The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 5, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the Conversion-Ready Feedstock Webinar Series. These webinars will be primarily educational to showcase research strategies that enable biomass feedstock management variability and supply chain improvements in biomass quality and consistency. Two webinar sessions will be part of this series.  The first webinar was held on June 13, 2019, and the second webinar will be held on June 20, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. (MDT). Interested parties may register by accessing DOE BETO’s notice here.

Tags: DOE, BETO

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 3, 2019, 19 members of Congress submitted a letter to U.S. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Chair of the House Committee on Ways & Means, Richard Neal (D-MA), addressing the expired Second-Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit, the Special Depreciation Allowance for Second-Generation Biofuel Plant Property, and the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credits. Urging Congress to take action on the extension of these tax credits, the letter emphasizes the importance of these credits in stabilizing capital intensive, higher-risk technology projects and in allowing more time to plan for longer-term policy around alternative fuels and infrastructure. The extension request proposes that the House Ways & Means Committee consider a multi-year extension of these credits to reassure the second-generation biofuels, the rural economy, and the refueling infrastructure industry.

Tags: Biofuel, Tax

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 3, 2019, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report to the U.S. Senate on the Renewable Fuel Standard’s (RFS) program effects on gas prices and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Titled Renewable Fuel Standard: Information on Likely Program Effects on Gasoline Prices and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, the report suggests that increases in gas prices outside of the Midwest (which have now diminished) were associated with the nationwide RFS, and that variations in gas prices likely depended on state-by-state transport and storage of ethanol costs. In addition, price increases occurred in states that did not have the initial infrastructure to blend and store ethanol. Regarding GHG emissions, the report states that RFS has had a limited effect, if any. GAO provided two reasons for this limited effect: (1) RFS relies on conventional corn-starch ethanol, which has smaller potential to reduce GHG emissions; and (2) most corn-starch ethanol has been produced in plants that are exempt from emission reduction requirements. In addition, GAO reports concerns that RFS will not meet the GHG emissions reduction goals that it envisioned by 2020. Lastly, GAO reports that the renewable identification numbers (RIN) had a small effect on prices. EPA analysis identified areas of concern within RINs, which included possible fraud in the market, price volatility, and concerns about the impact they have on small refiners.

Tags: RFS, GHG

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 7, 2019, DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Office published in the Federal Register a notice requesting the nomination for candidates to fill vacancies on the Biomass Research and Development (R&D) Technical Advisory Committee. Nominations are being accepted until June 30, 2019, and require the nominee’s name, resume, biography, and any letters of support available. The Committee advises DOE and USDA points of contact with respect to the Biomass R&D Initiative and priority technical biomass R&D needs, and makes written recommendations to the Biomass R&D Board.

Tags: DOE, EERE, Biomass

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 31, 2019, the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) launched Clean Growth Future Vision, a document outlining FPS’ vision for cutting carbon through the development of biofuels. FPS is a trade association for the liquid fuels distribution industry and ancillary interests in the United Kingdom (UK) and the Republic of Ireland. FPS urges the government to be technology neutral and to consider options other than electrification. Guy Pulham, FPS’ Chief Executive, commented that in the short-term, consumer encouragement to make energy efficiency changes are necessary to reduce carbon emissions. In the long-term, Pulham stated that FPS intends to work with relevant bodies and consumer groups to ensure various solutions can be found for different homes and budgets. FPS will also work on testing low-carbon fuels and working with the supply chain to reduce fossil fuel content in liquid fuels. The goal is to reach zero fossil fuel content by the Paris Agreement deadline.

Tags: Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 30, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released in final the regulatory changes allowing gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol (E15) to take advantage of the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that applies to E10 during the summer months. This means that E15 can now be sold year-round in the U.S. without additional RVP control rather than just eight months of the year. EPA also released in final the rulemaking regulatory changes to modify certain elements of the renewable identification number (RIN) compliance system under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. Aiming to increase transparency to the market and deter price manipulation, the reforms to RIN markets include a requirement for public disclosure when RIN holdings exceed specified thresholds, and the collection of additional data to improve EPA oversight.

Tags: EPA, E15, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 2, 2019, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the approval, by the IATA 75th Annual General Meeting (AGM), of the United Nations’ (UN) International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) resolution, which calls governments to continue work on the implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). The first global carbon pricing instrument for an industry sector, CORSIA will cap carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation at 2020 levels (carbon-neutral growth (CNG)). Between 2020 and 2035, CORSIA aims to mitigate over 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide generating at least $40 billion in finance for carbon reduction initiatives. AGM urged ICAO member states to take a number of measures:

  • Consider participation in CORSIA in the pilot phase;
     
  • Align domestic regulations on the monitoring, verification, and reporting of emissions with CORSIA’s standards, preventing market distortions through its requirements;
     
  • Implement CORSIA as the single global market-based mechanism for climate change mitigation; and
     
  • Avoid the implementation of overlapping/duplicate measures such as unilateral carbon taxes.

IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) stated: “CORSIA is a landmark accomplishment. It is a concrete, well-defined way forward to cap global emissions from international aviation. States must not compromise it with inconsistent implementation or by adding a patchwork of taxes on top of it. Its vital mission is to stop growth in net emissions from aviation.” AGM also discussed steps beyond CORSIA, setting the goal to cut net emissions by half of 2005 levels by 2050. Focused on a long-term strategy, IATA calls for investments in better efficiency measures such as sustainable aviation fuels, new aircrafts, and better procedures.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On May 31, 2019, the Brazilian government’s Ministry of Energy’s Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE -- Energy Research Company) held an auction for the supply of sustainable energy and biofuel sources for the State of Roraima’s capital, Boa Vista, and its neighboring areas. A federal energy company, EPE provides the Ministry of Energy with R&D services designed for subsidies of the energy sector, covering electricity, petroleum, natural gas and its derivatives, and biofuels. Out of 156 competitions, the nine auction winners presented projects on natural gas, biodiesel, biomass, hybrid solutions, biofuels, solar, and photovoltaic batteries. Winners totaled a capacity of 294 megawatts (MW) to be installed, including seven renewable sources, which will have 15-year contracts and a diesel power plant for seven years starting in June 2021.


 

 

 
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