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 Kathleen M. Roberts

On October 25, 2017, bipartisan legislation aimed at leveling the playing field between renewable and fossil fuels was re-introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives.  Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), along with eight bipartisan co-sponsors, introduced the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act (S. 2005) in the Senate.  Representative Ted Poe (R-TX), along with six co-sponsors, introduced similar legislation (H.R. 4118) in the House.  The legislation would allow investors in a range of clean energy projects, including renewable fuels, access to a corporate structure whose tax advantage is currently available only to investors in fossil fuel-based energy projects.  According to Senator Coons, “[‌u]pdating the tax code in this way will help increase parity and ensure that [clean] energy technologies can permanently benefit from the incentives that traditional energy sources have depended on to build infrastructure for more than 30 years.”  The bills were previously introduced in the Senate and House on June 24, 2015.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On October 18, 2017, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced to the Senate the Renewable Chemicals Act of 2017 (S. 1980), which aims to establish a short-term tax credit for the production of renewable chemicals and for investment in renewable chemical production facilities.  If enacted, the legislation would allow taxpayers to claim a production credit equal to $0.15 per pound of biobased content of each renewable chemical produced.  In lieu of the production credit, taxpayers would be able to claim an investment credit equal to 30 percent of the basis of any eligible property that is part of a renewable chemical production facility.   The bipartisan bill was co-sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Al Franken (D-MN), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and is companion legislation to H.R. 3149, which was introduced in the House in June 2017 by Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ).


 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) issued a $3,500,000 funding opportunity for projects that use animal waste to generate electricity while reducing the environmental impacts that animal wastes can have on Maryland’s natural resources.  The Animal Waste to Energy Grant Program (AWE Grant Program) will target on-farm or pilot scale projects with capacities of less than 2 MW and community or regional scale projects with capacities of greater than 2 MW.  To be eligible for the grant, projects must use animal waste, through any proven process, to generate electricity, reduce the volume of animal waste, and address the fate of the byproduct.  The AWE Grant Program is open to all businesses, government agencies, and non-profits in Maryland.  Applications are due by February 28, 2018.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On July, 19, 2017, Neste, a member of BRAG, issued a statement to congratulate California on its strong climate leadership supporting the transition to clean energy.  Neste stated that it looks forward to continuing to support the State's targets at curbing carbon emissions through its renewable products. 
 
With a two-thirds majority, the California State Senate and Assembly voted to extend the State’s cap-and-trade program until 2030, and to codify the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) into law.  The LCFS regulation aims to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels sold in California by ten percent by 2020, in line with the California Health and Safety Code mandate to reduce greenhouse gases in California.  The law will now recognize low-carbon transportation alternatives for the allocation of future Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds (GGRF) from related auction revenues.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

Renewable Industries Canada (RICanada), a principal stakeholder representing Canadian producers of clean-burning renewable fuels, announced that the Quebec Government’s 2017-2020 Action Plan under the 2030 Energy Policy included, for the first time, renewable fuel volume requirements for fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.  The renewable fuel blending requirement was set at 5% for gasoline and 2% diesel and is expected to increase after 2020.  RICanada stated that the “announcement on renewable transportation fuels further entrenches Quebec’s position as a leader in the production of renewable energy and in the broader battle against climate change” and that its “members look forward to helping the Government of Quebec ensure that the province’s GHG targets in the transportation sector are achieved.”  More information on the Action Plan for Energy Policy 2030 is available on the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources website.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On June 29, 2017, Representatives Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Ryan Costello (R-PA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Linda Sánchez (D-CA) introduced the Renewable Chemicals Act of 2017 to the House.  If enacted, the legislation would create a targeted, short-term tax credit for the production of qualifying renewable chemicals from biomass and for investments in renewable chemical production facilities.  The tax credit would be provided based on job creation, innovation, environmental benefits, commercial viability, and contribution to U.S. energy independence.  Numerous industry stakeholders, including the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), Renmatix, and DSM, praised the proposed legislation. 


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On June 6, 2017, AkzoNobel, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced the winners of its Imagine Chemistry challenge.  The following winners have been awarded joint development agreements with AkzoNobel’s Specialty Chemicals business to help bring their ideas to market:

  • Ecovia Renewables was awarded for its fermentation technology to make polyglutamic acid, which can be used to make thickeners for personal care products and other uses;
  • Industrial Microbes was awarded for its solution to use genetically modified microorganisms to turn CO2 and natural gas into key chemical building blocks, such as ethylene oxide; and
  • Renmatix was awarded for its technology to use pressurized water to break down plant biomass into cellulosic products with a range of end-use applications.
The awardees were selected from a group of 20 finalists that participated in a three-day event at AkzoNobel’s Deventer Open Innovation Center.  In addition to the winners, seven other finalists were awarded prizes, such as a research agreement with AkzoNobel, chemical research support from AkzoNobel, a rent voucher for the Deventer Open Innovation Center, partner support by Icos Capital and KPMG, and partner support by Icos Capital and KPMG.  More information on the Imagine Chemistry Challenge is available in the BRAG blog post “AkzoNobel Launches Global Chemicals Start-Up Challenge.”

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On May 30, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DOC) International Trade Association announced in the Federal Register a public meeting of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (REEEAC).  The meeting will take place in Washington, D.C. on July 27, 2017.  REEEAC is focused on export promotion for the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.  During the meeting, REEEAC will discuss next steps for each sub-committee, consider recommendations for approval, and hear from officials from DOC and other agencies on major issues impacting the competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency industries.  Stakeholders interested in attending are required to register with Victoria Gunderson (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) by 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on July 21, 2017.  To be considered during the meeting, comments must also be submitted by 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on July 21, 2017


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On April 19, 2017, DOE announced an open teleconference of the State Energy Advisory Board (STEAB) in the Federal Register.  STEAB advises DOE and EERE on the operation of its energy efficiency programs, renewable energy programs, and grant programs for research and deployment in energy efficiency and renewable energy fields.  The tentative agenda includes:

  • STEAB Task Force updates and objectives for fiscal year (FY) 2017;        
  • Follow-up opportunities and engagement with EERE and other DOE staff as needed to keep Task Force work moving forward;                  
  • Continued engagement with DOE, EERE, and DOE’s Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis (EPSA) staff regarding energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and initiatives; and     
  • Updates on member activities within their states.
The meeting will occur on May 18, 2017, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EDT).  To receive call-in information or to submit a request to make oral comments, contact Michael Li, Policy Advisor, EERE, at 202-287-5718 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by May 11, 2016.

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On April 12, 2017, the nova-Institute announced the publication of its commentary on the European Commission’s proposal for a revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED).  The proposal, which is referred to as RED II, aims to raise renewable energy usage in Europe to 27 percent by 2030 and to require fuel suppliers to include a minimum share of advanced biofuels in their offering, which will increase steadily between 2021 and 2030.  In its commentary, the nova-Institute analyzed how the revisions presented in RED II would impact the biobased materials sector.  According to the report, the inclusion of CO2-biobased fuels in RED II indicates that the available support will be spread across more forms of energy supply than before, which may improve competition and access to biomass.  The report also states that the cap on biofuels produced from food or feed crops will likely allow an increase of biomass demand by biobased materials, which can be expected to contribute to an upswing of the biobased materials sector.


 
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