news. It's our hope new EPA leadership will adhere to promises made by President Trump to protect the RFS and grow demand for our homegrown fuels. It's time to end the domestic demand destruction by undermining of the RFS. It's time to open up the market for higher ethanol blends, E15 and above, to be sold year round. Unfortunately, the proposed RFS rule before us does neither of those things.

    "On the surface, the numbers appear positive. Conventional biofuels like corn ethanol are set at 15 billion gallons and cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel and total advanced levels are all proposed to increase. But the EPA's decision to grant numerous small-refinery waivers and to not reallocate those volumes as the law envisioned, undercuts the 15 billion gallon level.

    "These small refinery waivers have created the backdoor destruction of 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol demand. That means 500 million bushels of corn will be left in the bins, putting added pressure on already low commodity prices. Every RFS category is reduced by these small refiner waiver exemptions. In fact, it almost wipes out the proposed increase for advanced biofuels.

    "And the 15 billion gallons ethanol number is in reality more like 13.5 billion. To put that in context, nearly 1 billion gallons less ethanol than was blended into U.S. gasoline in 2017. That is not progress. That is not the letter or spirit of the RFS. And that is not what President Trump promised the voters of Iowa. This issue must be addressed. The criteria for exemptions must be reasonable and transparent, and any exemptions must be reallocated to the remaining obligated parties. Correcting the small refinery exemption excesses need to be in the final rule. 15 billion gallons must mean 15 billion gallons.

    "The former head )Pruitt) of the EPA often said that the decision to allow year-round sales of E15 was a matter of authority, not policy. The EPA has publicly acknowledged it has the authority, so it's time to act. It's also time for the EPA to stop ignoring a court order to restore 500 million gallons of conventional ethanol demand that was illegally waived by the Obama Administration for the 2016 compliance year." (Source: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), 18 July, 2018) Contact: Office of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, https://governor.iowa.gov

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


    ACE Testifies on Proposed 2019 RVOs (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    American Coalition for Ethanol
    Date: 2018-07-20
    The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) VP Ron Lamberty testified on July 18 during the public hearing in Ypsilanti, Mich., on the EPA's proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):

    "With the departure of the previous EPA Administrator (Pruitt) , I hope EPA will take this opportunity to return to implementing the RFS as intended by Congress. Pruitt's seemingly sole focus on helping merchant refiners ignore or skirt their longstanding obligations under the RFS has further shaken the rural farm economy while undermining Congress' goal of increasing renewable fuel use in the United States.

    "EPA's misapplication of the small refiner (hardship) waiver authority has destroyed an estimated 2.25 billion gallons of biofuel demand in 2016 and 2017 alone. The 2019 proposal does nothing to reallocate the gallons of ethanol lost due to RFS waivers, nor does it restore the 500 million gallons of biofuel demand lost because of EPA's actions in misapplying the economic harm waiver in the 2016 RVO as determined by the courts that ordered EPA to return those gallons as well. This RVO rulemaking is the perfect place for EPA to restore these biofuel volumes under the RFS, allow for E15 and higher blends to be sold year-round, and discard of its refiner win-at-all-costs mentality."

    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: American Coalition for Ethanol, Convenience Store Decisions, 19 July, 2018) Contact: American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, Ron Lamberty, VP, (605) 334-3381, https://ethanol.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News American Coalition for Ethanol,  RFS,  Pruitt,  HJardship Waiver,  


    EPA Plan to Force Refiners to Blend More Biofuels Nixed (Ind. Report)
    EPA, Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2018-07-13
    Reuters is reporting the US EPA as abandoned plans that would have forced refiners to blend more biofuels into their gasoline and diesel in 2019 to compensate for volumes likely to be exempted under the agency's small refinery hardship waiver program, according to newly released EPA documents.

    The plan would have boosted the renewable fuel blending obligation from 10.88 pct to 11.76 pct to offset volumes lost under the waiver program, which has been expanded sharply under Scott Pruitt's tenure at the EPA.

    The idea was apparently aimed at assuaging the U.S. corn lobby which has accused Trump's EPA of undermining the demand for biofuels like corn-based ethanol through the waiver program, but was scrapped amid intense protest from the refining industry, according to the Reuters report.

    The "hardship" exemptions representing some 2.25 million gallons worth of biofuel were granted for 2017 and 2016, including waivers covering 1.46 million compliance credits (RINS). The EPA projected some 8.18 billion gallons of gasoline and 5.44 billion gallons of diesel produced by small refiners would be exempt from the requirements in 2019, according to the EPA.

    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: EPA, Manitoba Co-oporator, Various Media, Reuters, 12 July, 2018)

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


    Notable Quotes on Pruitt's Exit
    Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2018-07-09
    "We don't see how we can do much worse than we had with Mr. Pruitt. He had been waging war against the RFS and really waging war against the farmers and rural Americans that had helped Donald Trump win the presidency, and so it isn't surprising to us that this resignation happened. I guess we're a little surprised it didn’t happen sooner." -- Geoff Cooper, Senior VP, Renewable Fuels Association

    "He had completely undermined the ethanol industry. He was handing out waivers like candy. The last number I saw was 2.25 billion gallons of ethanol had been waived from the RFS. President Trump continues to talk about giving E15 full-year access, and these refiner waivers are just unacceptable." -- Lisa Richardson, Exec. Dir., South Dakota Corn Growers Association

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Pruitt,  Ethanol,  RFS,  Ethanol Blend,  Renewable Fuels Association,  


    TOTAL TX Refinery Considered RFS "Hardship Waiver" (Ind. Report)
    TOTAL
    Date: 2018-06-29
    Paris-headquartered French oil and natural gas giant TOTAL, the fourth-largest oil company in the world, CEO Patrick Pouyanne reportedly contemplated asking the US EPA for a Renewable fuel standard "hardship" waiver exempting a refiney it owns in Texas from having to blend ethanol into the U.S. gasoline supply. The company's legal team, however, reportedly replied to Pouyanne's suggestion with an emphatic "No. Our refinery is too big," according to Pouyanne.

    As previously reported, "hardship" waivers were intended for small refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and those that suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: TOTAL, Various Media, Washington Post, June 25, 2018) Contact: TOTAL, www.total.com/en

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


    NATSO Testifies on RFS Hardship Waivers (Ind. Report)
    NATSO
    Date: 2018-06-27
    In Alexandria, a Chicago-area travel center executive testifying on behalf of the National Association of Truck Stop Owners (NATSO) told a House panel that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is successfully incentivizing travel centers to incorporate advanced biofuels such as biodiesel into their fuel supply, but also warned that the EPA's recent practice of exempting certain refiners from their renewable fuels obligations undermines the law's intent and decreases demand for biofuels.

    The Annual renewable fuel volume obligations established under the RFS are designed to create market certainty and encourage fuel retailers to invest in the infrastructure necessary to incorporate and sell biodiesel. The executive testified that the EPA's recent granting of an unprecedented number of retroactive "hardship" exemptions to refineries has functioned as de facto mandate cuts in the biofuel volume obligations. Retroactively issued waivers create market uncertainty, ultimately diminishing the value of the biodiesel investments that Congress encouraged fuel retailers to make when it developed the RFS.

    "It is imperative that EPA immediately re-evaluate its criteria for issuing the small refinery waivers. Going forward, I would hope that EPA act in a manner that is more consistent with the RFS by requiring all waiver requests be received and assessed prior to finalizing biofuel mandates for a given compliance year."

    NATSO is the trade association of America's travel plaza and truckstop industry. Founded in 1960, NATSO represents the industry on legislative and regulatory matters; serves as the official source of information on the diverse travel plaza and truckstop industry; provides education to its members; conducts an annual convention and trade show; and supports efforts to generally improve the business climate in which its members operate. (Source: NATSO, PR, June, 2018) Contact: NATSO, Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman, (703) 739-8578, twlazlowski@natso.com, www.natso.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NATSO,  RFS,  Biodiesel,  RFS,  RFS Hardship Waiver,  


    Notable Quotes and Duly Noted
    TOTAL
    Date: 2018-06-27
    "To be honest with you, we don't consider biofuels the best policy. Biofuels are not the best way to eliminate CO2 emissions. It's not possible."

    "(The U.S.) renewable fuel program was a mistake done by the Congress some years ago. Congress erred by basing the standard on reaching some volumes as an absolute number and not as a percentage." -- Patrick Pouyanne, CEO of French energy giant TOTAL

    More Low-Carbon Energy News TOTAL,  RFS,  


    Notable Quotes and Worth Noting
    RFS
    Date: 2018-06-25
    "Pruitt needs to understand that his actions to continue to grant (RFS "hardship") waivers, now retroactively, to oil refineries is undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard -- a program that Administrator Pruitt told Congress he was committed to upholding." -- Sen. Joni Ernst, (Iowa-R) Contact: Senator Joni Ernst, (2020 724-3264, https://contactsenators.com/iowa/joni-ernst

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  


    EPA Stalls Biofuel Blend Quota Announcement (Ind. Report)
    EPA
    Date: 2018-06-25
    Bloomberg and others are reporting oil industry criticism has caused the Trump Administration to reconsider a proposal to require large refineries to blend more biofuel to make up for "hardship" exemptions granted to smaller refineries. Accordingly, the EPA has put a planned announcement on proposed biofuel quotas for 2019 on hold.

    Ethanol producers and farm-state lawmakers say that recent waivers granted to small refiners have undercut the Renewable Fuels Standard. The Trump administration's plan to make up for the lost biofuel gallons would have put the burden on non-exempted refineries, prompting an outcry from the two top oil industry trade groups.

    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: Various Media, Bloomberg, HoosierAg Today, 24 June, 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard,  Ethanol Blend,  Pruitt,  


    ADM, DuPont Collaborate on Cellulose Enzymes (Ind. Report)
    Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), DuPont Industrial Biosciences
    Date: 2018-06-22
    Chicago-headquartered Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) and DuPont Industrial Biosciences report they are collaborating to develop, produce and market cellulase enzymes for grain-based ethanol production.

    Cellulase enzymes assist in hydrolyzing the corn kernel fiber which, broken down, releases more sugars to be fermented into ethanol.

    Ethanol from corn kernel fiber may qualify for D3 RINS under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) which encourages producers to utilize non-starch components of grains and other waste products in the production of biofuels. Initial product prototypes have proven successful in both laboratory and ethanol plant scale testing, and more evaluations are planned, the companies say. (Source: ADM, DuPont, World-Grain, 21 June, 2018) Contact: DuPont Industrial Biosciences, Troy Wilson, www.biosciences.dupont.com; ADM, Juan Luciano, Pres., CEO, (312) 634-8100, Collin Benson, VP Bioactives, Jackie Anderson, ADM Media, (217) 424-5413, media@adm.com, www.adm.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Archer Daniels Midland ,  DuPont Industrial Biosciences,  Cellulosic,  Enzyne,  


    Notable Quotes
    RFA
    Date: 2018-06-22
    "(The) EPA is trying to undermine the RFS program under the cover of night. And there's a reason it has been done in secret -- it's because EPA is acting in contravention of the statute and its own regulations, methodically destroying the demand for renewable fuel." -- RFA Pres. Bob Dineen discussing the EPA's recent granting of numerous RFS "hardship" waivers. Contact: RFA, Bob Dineen, Pres., (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

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

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