WBIA BLOG

Oil Rigged – Big Oil is misleading America

 

“Ethanol is the lowest cost transportation fuel in the world.”

 

Bold words this morning from the President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, Bob Dinneen. But, it’s true! Ethanol has proven to be one of our best options for powering our Nation and moving America forward – which is exactly why Big Oil has been stacking the deck against ethanol blends for years.

Today, the national ethanol advocacy group, Fuels America is launching a nationwide campaign to draw attention to the many ways Big Oil is using misinformation to skew public opinion and convince our lawmakers that oil is the way to go.

In fact, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the oil industry has spent $885 million on lobbyists and campaign contributions to our legislators in the past five years…

That’s more than $1 million for each and every single member of Congress.

Big Oil has been rigging the system for far too long. Help us stop the misinformation! Take a look at OilRigged.com and together we can keep moving America forward.

 

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The Wisconsin Energy Institute and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

Our most recent member meeting of the WBIA was hosted by the Great Lakes Bio Energy Research Center located in the brand new Wisconsin Energy Institute on the UW-Madison campus.

Hosted by the WEI’s Associate Director, Mary Blanchard, we received an overview on the GLBRC’s mission and projects from their Scientific Programs Manager, Steve Slater. Finally, Leith Nye, the GLBRC’s Education and Outreach Coordinator led us on a tour of the facility.

 

The GLBRC is a Department of Energy funded project that seeks to “perform the basic research that generates technology to convert cellulosic biomass to ethanol and other advanced biofuels.” In a nutshell, they are at the forefront of finding ways to advance renewable energy from cellulosic biomass. If you can think of it, they’re probably doing it.

 

While we were only able to glimpse into a handful of their most promising work, the GLBRC’s location at the WEI building is not by accident. The WEI has brought together researchers from diverse disciplines to better understand the larger picture of our energy issues. The Wisconsin Energy Institute is the only bioenergy research facility located on an academic campus and takes full advantage of that, bridging the gaps between the many fields in which scientists and students are working on the future of energy, from biofuels to batteries.

The presentation from Dr. Slater was focused on three projects the GLBRC’s is most excited about, which we’ll cover in our next blog post. Stay tuned!

We were also able to walk through the factors involved in bringing cellulosic ethanol to market. Dr. Slater broke down which aspects in the four stages of refinement play most into economic viability, and offered some insight onto the technology they are developing which can reduce their impact on the bottom line.

 

If you’d like to know more, contact the Wisconsin Energy Institute and the Great Lakes Bio Energy Research Center. Both of these organizations are doing truly astonishing work, and we’re proud to have them in the state of Wisconsin. We’d also like to thank their communications/event staff for providing us with the opportunity and helping us make the most of our visit.

 

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Producers rail against changes to ethanol requirements

Many are frustrated Walker hasn’t weighed in on issue

By Rick Barrett of the Journal Sentinel
Jan. 15, 2014

Follow @JournalSentinel on Twitter

 

Wisconsin biofuel producers say they’re disappointed Gov. Scott Walker hasn’t joined a group of Midwestern governors urging the federal government to support ethanol use and not cut the fuel additive requirement in gasoline.

Long considered a boon to the Midwest economy, ethanol made from corn is blended in most of the gasoline sold in the U.S. today.

But for the first time since 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed cutting by 3 billion gallons, or almost 18%, the amount of ethanol in the U.S. fuel supply this year.

The reduction could have a huge adverse effect on corn growers and ethanol plants, said Robert Sather, co-founder of Ace Ethanol in Stanley and president of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance.

“We have nine ethanol plants in the state. They will all be in jeopardy if the EPA change comes to fruition,” Sather said.

The proposal has raised the ire of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, and governors from Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, who want the EPA to leave the biofuel requirements intact.

If the EPA’s proposed rule takes effect, the negative impact would be felt most in rural America, the governors said in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The governors said more than 400,000 Americans depend on renewable fuels for jobs in their states, directly or indirectly. They cited an Iowa State University study that estimated a reduction in the Renewable Fuels Standard could cause corn prices to drop below the point where farmers would make a profit on the commodity.

Corn is Wisconsin’s biggest crop, and farmers make planting decisions based in part on the demand for ethanol. So Wisconsin ethanol producers say they’re frustrated by Walker’s decision not join the other governors in urging the EPA to reject any reduction in the Renewable Fuels Standard.

Walker says he’s keeping a campaign pledge to not take a position in the debate that has pitted ethanol producers against Wisconsin’s small-engine industry, which opposes increased use of the fuel additive.

Livestock farmers also aren’t pleased with ethanol because it drives up the price of corn and makes their feed more expensive.

“From our standpoint, it’s a careful balance. We’ve got corn producers, but we also have (corn) users, particularly in the dairy industry,” Walker said in an interview.

The EPA was supposed to make its decision on the 2014 ethanol requirements last November but missed the deadline and has kept its public comment period open until Jan. 28.

“If there ever was a time the industry wanted the governor to get involved and weigh in, now is that time,” said Josh Morby, executive director of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance.

(Follow Joshua on LinkedInTwitter, and make sure to follow the WBIA.)

 

In a speech to EPA officials in November, Iowa’s Branstad said by lowering the nation’s ethanol blending mandate, President Barack Obama’s administration would be turning its back on Iowa voters.

Iowa is the nation’s largest ethanol producer with 42 refineries.

“This is going to drive us into what could be another farm crisis. It makes no sense,” Branstad said.

Ethanol critics say the recent boom in domestic oil production has made the biofuel additive less important as an alternative to foreign oil.

Also, as vehicles become more fuel efficient, Americans are using less gasoline than they did seven years ago when the government set the Renewable Fuels Standard.

Almost all gasoline sold in the U.S. contains 10% ethanol.

“We are now at the E-10 blend wall,” the agency said, adding that if gasoline use continues to decline with more fuel-efficient vehicles, then growth in ethanol use would have to come from higher blends ranging from 15% to 85%.

That would be unpopular with the automotive industry and small-engine makers, who contend the higher blends could result in problems such as premature engine wear, fuel line issues and lower fuel mileage.

It’s time to scale back the Renewable Fuels Standard to better reflect the current situation, the American Petroleum Institute says.

“The Renewable Fuels Standard was a well-intentioned law that was written in 2007, when the assumptions of what 2014 would look like were vastly different,” said Patrick Kelly, API’s senior fuels policy adviser.

“Now the EPA has taken steps in the right direction to address this,” Kelly said.

 

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New App on Air Quality

Categories: Education

Our friends at the American Lung Association have just introduced a new smartphone application about air quality. The app provides color-coded EPA air quality forecasts, location-based air quality alerts and ways for you to get informed, speak up to lawmakers or donate to help support their Fight for Air. Click here to find out more about their new app.

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Clean Snowmobile Challenge

At the last WBIA meeting in May, students from UW-Platteville’s Clean Snowmobile Challenge came and spoke about their experience this past winter competing in the competition. Afterward, they presented WBIA Executive Director Josh Morby with a plaque recognizing the WBIA’s sponsorship of the team.

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Biofuels Workshop in Watertown

The Wisconsin Small-Scale Biofuels Producer Program, with the Office of Energy Independence, is holding a small-scale gas and liquid biofuels workshop and expo Friday, June 25. The workshop will run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Watertown Senior Center in the morning and Prairie Dock in the afternoon.

It will include presentations and “hands on” sessions featuring biofuels experts, business and government leaders, educators and equipment manufacturers from Wisconsin. There will also be several small-scale systems demonstrated.

The workshop fee is $40. WSSBPP members receive a discounted rate of $25.

Click here to download a flyer with more information about the event. You may also click here to download the program.

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Biodiesel Ad Released from NBB

The National Biodiesel Board recently released this great, short ad about biodiesel. It really hits the message on the head that biodiesel is another alternative fuel that can help move our country forward. Check out the video and be sure to share it with your friends.


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Learn About the Latest Energy-Efficient Vehicles at the Green Vehicles Workshop & Fair

Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) will be holding their seventh annual Green Vehicles Workshop & Fair, “Driving Toward 2020″ this Friday, April 23 at their Downtown Campus. In this popular, interactive workshop, expert presenters discuss and display the latest designs of energy-efficient and diminished-emission vehicles for the present and near future.

MATC will also be holding a free, first-ever green vehicles fair on Saturday, April 23 at their Oak Creek Campus. The event will feature brief informational sessions and a tire pressure check conducted by Milwaukee Hybrid Group members called Pump Your Ride To $avings.

For more information, please click here to download the program for the Green Vehicles Workshop & Fair, or here to download a flyer for both events.

The discounted $15 early-bird registration fee has been extended through Thursday, April 22 if you confirm your registration with event founder George Stone or Francis Vogel, Executive Director of Wisconsin Clean Cities – Southeast Area. George may be reached at stoneg@matc.edu or at (414) 297-7430. Francis may be reached at francis.vogel@we-energies.com or (414) 221-4958.

Payment at the door on Friday will be $25. A special group rate of $10 applies to Milwaukee Hybrid Group members whom identify themselves as such at the door on Friday. The registration fee covers continental breakfast, a box luncheon and all materials. Students at any level may attend free of charge.

Event sponsors include: Milwaukee Area Technical College, We Energies, Milwaukee Hybrid Group, American Lung Association of Wisconsin, Automobile Dealers of Mega Milwaukee and Wisconsin Clean Cities – Southeast Area.

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No Wars Have Ever Been Fought Over Ethanol

Growth Energy launched their $2.5 million television ad campaign today, promoting ethanol’s many benefits as an alternative to fossil fuels.  The spots will air on four cable networks over the next six months: Fox, MSNBC, CNN and HLN. They began airing today at 6 a.m on all four networks.  Each spot focuses on a different benefit of ethanol and promotes it as independent, clean, renewable, peaceful, sensible and economic.

Here is one example, called “America’s Peace Fuel”

To see all of the ads on Growth Energy’s Web site, click here.

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Upcoming Event on Tax Incentives for Renewable Energy Projects

Interested in learning more financial options for renewable energy projects? Check out this event sponsored by Whyte Hirschboeck and Dudek.

Breakfast Seminar – Tax Incentives and Financing Tools for Renewable Energy Projects

Description:  Attorneys Lynda Templen and Joe Pickart will discuss the many financing tools and incentives available for investing in renewable energy business projects including tax incentives, state and federal grant and loan programs, tax-exempt bond financing and angel and venture capital financing opportunities.

When: Thursday, April 22, 2010
7:30 AM – 9:00 AM

Where: Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.
555 East Wells Street, Suite 1900
Milwaukee, WI 53202

R.S.V.P. by Thursday, April 15, 2010

Click here for more details.

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