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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE April 15, 2014

Dual Turning Point for Biofuels

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS, New York Times  •    •  Posted April 15, 2014

There is an old joke in the energy business that advanced biofuels are the fuel of the future, and always will be. Spanish company, Abengoa Bioenergy, has bet $500 million on robbing that joke of its punch line. In the middle of a cornfield here it is building a 38-acre Erector set of electrical cable and pipe that will soon begin producing cellulosic ethanol, which it calls a low-polluting alternative to petroleum products. This is just as the George W. Bush administration and Congress intended seven years ago with legislation promoting energy independence. But even as Abengoa and other companies prepare to produce significant amounts of cellulosic ethanol, using corn stalks and wheat straw as opposed to corn itself, the appetite for such fuels seems to be diminishing. [ read more … ]

Branstad pushes for more ethanol

Mike Wiser Times Bureau, Quad City Times  •    •  Posted April 15, 2014

Two Iowa service stations will get $125,000 each to cover the cost of offering higher-ethanol blend fuels, Gov. Terry Branstad announced Monday.
Farmer’s Cooperative in Mount Ayr and Oak Street Station in Inwood each received part of $250,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Fueling Our Future” pilot project. They were two of the total four applicants for the grant — winners were selected by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Board — announced six months ago. Both award recipients needed to supply matching funds for their blender pump projects in order to get the award. [ read more … ]

GAO: Delays in issuing annual RFS hurt refiners

By Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill.com  •    •  Posted April 15, 2014

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released Monday said when the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) is late in issuing its annual Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) it increases costs for refiners. The RFS each year sets the amount of biofuels refiners must blend into the nation’s fuel supply. The standards have contributed to declining petroleum consumption while increasing costs, according to the report. [ read more … ]

EPA should address yearly RFS delays to help refiners — GAO

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted April 15, 2014

The federal renewable fuel standard is one of the major changes facing the U.S. petroleum refining sector in recent years and has contributed to declining petroleum fuel consumption, as well as increased regulatory uncertainty and compliance costs for refiners, according to the government’s watchdog agency. The Government Accountability Office said in a report completed last month and released today that U.S. EPA should come up with a plan to address the delays in issuing yearly renewable fuel targets to help address some of the challenges with the biofuel mandate. “A late RFS contributes to industry uncertainty, which can increase costs because industry cannot plan and budget effectively, according to some stakeholders,” the watchdog said. [ read more … ]

IPCC strikes reference to a controversial land-use factor

Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted April 15, 2014

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change removed a reference to indirect land-use change, a point that provoked sharp disagreement in the final Working Group III “Summary for Policymakers” report released yesterday. An earlier version of the report seen by ClimateWire indicates that there is medium evidence in the existing body of scientific studies that “the scientific debate about the marginal emissions of most bioenergy pathways … such as indirect land use change, remains unresolved.” Indirect land-use change, ILUC for short, accounts for the impacts of rising biofuel demand and grain prices on cropland around the world. For example, if more acres in the American Midwest are allocated to growing corn for ethanol, this could push up the price of corn in Brazil, where farmers could expand crops into rainforest areas. [ read more … ]

IPCC summary calls for action sooner rather than later to address warming

Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted April 15, 2014

The world needs to ramp up the ambition of its greenhouse gas reduction goals — and do so quickly — if it is to avoid the worst effects of global warming, a U.N. panel of experts warned yesterday. A draft summary of the mitigation section of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report, released yesterday in Berlin, showed that the world’s current greenhouse gas emissions reduction pledges are likely to hold warming to 3 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels — if countries stick to them. But scientists have warned that if human emissions push warming above 2 degrees Celsius compared with that base line, that will open the door to dangerous and costly shifts in the world’s climate. [ read more … ]

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.