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Energy News

Ethanol-State Senators Wait for Proposal from Cruz, Who Maintains Hold on USDA Nominee

DTN | Posted on December 28, 2017

 Sen. Ted Cruz has now gotten multiple meetings at the White House over the Renewable Fuels Standard but the Texas Republican still maintains his hold on Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey's undersecretary nomination at USDA. And, following a meeting Wednesday with staff from several senators at the White House's Eisenhower Executive Office Building, it seems Cruz doesn't know what exactly he wants changed with the Renewable Fuel Standard."He just keeps moving the goalpost and moving the goalpost," said a frustrated Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, on Thursday.Staff from the offices of Sens. Ernst, Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Deb Fischer, R-Neb., joined White House staff Wednesday afternoon to discuss options, but staff from Cruz's office and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., did not have any proposals to offer and were not ready to negotiate.


Texas Senator Seeks RIN Cap

DTN | Posted on December 28, 2017

 Leaders in the biofuels industry wrote President Donald Trump on Friday after learning Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, had floated a proposal to the White House that would essentially cap prices for renewable identification number (RIN) credits at 10 cents apiece. The proposal from the Texas senator, negotiating on behalf of oil refiners, spurred major players in both biofuels and commodity crops industries to send a letter Friday to President Donald Trump detailing why the RIN market exists, how it is operated by EPA, and some of the problems EPA has in providing transparency on RIN trading.Most importantly, the letter praised President Trump for his support of the biofuels industry and reiterated the need to ensure any policy changes don't undercut billions of dollars in biofuels infrastructure that has been put in place since the Renewable Fuel Standard was created.


Tallying Economic Effects of the RFS Decade

DTN | Posted on December 28, 2017

Look no further than how falling commodity prices have affected rural America in recent years, and you'll get a feel for what the Renewable Fuel Standard has meant to the countryside. Back in 2005 when the first RFS was signed into law, it was challenging just to keep up on the seemingly endless number of announced plans to build corn ethanol plants. Investor groups made public announcements, followed by local, small-town meetings attended largely by farmers and community investors curious about ethanol's economic potential.Today, the farm economy continues on a decline as input costs have remained higher while corn remains priced in the $3 to $4 range. Imagine the state of things without the corn market created by ethanol.Prior to the first RFS from 1997 to 2004, average corn prices nationally averaged between $1.86 and $2.60 per bushel, according to farmdoc at the University of Illinois. From 2006 to 2016, farmdoc said the average annual corn price ranged from $1.96 to $6.67. That meant more money was injected into rural economies following the passage of the second RFS.Do the math: take away the ethanol market and rural America's challenges may be far more difficult.A nine-page analysis by the Renewable Fuels Association released this week provides a look at the numbers.


BP Plunges Back Into Solar Energy

Triple Pundit | Posted on December 28, 2017

In an attempt to stay relevant in the low carbon economy of the future, some leading oil and gas stakeholders have been ramping up their investments in renewable energy. BP is among that group, and the company just sank $200 million into a major solar energy deal with the company Lightsource. The new investment is especially noteworthy for the sharp contrast it makes with BP’s previous attempts to move “beyond petroleum.”


Ag Secretary Says Oil Refiners Need RFS Relief, But Farmers Also Need Strong NAFTA

DTN | Posted on December 26, 2017

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue reiterated Tuesday that President Donald Trump will keep his support for the Renewable Fuel Standard, but said changes are needed to help the oil-refining industry deal with what is seen as speculation in the market for renewable fuel credits.


Floating solar fuels rig created for seawater electrolysis

Science Daily | Posted on December 21, 2017

Design is the first practical floating solar hydrogen-generating device to perform water electrolysis without pumps or membranes; could lead to low-cost, sustainable hydrogen production


Illinois Praised as Property Tax Model for Wind Farms

Tristates Public Radio | Posted on December 21, 2017

Illinois' taxing model for wind energy companies is touted as one of the best in the country, bringing in $30.4 million in property taxes in 2016, according to economic experts. Barton DeLacy, a tax expert from Chicago, said that the Illinois system is a good model that is very close to the value he gives to wind farms and is much more consistent than in other states.


U.S. renewable energy industry relieved as Republicans keep tax credits

Reuters | Posted on December 18, 2017

The U.S. renewable energy industry expressed relief after a compromise Republican tax bill preserved key tax credits that had been at risk of being removed, but it raised concerns about a provision that may threaten investment in the sector.The final tax bill retains the production and investment tax credits for wind and solar energy that have spurred investment in the fast-growth industries. It also eliminates the alternative minimum tax, which would have reduced the value of those credits.


California and Washington state join carbon pledge in defiance of Trump

Reuters | Posted on December 18, 2017

California and Washington state joined five nations on the Pacific coast of the Americas on Tuesday to agree to step up the use of a price on carbon dioxide emissions as a central economic policy to slow climate change.The U.S. states were acting in defiance of President Donald Trump who says he doubts that man-made greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are the prime cause of global warming and plans to quit the 2015 Paris climate accord.


The simple way we might turn food waste into green energy

NBC | Posted on December 18, 2017

Scientists have been looking for solutions to the food waste problem, and now researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, think they've hit upon a possible fix. They say that by making use of a pair of simple chemical processes — hydrothermal liquefaction and anaerobic digestion — we could turn food waste into environmentally friendly biofuel.


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