Minnesota is the only Midwest state ranked in the top 10 of the annual American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The state’s ninth place standing, announced this week, topped Michigan and Illinois (tied for 11th); Iowa (19th); Wisconsin (24th); Ohio (31st) and Indiana (40th). South Dakota and North Dakota rounded out the bottom.Last year Minnesota ranked 10th on the scorecard and was, once again, the only Midwest state to make the Top 10.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering a major change to the Renewable Fuel Standard that could include offering biofuel credits attached to gallons of ethanol exported from the United States. Already this week, the U.S. biofuels industry took a punch to the gut when the EPA announced it was considering more cuts in some biofuel volumes in addition to cuts already proposed in the Renewable Fuel Standard.Now, another media outlet, citing anonymous sources, reported the agency is considering a proposal from Valero Energy to leave renewable identification numbers, or RINs, attached to U.S. ethanol gallons produced in the United States and exported. Currently, RINs are removed from exported gallons.Valero said in Aug. 31 public comments to EPA on the RFS that keeping RINs attached to exports would help ease pressure on the RINs market.When contacted by DTN an EPA spokesman said, "EPA is currently seeking input from all stakeholders involved. Nothing has been finalized at this time."
The design of Vortex's generators offers a potentially revolutionary shift from today's traditional designs, blades and all. One key facet of the Vortex design is that it uses less material than conventional turbines, meaning less maintenance as well as less noise. Vortex is not the only business looking to develop new ideas and technology in the field of wind energy. Kite Power Systems, for example, is a U.K.-based business that wants to use kites to harness wind energy. Earlier this year, CNBC spoke to researchers in the U.S. looking to develop vast wind turbines taller than the Eiffel Tower.According to Vortex co-founder David Suriol, the business is targeting the residential market. "My vision, and I think it's the vision of the team, is to change the landscape," he said.Looking at the bigger picture, the executive director of RenewableUK predicted a bright future when it came to both renewables in general and wind.
Federal officials moved forward with requirements that states track vehicle emissions on federal highways after months of delays that prompted California and seven other states to sue. But they might repeal the new rules next year anyway, rendering this week's decision moot. The rules require state transportation departments to track on-road emissions of greenhouse gas emissions by looking at gas purchased and miles traveled on federal highways. States must then set emissions targets, with the goal of reducing them over time. Emissions from cars, trucks and other vehicles make up roughly 27 percent of the nation's total greenhouse emissions.In the short term, the rules will move forward. But federal officials will also undertake a fresh review of whether they're necessary or could be made better.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced yesterday that his state will sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its decision not to require 36 coal-fired power plant units in five upwind states to run their existing air pollution controls more frequently. In July, Maryland officials indicated they were considering a lawsuit, after the EPA rejected a request to broaden the roster of states in the region responsible for helping address cross-state pollution. EPA allowed itself a six-month extension to act on the petition, which expired in mid July. Maryland estimates that, on some days, up to 70% of its ozone problem originates from emissions in upwind states.
The Illinois Supreme Court has dealt a punishing blow to the proposed clean-power "super highway" designed to transmit output from Iowa and Dakotas wind farms to the Chicago market. The state's high court today upheld an Illinois Appellate Court ruling that concluded state regulators improperly approved the Rock Island Clean Line project.
A notice from the Environmental Protection Agency has the biofuels community up in arms as they face the prospect of a potential hit to renewable fuel blending levels. the EPA released a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) giving public notice and inviting comment on “potential options for reductions in the 2018 biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes, and/or the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.” A 15-day comment period will be triggered when the NODA is published in the Federal Register. In July, the EPA announced Renewable Volume Obligations for 2018 as well as biomass-based diesel for 2019 at levels that didn’t exactly thrill biofuels supporters. The biodiesel RVO was proposed at 2.1 billion gallons, the same level proposed for 2018. That negated some of the happiness about the Trump administration leaving room for 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel, the amount called for in the legislation that created the RFS.In the NODA, the agency discusses reductions of biomass-based diesel by 315 million gallons, lowering the advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel RVO by the equivalent of 473 million ethanol Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs. The NODA cites concerns over biodiesel imports which it says “could affect our analysis” of factors used to set the Renewable Volume Obligations in the first place.
Millions of Florida residents lost power after Hurricane Irma raged through the state. But homeowners with solar energy installations couldn’t use them during the outage – or they’d be breaking the law. State code requires people to connect their homes to the local electric grid – and when parts of it were damaged after the hurricane, even those homeowners with solar power were legally obliged to sit in the dark.
The cost of renewables is plunging faster than forecasters anticipated just a few years ago as as technologies like gigantic wind turbines arrive on the market. That’s the conclusion of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), whose founder Michael Liebreich estimated that clean energy will reap 86 percent of the $10.2 trillion likely to be invested in power generation by 2040.In a presentation to the research group’s conference in London on Tuesday, Liebreich said technology that’s slashing the costs of wind and solar farms makes it inevitable that clean energy will become more economical than fossil fuels for utilities in many places. The most visible advance is in the scale of wind turbines.
In New York state, New Yorkers in downstate counties will soon benefit from cleaner air due to the increased use of Bioheat fuel in heating oil. Legislation signed Sept. 13 by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo requires Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties to follow New York City’s lead by blending at least 5 percent biodiesel (B5) into all home heating oil sold by July 1, 2018. New York City, the largest municipal consumer of heating oil in the country, has already taken advantage of biodiesel’s benefits by instituting a citywide 2 percent biodiesel requirement in 2012 that increases to 5 percent on Oct. 1, 2017. Now the entire New York City Metropolitan Area, representing approximately 70 percent of the state’s heating oil market, will have a 5 percent biodiesel blending requirement.