Biobased Products News and Policy Report – Update from Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.
|Biobased and Renewable Products Update|
| June 6, 2019|
EPA Issues In Final Regulatory Changes Allowing E15 Sale Year-Round
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.
DOE EERE Announces Model To Assist Bioenergy Developers With Water Conservation
On May 30, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced that its Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) released an updated version of an online computer model meant to help bioenergy developers to preserve water. Called Water Analysis Tool for Energy Resources (WATER), this online tool provides in-depth analysis of water consumption used in the development of bioenergy. Designed for industry leaders, government, academia, and the general public, WATER provides information for users to make better-informed decisions about what types of feedstocks are most appropriate for use in water-limited areas. WATER is funded by DOE’s EERE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office and models all the water available in a region down to county levels.
DOE Publishes Report On The Benefits Of Geothermal Energy
On May 30, 2019, DOE also announced the release of GeoVision: Harnessing the Heat Beneath Our Feet, an analysis on how the U.S. can benefit from the potential of geothermal energy. The report summarizes findings that show geothermal electricity generation could increase more than 26-fold from today. Geothermal energy has the potential to reach 60 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity (a 6GW growth) by 2050, including the provision of heating and cooling solutions for residential and commercial consumers through direct-use and heat-pump technologies. U.S. Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, stated that “[m]aking geothermal more affordable can increase our energy options for a more diverse electricity generation mix […].” Industry experts, academia, DOE’s National Laboratories, and federal agencies assessed opportunities to expand geothermal energy deployment through 2050 via technology improvement, cost reduction, and reduction of project development barriers such as long permitting timelines. The GeoVision report also includes the analysis of economic benefits to the U.S. geothermal energy sector, and an investigation of opportunities for desalination, mineral recovery, and hybridization with other energy technologies for greater efficiencies and lower costs. Additionally, the report quantified potential environmental impacts of an increased deployment of geothermal energy. A roadmap of action items for stakeholders is also included, outlining three key objectives to:
- Increase access to geothermal
- Reduce costs and improve
economics for geothermal projects; and
- Improve education.
These GeoVision objectives are to be met through four key Action Areas: (1)
Research Related to Resource Assessments, Improved Site Characterization, and
Key Technology Advancements; (2) Regulatory Process Optimization; (3)
Maximizing the Full Value of Geothermal Energy; and, (4) Improved Stakeholder
Collaboration. For further details, the full report can be accessed here.
DOE Announces Funding Opportunity For Geothermal R&D
On June 3, 2019, DOE announced a joint Call for Proposals for an opportunity to win $2 million in available funding for the advancement of geothermal research and development (R&D) through a partnership with more than 12 European countries. DOE is a member of a transnational consortium called GEOTHERMICA, which combines financial resources and research expertise to demonstrate and validate new concepts in geothermal energy use. The U.S. geothermal community will have the ability to collaborate directly with European partners on shared research projects that leverage valuable data, field site access, and expertise in geothermal R&D. In addition to the U.S., Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey are members of GEOTHERMICA. Each participating country will fund applicants originating within its national boundary. U.S. funding will be provided through the DOE National Laboratories. The Call for Proposals can be accessed here.
Companies Collaborate To Launch Sustainability Funding Opportunity
Two food-producing companies have jointly launched an initiative to drive the adoption of products and services on-farm at scale to increase sustainability on Earth. The initiative invites companies and entrepreneurs with new and emerging on-farm sustainability products and services, focused on greenhouse gases (GHG) reduction, to submit solutions to the leading companies’ experts. In August 2019, participants will be selected to present their solutions to an audience and panel of industry experts for consideration. The most promising opportunities presented will be given a special pitch event where participants will receive input, coaching, and advice from dairy and agricultural technical leaders to help bring their products and services to market scale. Additionally, up to $200,000 in funding will support the implementation of one of the selected solutions.
IATA Approves CORSIA Resolution
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.
AATF Initiative Makes GM Seeds Available For Seed Companies In Africa
The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has negotiated with patent holders to make genetically modified (GM) seeds available at the right time, price, and place to international and African-based technology owners. A business model provided by AATF and its partners, this initiative, called Seeds2B Project (Seeds2B), enables these business owners with the appropriate technologies to license their products to seed companies in Africa. Seeds2B aims to engender agricultural transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa, replacing low quality, costly, and unavailable seeds with GM modern, quality varieties through testing, registration, and the establishment of distribution systems.
Brazil Holds Auction For Projects In Sustainability
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.
|■|| Phys.org, “Bio-based Fertilizers as a Solution for Phosphorus
Sufficiency and Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions”|
|■|| EURACTIV, “With New Regulation Complete, What’s Next for EU
|■|| Ethanol Producer Magazine, “Nebraska Passes Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Bill”|
|■|| Colorado Public Radio, “Colorado’s ‘Bold’ Plan for Climate Action Moves Ahead
with New State Laws”|
|■|| Sustainability Times, “Land, Air and Sea: Canada Funds Clean-Energy Transport
|■|| GreenBiz, “With Infrastructure Reform, U.S. Could Build World’s
Biggest, Greenest Carbon Sink”|
|■|| Renewable Energy Magazine, “Finland to Join Other Nordic Countries in Reducing
Emissions in Aviation”|
|■||The Philadelphia Inquirer, “New Biotech Mural Highlights Life Sciences Big Role in Philadelphia’s Economy”|