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Energy News

Missouri Dept of Energy to award approximately $5.1 million in energy loans

St Louis News | Posted on November 16, 2017

The Missouri Division of Energy announced today approximately $5.1 million has been awarded for low-interest loans to assist four public schools, three city/county governments, and one fire protection district with energy-efficiency and renewable energy projects. The funded projects, which are expected to support 65 jobs and benefit more than 439,062 Missourians, are expected to result in annual energy savings of approximately $720,484. The loans will be repaid with money saved on energy costs as a result of implementing these upgrades and improvements. In addition, the projects will reduce electricity use by more than 10,101,195 kilowatt hour (kWh) and natural gas use by 4,915 Million Btu (MMBtu), avoiding 7,362 metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution, which equates to removing 1,556 passenger cars from the road for a year.

Wisconsin Businessman Creates Fund To Help Nonprofits Go Solar

WUWM | Posted on November 16, 2017

Cal Couillard has been intrigued with solar energy since the 1970s. But, it wasn't until this year that he took the plunge, and had solar panels installed at his Edgerton-based business.  He also created a fund to help others "go solar." Solar energy used to be expensive, Coulliard explains, and therefore, only people who wanted to be green jumped aboard. Now, he says, prices have dropped dramatically and it makes sense financially.

Oil Industry Group Tells Barrasso E15 Storage not Compatible, RFA Says not so Fast

DTN | Posted on November 16, 2017

Though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering the legalities of allowing year-round E15 sales, the Renewable Fuels Association said in a news release on Wednesday a petroleum group is spreading misinformation about E15 underground storage tanks and the Renewable Fuel Standard. In a letter to Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America made the claim petroleum marketers will not be able to legally sell E15 because underground storage tanks are "non-compatible." In addition, the group asks Barrasso to work toward reducing RFS volumes because of "severe" economic harm.Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, reportedly continues to hold up the nomination of Bill Northey to a post at the USDA until President Donald Trump's administration holds a meeting with oil companies and lawmakers from oil-producing states.In the letter to Barrasso the PMAA said, "As you meet with the Trump administration to discuss the RFS, PMAA respectfully requests that you take small business petroleum marketers' concerns into consideration." In response, the RFA contacted Barrasso to counter the PMAA claims about E15, "Since 1990, all steel tanks and double-walled fiberglass tanks have been approved to store up to 100% ethanol," RFA said in a letter to Barrasso.

Iowa company will convert cow manure into natural gas. But is it an environmental asset or hazard?

Des Moines Register | Posted on November 16, 2017

Walz Energy plans to custom-feed 1,680 cattle in each of six partially enclosed open feedlots. "We'll be the hotel, the inn-keeper, the caregiver," Haman said. All the manure will be captured under the cattle in 2-foot deep manure pits "that will be flushed at least twice a day," Haman said.The manure will be mixed with feed and food waste, which will get pumped directly into storage tanks before getting mixed into six,1.5-million-gallon anaerobic digesters."Anything that stinks makes gas," Haman said.Micro-organisms will break down the waste, and the methane will be pulled off, converted into natural gas, and pushed through existing underground pipes to end-users.What's left over — called digestate — will be stored in the operation's 39-million-gallon open lagoon. Each fall the liquid fertilizer will be applied to farmland.The project is getting no state or federal tax credits, grants or loans.

Biofuels Fight Is Brewing Between U.S. and Brazil Over Ethanol

Bloomberg | Posted on November 15, 2017

The U.S. biofuels industry, fresh off a win against Big Oil, is lining up for a fight with Brazil. American ethanol producers said Thursday in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that they’re seeking Brazil’s suspension from a trade program allowing duty-free imports into the U.S. The move follows Brazil’s decision in August to slap a 20 percent tariff on ethanol shipments from the U.S. that exceed a 600 million-liter (158 million-gallon) annual quota.The U.S. ethanol lobby was buoyed last month by President Donald Trump’s instruction to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to support the Renewable Fuel Standard, a law mandating the use of fuels such as corn-based ethanol and soy-based biodiesel. Trump’s personal interventioncame despite the objections of oil refiners.

Massive Fracking on Nevada Public Lands Sought by Trump Administration, Conservation Groups Launch Legal Protest

EcoWatch | Posted on November 15, 2017

The protest—filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, WildLands Defense and Basin and Range Watch—says the BLM has violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act by failing to analyze the risks of drilling for oil and fracking with dangerous chemicals on such a massive scale. Development of these parcels, one of the largest fracking plans in the country, could contaminate ground and surface water, threaten endangered species and cause irreparable harm to the global climate. "The Trump administration is putting some of Nevada's most critical water supplies at risk of fracking pollution by auctioning off this public land to oil companies," said Patrick Donnelly, the Center for Biological Diversity's Nevada state director. "This plan reeks of callous disregard for our state's water and wildlife. Trump's BLM is flagrantly violating our nation's environmental laws to line the pockets of the fossil-fuel industry. "

Rural program generates energy savings through efficiency

Billings Gazette | Posted on November 15, 2017

Low-to-moderate income renters and homeowners in rural Arkansas are reaping the savings from a program they pay for themselves over time to improve energy efficiency in their house or apartment.Tammy Agard, president and co-founder of EEtility in Arkansas, told nearly 190 people attending the 46th annual meeting of the Northern Plains Resource Council Saturday about a program in which an energy cooperative lends people money for energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements to their homes.Residents pay nothing out-of-pocket for the improvements, but instead pay off the loan over time through their monthly utility bill.One rule of thumb: The resident’s saving needs to be at least 20 percent more than the cost of the improvements.The on-bill loan program is also known as tariff on-bill financing. What Agard appreciates about the program she manages is that “it helps low-income people achieve energy efficiency. The mentality used to be that energy efficiency is for wealthy people, and not for me. We are proud to be at the forefront.”

Indiana University To Turn GHG Emissions Into Plant Fertilizer

WBAA | Posted on November 15, 2017

Indiana University wants to improve its sustainability – and it’s turning to a novel way of recycling to do so. The school’s main campus will turn its greenhouse gas emissions into plant fertilizer with the help of a photobioreactor. The machine is made out of PVC pipe and will sit on top of the university’s central heating plant. There, it will capture plant emissions, which will be used to feed algae, which project co-leader Chip Glaholt says will be turned into plant fertilizer.“Our goal is just to reduce waste on campus, and see that as a great achievement in itself,” he says.The system will be built with the help of a $50,000 grant from Duke Energy. It will conserve 200 pounds of carbon and $4,000 worth of fertilizer – not a tremendous amount in the grand scheme of things, Glaholt says. But, he adds, the system is sustainable and can be doubled in size for only $2,000.

Illinois rated second in the country in grid modernization survey

Midwest Energy News | Posted on November 15, 2017

Last week, Illinois was again awarded top marks in a national assessment of how states are modernizing electricity transmission and distribution systems, even as local energy advocates say there is much more work to be done in the state. The Grid Modernization Index ranked Illinois second in the nation overall, after California. It was the fourth such assessment produced by GridWise Alliance, a national organization representing grid operators, designers, and other energy stakeholders.The group applauded Illinois for its NextGrid initiative, a statewide program aimed at building agreement around a pathway to modernize the Illinois electricity system. The state “began aggressively planning in early 2017 for the utility of the future by initiating the NextGrid initiative, which aims to examine the use of new technologies to improve the state’s electric grid while minimizing energy costs to consumers.”

California may reach 50% renewable power goal by 2020 — 10 years early

San Francisco Chronicle | Posted on November 14, 2017

Two years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown signed an ambitious law ordering California utility companies to get 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.It looks like they may hit that goal a decade ahead of schedule.