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By the Numbers: The EPA’s Proposed New Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants

June 2, 2014 in Climate Change, Environment, EV News, Greentech, Politics, Pollution

Dan Utech Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Photo courtesy of White House

Dan Utech
Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change
Photo courtesy of White House

By Dan Utech, White House

Today, as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the EPA proposed new carbon pollution standards for power plants. These standards represent a commonsense proposal that will have huge benefits for all Americans. In fact, for every dollar of investment spurred by this proposal, there is roughly seven dollars’ worth of health benefits in return.

Here are some numbers that help explain today’s announcement:

Nearly 40 is the number of percentage points of total carbon pollution that comes from power plants. The President’s Climate Action Plan has focused on modernizing our buildings, factories, cars, and trucks but altogether, they make up a little over half of all the carbon pollution. It makes sense, then, that our next logical step would be to modernize the power sector, putting in place the first-ever carbon pollution standards for power plants.

More than 300 is the number of groups EPA engaged with across the country including 11 public listening sessions that hosted more than 3,000 people in order to develop its proposal. And the outreach continues. After the proposed rule is published, there will be a 120-day public comment period to make sure the final standards reflect all the best ideas and input from everyone includes states, utilities, labor, health advocates, environmental groups and industry.

30 is the number of percentage points of total carbon pollution that will be cut from our power sector by 2030 relative to 2005 levels. That is like erasing the annual carbon pollution from two-thirds of all cars and trucks in America. And if you add up what we will avoid between 2020 and 2030 under the proposal, it’s more than the carbon pollution from every power plant in America in 2012 times two.

50 is the number of ways the EPA proposal can be implemented; this proposal puts tools in the hands of each state and its governor there’s no one-size-fits-all approach here. And let’s remember that the idea of setting higher standards to cut carbon pollution isn’t new. 47 states have utilities that run demand-side energy efficiency programs, 38 have renewable portfolio standards or goals, and 10 have market-based greenhouse gas emissions programs.

48 to 84 billion is the number of dollars of net benefits that the proposal will generate in 2030. A big share of those net benefits come from lives saved and quality of life improved, asthma attacks avoided and fewer days of missed school or work. Specific 2030 benefits include up to:

  • 150,000 fewer asthma attacks
  • 3,700 less cases of bronchitis in children
  • 180,000 fewer days of school missed
  • 310,000 fewer lost work days
  • 6,600 less premature deaths
  • 3,300 fewer heart attacks
  • 1,700 avoided hospital emergency room visits

Tens of thousands are the number of jobs that EPA and others estimate will be created by the proposed standards including machinists to manufacture energy-efficient appliances, construction workers to build efficient homes and buildings or weatherize existing ones, service providers to do energy audits and install efficient technologies, and engineers and programmers to design and improve building energy management systems.

8 is the number of percentage points by which families and businesses will be able to cut their electricity bill under the EPA proposal in 2030. Taking advantage of energy efficiency, states can implement the EPA’s proposal in a way that drives billions of investment into retrofits like upgrades to windows and heating and cooling systems; deployment of better appliances through programs like accelerated buy-back; and improved energy management including through smart metering. Steps like this will cut energy waste and cut electricity bills.

More than 80 is the number of countries representing over 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions who pledged in 2009 to take climate actions through 2020 under the Copenhagen Accord. As countries prepare long-range carbon reduction goals for a global climate deal expected in 2015, they are looking to the United States for leadership and an example to follow. The President’s Climate Action Plan ensures that America will be a leader in those negotiations and in the global fight against climate change.

44 is the number of years that EPA’s legal authority to reduce air pollution has been around. The Clean Air Act, enacted by Congress in 1970, established mechanisms for controlling emissions of air pollutants from stationary sources including power plants. In the year 2010 alone, updates to the Act are estimated to have prevented more than 160,000 premature deaths, 130,000 heart attacks, 86,000 hospital admissions, 13 million lost workdays, and 3.2 million lost school days due to respiratory illness and other diseases caused or exacerbated by air pollution.

Finally, zero that’s the number of times special interests have been right about having to choose between the health of our people and the health of our economy.

Learn more:

  • See how the standards will make our communities healthier
  • Find out more about the President’s plan to fight climate change

Dan Utech is the Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

This article is a repost, credit: White House Blog. Video courtesy of White House Blog (5-31-14).

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Energy Department Awards $45 Million to Deploy Advanced Transportation Technologies, Source: DOE

September 4, 2013 in Battery Energy Storage, Electric Vehicles, EV News

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz Photo courtesy of DOE

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
Photo courtesy of DOE

WASHINGTON — Building on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to build a 21st century transportation sector and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Energy Department announced today more than $45 million for thirty-eight new projects that accelerate the research and development of vehicle technologies to improve fuel efficiency, lower transportation costs and protect the environment in communities nationwide.

“By partnering with universities, private industry and our national labs, the Energy Department is helping to build a strong 21st century transportation sector that cuts harmful pollution, creates jobs and leads to a more sustainable energy future,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “By improving the fuel economy of our cars and trucks, we can save families and businesses money at the pump and better protect our air and water.”

The Obama Administration has taken unprecedented steps to improve the fuel efficiency of American vehicles, establishing the toughest fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles in U.S. history. These standards are expected to save consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump — or more than $8,000 in costs over the lifetime of each vehicle – and eliminate six billion metric tons of carbon pollution. Innovative technologies and manufacturing are helping U.S. automakers achieve the goals of this historic agreement, and the investment announced today will help provide new technologies and innovations to enable automakers to continue to improve vehicle fuel efficiency.

Through the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance between the Energy Department and the Department of the Army, the Army is contributing an additional $3 million in co-funding to support projects focused on lightweighting and propulsion materials, batteries, fuels and lubricants. “Working with the Energy Department, we are accelerating the development and deployment of cutting-edge technologies to strengthen our military, economy, and energy security,” said Dr. Paul Rogers, director the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center.

The 38 projects announced today span five major areas critical to advanced transportation technologies, such as lightweighting and propulsion materials as well as affordable, efficient batteries, power electronics, fuels and lubricants, and efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, and include:

  • Advanced lightweighting and propulsion materials (15 projects; $10.2 million): Advanced materials are essential for boosting the fuel economy of cars and trucks while maintaining and improving safety and performance. Next generation lightweight materials can reduce passenger car weight by up to 50 percent. Reducing a vehicle’s weight by just10 percent can improve fuel economy by 6 to 8 percent. These projects will conduct research on lightweight materials — such as advanced high-strength steel, magnesium and aluminum – that allow vehicle manufacturers to include electric drive components, electronic systems and emissions control equipment without increasing vehicle weight.
  • Advanced batteries (13 projects; $22.5 million): In the last four years, the cost of a plug-in electric vehicle battery has come down by nearly 50 percent. The awards announced today will help improve cell chemistry and composition, develop advanced electrolytes and create new battery design tools – helping to further reduce costs. Broadly, the projects aim to cut battery size and weight in half, while improving efficiency and performance.
  • Power electronics (Four projects; $8 million): Compared to silicon-based technologies, wide bandgap semiconductors – such as silicon carbide and gallium nitride – can operate at higher temperatures, have greater durability and reliability, and can lower the cost and improve performance of plug-in electric vehicle inverters. Separately, new approaches to enable high-temperature operation and cost reduction for capacitors in these inverters will also help to reduce the cost of vehicle power electronics. These projects will contribute to reducing the cost of a plug-in electric vehicle inverter by more than 30 percent.
  • Advanced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (Two projects; $4 million): Reducing the impact of heating and cooling on plug-in electric vehicles can significantly increase all-electric driving range.  These two projects are focused on developing innovative heating and cooling technologies that reduce battery demands and improve range by 20 to 30 percent.
  • Fuels and lubricants (Four projects; $2.5 million): These projects will develop advanced fuels and lubricants that can reduce friction losses and increase the efficiency of cars already on the market and next generation passenger vehicles.

Read the full list of the thirty-eight projects announced today.

These new projects support the goals of the Energy Department’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, a broader initiative to make plug-in electric vehicles as affordable and convenient to own and drive as today’s gasoline-powered vehicles within 10 years.

This article is a repost, credit: US Department of Energy,

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Flaring Up in North Dakota, Natural Gas Emissions from Oil Production, By Lindsay Garten, Sierra Club

August 9, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Oil, Pollution

Photo credit Tim Evanson. Flaring of natural gas in McKenzie County, North Dakota. Courtesy of Sierra Club

Photo credit Tim Evanson. Flaring of natural gas in McKenzie County, North Dakota.
Courtesy of Sierra Club

While a great deal of attention has been paid to the dangers fracking poses to drinking water, oil and natural gas production are also major sources of air pollution. Flaring of natural gas is one of the many reasons that there are air pollution issues with oil and gas drilling. It is a major issue that contributes to climate disruption, puts public health at risk and is economically wasteful.

Oil production in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale formation has increased 40-fold between 2007 and mid-2013, from 18,500 to 760,000 barrels per day, according to a recent report by Ceres, a nonprofit organization focused on sustainability. In fact, flaring from the Bakken Shale is visible from space. Surpassing Alaska in May 2012, North Dakota became the second-largest oil producing state after Texas. This tremendous growth in oil production has led to the simultaneous increase in the production of natural gas. However, unlike in most other states, a significant portion of the gas that is co-produced with oil production in North Dakota doesn’t make it to the market.

What happens to the gas? Nearly 30 percent of the gas produced in the state is flared during oil production. This process, “flaring,” is the controlled burning of natural gas that commonly occurs during oil production. A flare system consists of a flare stack and pipes that feed gas to the stack. The absolute volume of flared gas in North Dakota has increased 2.5 times between May 2011 and May 2013. Sadly, this has propelled the United States to join Russia, Nigeria, and Iraq among the world’s top-10 flaring countries.

Although some might argue flaring doesn’t harm the environment as much as venting natural gas directly, flaring does significantly contribute to carbon pollution from the Bakken Formation. In fact, in 2012, natural gas flaring in North Dakota emitted 4.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of the emissions of 1 million cars! Flaring only partially combusts the natural gas, and it releases many other hazardous pollutants such as black carbon, a major component of soot, which poses many adverse health risks and also contributes significantly to climate disruption.

Unfortunately, under current North Dakota rules, companies get a free pass to flare natural gas for the first year of a well’s production, when a majority of natural gas is emitted. Producers can obtain yet another free pass to flare in the second year if they can show that capturing the natural gas doesn’t make sense economically. But given the significant environmental and public health impacts of flaring, like respiratory and cardiovascular disease, these rules are disastrous and should be overhauled.

Although North Dakota regulators have indicated that their ultimate goal is that only 5 to 10 percent of the state’s co-produced natural gas will be flared, they haven’t specified a date by which they will achieve this goal. However, steps are being taken to reduce flaring. The North Dakota legislature has passed new statutes that will offer tax incentives for producers to capture and use gas, instead of flaring it. Although many oil and gas companies have tried to reduce flaring, the amount of gas actually flared has increased by more than 50 percent between September 2011 and May 2013. It’s projected that the total percentage of flaring will decrease, but the total amount of flared gas will increase until 2020. In fact, in 2012 flaring amounted to a loss of $1 billion in fuel. Until clean energy replaces dirty fossil fuels, the industry should work to find best practices to curb flaring.

Fracking and natural gas production is harmful to communities and families and flaring is but one example of the dangerous effects of this dirty fossil fuel. Ultimately, the only way to ensure a safe, clean, and sustainable energy future is to invest in renewable sources of energy like wind and solar. The time has come to move beyond fossil fuels, save lives, and save the environment.

[Information from Ceres’ report, Flaring Up: North Dakota Natural Gas Flaring More Than Doubles in Two Years]

This article is a repost, credit: Lindsay Garten, Sierra Club Media Team Intern,

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Secretary Jewell Visits North Dakota’s Bakken Region, Source: DOI

August 7, 2013 in EV News, Oil

Tours Oil and Gas Production Facilities, Theodore Roosevelt National Park;  As Part of President’s Climate Action Plan, Inspects Innovative Technologies to Capture Methane Emissions

Drilling rig Photo courtesy of USGS

Drilling rig
Photo courtesy of USGS

DICKINSON, N.D. – Underscoring the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy and comprehensive Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell concluded her two-day trip to North Dakota today by praising federal, state and local partnerships that are facilitating safe and responsible oil and gas development in the Bakken Formation.

U.S. Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze accompanied the Secretary on her tour of production facilities. Jewell also met with North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple.

Jewell, Hoeven and Heitkamp also visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park to highlight the economic contributions made by recreational visits to public lands in North Dakota, as well as to witness the strain put on park resources from increased oil and gas development in the region.

“The Bakken boom is a perfect example of how new and improved technology is allowing industry to tap previously inaccessible or unknown energy resources to create jobs, decrease our dependence on foreign oil, and grow our economy. As drilling methods and technologies advance, we have an obligation to ensure that energy production is happening in a safe and responsible way for the environment and for communities,” said Jewell. “Working hand in hand with industry, we have an opportunity to use innovative technologies to capture natural gas to power more homes with cleaner American-made energy, while reducing methane emissions and cutting carbon pollution.”

During her visit to the Williston area on Tuesday, Jewell saw examples of oil and gas production on a federal mineral estate in western North Dakota, where production is rapidly expanding on federal, state, and private lands. The Secretary toured a drilling rig producing oil from federal resources and visited a crude oil production facility where oil is processed and transported via truck, rail and pipelines to refineries across the country. Jewell also inspected new technologies being employed by some companies in the region to capture and reduce natural gas and methane emissions. The President’s Climate Action Plan calls for the Administration to work collaboratively with state governments, as well as the private sector, to reduce emissions across multiple sectors, improve air quality, and achieve public health and economic benefits.

On Tuesday afternoon, Jewell visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park to discuss the important role the park plays in creating outdoor recreational opportunities and boosting the local economy. The park welcomes approximately 600,000 visitors each year who contribute $28.32 million to the local economy and supports 451 jobs.

“The park pays tribute to Theodore Roosevelt and his enduring contribution to the conservation of our nation’s resources,” said Jewell. “This landscape, which inspired President Roosevelt and still inspires visitors today, is a big economic engine for the region. It’s also a powerful reminder that, even as we bear witness to a production boom in the Bakken, there are places important to America that are too special to drill and must be protected for future generations.”

Today, Jewell met with the new Bakken Federal Executive Group to discuss some of the challenges associated with the rapid expansion of oil and gas development in the region. The Group represents a dozen federal bureaus with review and permitting responsibilities that are working collaboratively to address common development obstacles associated with the Bakken boom in western North Dakota. The group was identified by the President as one of five priority regional initiatives under Executive Order 13604, Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects.

“The BLM has seen a 500 percent increase in drilling applications in the area over the past five years – with more than half of the applications for Indian trust lands. With budget constraints, sequestration and mixed ownership jurisdictions, we need to combine our efforts and start thinking of natural resource management on a landscape scale,” said Kornze. “The federal and state activities going on here in the Bakken Formation are a perfect example of how natural resource management has shifted from individual agency efforts to a team effort. Working closely with our state, tribal and industry partners here in North Dakota, the BLM is committed to the type of close coordination and collaboration that is necessary to continue to expand safe and responsible development of domestic energy.”

Several strategies have been employed to meet the increased demands on BLM’s North Dakota Field Office. A North Dakota Focus Team was established to assess the needs of the field office and to make recommendations to the State Leadership Team. The field office also implemented a pilot program for electronic submission of an Application for Permit to Drill (APD), and began encouraging all operators to submit electronic APDs last spring. Not only does this increase timeliness for submittal, electronic APDs enable timely revisions and reviews and allow operators to track the status of their applications.

Interior-administered oil and gas leasing, exploration and production in North Dakota contributed $5.9 billion in total economic output to the state in 2012 and generated about 28,700 total jobs. Royalties from Indian lands totaled nearly $250 million last year, compared to $106.7 million in 2011 and $1.8 million in 2008. The BLM’s July oil and gas lease sale in the Bakken garnered nearly $50 million and generated a record bonus bid of $33,000 per acre.

For every $1 spent on operations and labor for the BLM’s North Dakota Field Office during FY 2012, a total of $121 was returned and shared between the U.S. Treasury, State of North Dakota, Three Affiliated Tribes, Turtle Mountain Tribe, and Individual Indian Mineral Owners.

Jewell also noted energy produced from all Interior lands in FY 2012 contributed $230 billion to the U.S. economy and supported 1.2 million jobs. That production included 626 million barrels of crude oil, 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 460 million tons of coal, according to the recently released U.S. Department of the Interior Economic Report for Fiscal Year 2012. The report showed that Department of the Interior’s overall activities contributed $371 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012, supporting 2.3 million jobs in outdoor recreation and tourism, energy development, grazing, timber harvesting and other areas.

This article is a repost, credit: US Department of the Interior,

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Interior Holds First-Ever Competitive Lease Sale for Renewable Energy in Federal Waters, Source: DOI

August 1, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Wind

Historic Auction Leases Nearly 165,000 Acres Offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts for Wind Energy Development, Advances President’s Climate Action Plan

Secretary Jewell greets applauding Interior Employees.  - Photo: Tami A. Heilemann - Office of Communications   Courtesy of DOI

Secretary Jewell greets applauding Interior Employees. – Photo: Tami A. Heilemann – Office of Communications
Courtesy of DOI

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of President Obama’s comprehensive plan to move our economy toward domestic clean energy sources and cut carbon pollution, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau today (7-31-13) held the nation’s first-ever competitive lease sale for renewable energy in federal waters.

The provisional winner of today’s lease sale, which auctioned two leases for a Wind Energy Area of 164,750 acres offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts for wind energy development, is Deepwater Wind New England, LLC. When built, these areas could generate enough combined energy to power more than one million homes.

“When you think about the enormous energy potential that Atlantic wind holds, this is a major milestone for our nation,” said Secretary Jewell. “A lot of collaboration and thoughtful planning went into getting to this point, and we’ll continue to employ that approach as we move forward up and down the coast to ensure that offshore wind energy is realized in the right way and in the right places. Offshore wind is an exciting new frontier that will help keep America competitive, and expand domestic energy production, all without increasing carbon pollution.”

The Wind Energy Area is located 9.2 nautical miles south of the Rhode Island coastline and has the potential to support 3,395 megawatts of wind generation. BOEM will hold its next competitive lease sale for offshore wind on Sept. 4, which will auction nearly 112,800 acres offshore Virginia, and is expected to announce additional auctions for Wind Energy Areas offshore Massachusetts, Maryland, and New Jersey later this year and in 2014.

Maps for these areas are available on BOEM’s website.

Today’s auction is the result of a coordinated strategic plan to accelerate the development of offshore wind resources that was unveiled in February 2011 by former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. As part of a ‘Smart from the Start’ program for expediting commercial-scale wind energy on the federal Outer Continental Shelf, Interior identified Wind Energy Areas well suited for commercial development with minimal impacts to the environment and other important uses. Efforts to spur responsible development of this abundant renewable resource are part of a series of Administration actions to speed renewable energy development offshore and onshore by improving coordination with state, local and federal partners.

As part of President Obama’s comprehensive Climate Action Plan, he challenged Interior to re-double efforts on the renewable energy program by approving an additional 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy production on public lands and waters by 2020.

Since 2009, Interior has approved 46 wind, solar and geothermal utility-scale projects on public lands, including associated transmission corridors and infrastructure to connect to established power grids. When built, these projects could provide more than 12,700 megawatts – enough energy to power more than 4.4 million homes and support over 17,000 construction and operations jobs.

At the same time, under the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, domestic oil and gas production has grown each year President Obama has been in office, with domestic oil production currently higher than any time in two decades; natural gas production at its highest level ever; and renewable electricity generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources having doubled. Combined with recent declines in oil consumption, foreign oil imports now account for less than 40 percent of the oil consumed in America – the lowest level since 1988.

“Each of these renewable energy lease sales are significant steps forward in the President’s all-of-the-above energy strategy and call for action on climate change,” said Director Beaudreau. “Harnessing the enormous potential of offshore wind will create jobs, increase our energy security and provide abundant sources of clean renewable power.”

BOEM auctioned the Wind Energy Area offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts as two leases, referred to as the North Lease Area (Lease OCS-A0486) and the South Lease Area (Lease OCS-A0487). The North Lease Area consists of about 97,500 acres and the South Lease Area covers about 67,250 acres. For a map of the Wind Energy Area, click here. The sale received $3,838,288 in high bids. The auction lasted 1 day, consisting of 11 rounds before determining the provisional winner. In addition to Deepwater Wind New England, LLC, the following companies participated in the auction: Sea Breeze Energy, LLC; and US Wind Inc.

“Now that we have identified Deepwater Wind as the provisional winner of this auction, we look forward to executing the lease and reviewing their Site Assessment Plan for the lease area,” said Director Beaudreau.

Following the auction, the Attorney General, in consultation with the Federal Trade Commission, will have 30 days in which to complete an antitrust review of the auction. Shortly thereafter, BOEM will send unsigned copies of the lease form to the winning bidder, who will have 10 days to sign and return the lease, file required financial assurance, and pay the balance of the winning bid.

Each lease will have a preliminary term of 6 months in which to submit a Site Assessment Plan to BOEM for approval. A Site Assessment Plan describes the activities (e.g., installation of meteorological towers and buoys) a lessee plans to perform for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of its commercial lease.

After a Site Assessment Plan is approved, the lessee will have up to 4 and 1/2 years in which to submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) for approval, which provides a detailed plan for the construction and operation of a wind energy project on the lease. After the COP is approved, the lessee will have an operations term of 25 years.

For more information on what’s going on offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts, visit BOEM’s website.

This article is a repost, credit: US Department of the Interior,

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Florida Project Produces Nation’s First Cellulosic Ethanol at Commercial-Scale, Source: DOE

July 31, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz Photo courtesy of DOE

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
Photo courtesy of DOE

WASHINGTON – The Energy Department today recognized the nation’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production at INEOS Bio’s Indian River BioEnergy Center in Vero Beach, Florida. Developed through a joint venture between INEOS Bio and New Planet Energy, the project uses a unique hybrid of gasification and fermentation technology – originally developed with Energy Department support starting in the 1990’s – to convert wood scraps, grass clippings and other waste materials into transportation fuels as well as energy for heat and power.

“Unlocking the potential for the responsible development of all of America’s rich energy resources is a critical part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Today’s announcement of commercial-scale cellulosic production represents an important benchmark for American leadership in this growing global industry. It also demonstrates the need for early-stage investment in innovative technologies that will help diversify our energy portfolio, reduce carbon pollution and lead to tomorrow’s energy breakthroughs.”

As the President’s Climate Action Plan made clear, biofuels have an important role to play in increasing our energy security, fostering rural economic development and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The Energy Department’s research and development efforts are helping to bring innovative, cost-cutting biofuel technologies on line, test the latest engineering advancements and accelerate commercial production.

The Indian River County BioEnergy Center (Center) will have an annual output of eight million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year from vegetative, yard and municipal solid waste as well as six megawatts of clean, renewable power annually – enough to run the entire facility and provide excess power to the local community.

The project’s gasification-fermentation technology – which produces fuel, heat and power – has its roots in a University of Arkansas research project, supported by a $5 million Energy Department investment over fifteen years. The Department’s early support helped this technology obtain a number of patents, with the core intellectual property purchased by INEOS Bio in 2008.

In 2009, the INEOS Bio-New Planet Energy joint venture was awarded a $50 million Energy Department grant to design, construct, commission and operate the Indian River BioEnergy Center. With a $130 million total project cost, the Center created more than 400 direct construction, engineering and manufacturing jobs during its development and has 65 current full-time employees. More than 90 percent of its equipment was sourced by U.S. manufacturers across 10 states. The Vero Beach project will serve as a test bed for producing commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol with this innovative conversion technology – helping to inform future INEOS Bio facilities as well as other advanced biofuel projects across the country.

Find more information on the Energy Department’s broader efforts to grow America’s biofuels industry at

This article is a repost, credit: US Department of Energy,

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Congressional Voices Say Keystone XL Fails President’s Climate Test, By Kate Colarulli, Sierra Club

July 15, 2013 in Climate Change, Environment, EV News, Politics

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Last week, prominent voices in Congress stressed the State Department’s failure to accurately account for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline’s climate impacts, noting that there is “nothing inevitable” about tar sands escaping the ground. We couldn’t agree more, and the Sierra Club’s Beyond Oil Campaign applauds House Representative Henry Waxman and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for asking the State Department to go back to the drawing board and better account for this project’s threat to our climate.

On July 10, Representative Waxman and Senator Whitehouse released a 20-page letter to the State Department, highlighting errors in the State Department’s assumption that the Keystone XL project would not have major climate impacts, and called on the State Department to conduct a more thorough evaluation for the final report.

The letter also says that that Keystone XL will fail to meet President Obama’s climate test: in his climate speech last month, the President declared he would base the Keystone XL decision on whether the project will “significantly exacerbate the climate problem.” Of course, to make such a decision, the president needs to act on good information, which the State Department thus far has failed to provide. Waxman and Whitehouse stated: “We urge the State Department to do a better job in analyzing the effect that Keystone XL would have on the development of the Canadian tar sands and the additional carbon pollution that would result, as well as the effect that Keystone XL would have on the quantity of carbon pollution produced by the U.S. transportation sector. We believe such an analysis would show that the Keystone XL pipeline fails the test the president set forth and must be denied.”

This point reflects the analysis by a host of climate experts, the Environmental Protection Agency, Wall Street financial institutions, and oil analysts that the State Department’s environmental review critically underplays the pipeline’s impact.

Congressman Waxman and Senator Whitehouse challenge the underlying assumption of State’s review — that the expansion of tar sands is inevitable. Citing over a dozen financial analysts, government officials, and research institutes, they assert that, “Basic economics informs us that there is nothing inevitable about the projected rate of expansion of the tar sands.” They go further by calling on the State Department to “acknowledge that it has no crystal ball to predict the future,” calling its failure to analyze different scenarios a “fatal flaw” in the review.

Waxman and Whitehouse also address the State Department’s assumption that the carbon pollution caused by the Keystone XL pipeline would be a drop in the bucket of all greenhouse gas emissions: “If the climate change effects of the Keystone XL pipeline are not considered to be significant, it is unclear whether there is any individual project in the United States that would ever be considered significant.”

With increasing numbers of droughts, wildfires and super storms threating the U.S., the American public does not have the luxury of tolerating poor analyses that could critically handicap our ability to combat climate change. With the President’s decision fast approaching, we enthusiastically applaud the efforts of these Congressional champions for speaking out against Keystone XL and tar sands expansion.

This article is a repost, credit: By Kate Colarulli, Beyond Oil Campaign Associate Director, Sierra Club,