News

EPA retreat from 2013 goal would stunt growth — industry

Source: Amanda Peterka • E&E • Posted: Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Biodiesel producers are warning U.S. EPA that lowering a proposed fuel standard volume requirement next year would have “devastating” consequences for the industry, slowing the momentum that last year led to record production of the renewable fuel.

Ethanol plant in Iowa to expand algae production

Source: DAVID SHAFFER • Posted: Friday, February 3rd, 2012

A Midwest ethanol company says it will begin building a five-acre production facility to grow algae fed by carbon dioxide emitted by its ethanol plant in Shenandoah, Iowa.

Why the Clean Tech Boom Went Bust

Source: Juliet Eilperin • Wired (February) • Posted: Friday, February 3rd, 2012

In 2005, VC investment in clean tech measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The following year, it ballooned to $1.75 billion, according to the National Venture Capital Association. By 2008, the year after Doerr’s speech, it had leaped to $4.1 billion. And the federal government followed. Through a mix of loans, subsidies, and tax breaks, it directed roughly $44.5 billion into the sector between late 2009 and late 2011. Avarice, altruism, and policy had aligned to fuel a spectacular boom. Anyone who has heard the name Solyndra knows how this all panned out. Due to a confluence of factors—including fluctuating silicon prices, newly cheap natural gas, the 2008 financial crisis, China’s ascendant solar industry, and certain technological realities—the clean-tech bubble has burst, leaving us with a traditional energy infrastructure still overwhelmingly reliant on fossil fuels. The fallout has hit almost every niche in the clean-tech sector—wind, biofuels, electric cars, and fuel cells—but none more dramatically than solar.

Sweeping energy package reaches House floor

Source: Phil Taylor • E&E • Posted: Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

House Republicans yesterday advanced a trio of energy bills that would allow a vast expansion of oil and gas development in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Gulf of Mexico and in the oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The bills, which passed the Natural Resources Committee on mostly party-line votes, now move to the House floor where they are expected to join Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) “American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act.”

Valero reports record Iowa ethanol results

Source: Dan Piller • Des Moines Register • Posted: Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Valero Energy of San Antonio, which owns ethanol production plants at Fort Dodge, Albert City, Hartley and Charles City, reported record results from its ethanol production in 2011. The company said “Valero’s ethanol segment reported its highest quarter ever with $181 million in operating income, versus $70 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. The increase in ethanol operating income was mainly due to higher gross margins and an increase in production volumes to a record-high quarterly average of 3.5 million gallons per day. The ethanol segment also set an annual record with $396 million in operating income in 2011.”

Brazil’s tax on imported ethanol sparks investigation cry

Western Farm Press • Posted: Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk urging him to investigate the news that the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo was imposing a 25 percent tax on all imported ethanol. Port Santos in Sao Paulo is the main port of entry for U.S. ethanol exports to Brazil, which accounted for an estimated 400 million gallons in 2011.

Brazilian Imported Ethanol Tax Questioned

NAFB News Service • Posted: Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

The Renewable Fuels Association is urging U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk to investigate the news that the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo was imposing a 25 percent tax on all imported ethanol.

Pipelines, pump prices fuel political theater with few hard truths

Source: Elana Schor • E&E • Posted: Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

What do Libyan rebels, Wall Street traders, Federal Reserve bankers and anti-drilling greens have in common? Over the past year, members of Congress in both parties have variously blamed all four for the mercurial prices of oil and gas. The villain changes with the season and the ideological leanings of lawmakers in search of a scapegoat to soothe voters riled by the economic toll wreaked by expensive fuel. But as 2012 begins with President Obama and the oil industry hailing the nation’s rise as a petroleum powerhouse, Washington fingers are beginning to point at the web of pipelines that ship crude between the five American refining districts and the booming Canadian oil sands.

Senate Tuesday group has bipartisan energy legislation in its sights

Source: Jean Chemnick • E&E • Posted: Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Senate supporters of efforts to curb carbon dioxide emissions hope to cobble together a package this year that would boost energy efficiency and alternative energy — and can pass the Senate. The group, headed by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), revived their Tuesday meetings late last year, and approximately 20 Democrats attend regularly.

Giving ethanol a good name: Advocates tout increase in production, jobs for state

Source: M.P. KING • Wisconsin State Journal • Posted: Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Eric Huschitt is tired of the bad rap that plagues the ethanol industry. For instance, the general manager and vice president of operations at Badger State Ethanol that sits on the edge of Monroe is aware that the expiration of the federal ethanol tax credit at the end of 2011 was one of those rare subjects that liberals and conservatives came together to support.