WBIA BLOG

US Automakers Approve Use of E15 in New Vehicles

The two major US automakers made a great announcement for the US ethanol industry today. Check out what The Hill reported:

Ford and General Motors Inc. have approved use of a higher concentration of ethanol fuel in new vehicles — a significant victory for the biofuels industry.

New GM and Ford vehicles will accept a fuel blend that’s 15 percent ethanol, as opposed to the standard 10 percent blend. For GM, that will begin with 2012 models, while Ford will accommodate the fuel in 2013 models, according to Oil Price Information Service, which first reported the news.

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Coburn pushes Senate vote on anti-ethanol measure

Claiming to be an effort to reign in federal subsidies, Senator Coburn (R-OK) and his fellow anti-ethanol legislators snuck in an amendment to end investment in America’s ethanol industry. A closer look at the motives of Sen. Coburn and his Senate allies reveal they are covered in oil.

Over the last years, Sen. Coburn and his colleagues have received more $4 million in political contributions from the oil and gas industry. Although large contributions from oil companies are no secret, this amendment does show that there is more behind the amendment than simply cutting federal subsidies. As Matt Hartwig from the Renewable Fuels Associates suggests:

“This effort has more to do with oil-patch politics than it does national energy security and responsible fiscal policy.  If this were a true effort to reign in federal energy subsidies, than the tens of billions of dollars given to mature energy industries like petroleum would be included in this amendment.”

This amendment is a ploy to keep Americans at the mercy of foreign oil and rising prices while a select few reap the political and monetary benefits.  Killing ethanol investment would also mean snuffing innovation and stifling growth that can bring prosperity to many Americans.

To read more about Sen. Coburn’s amendment, click here.

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Ethanol Plants Planning Upgrades

Here is a great story from Ethanol Producer Magazine about how several ethanol plants in the Midwest, including Wisconsin’s very own Ace Ethanol, are planning upgrades. Check it out here. Ace received $595,000 in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money to upgrade its waste heat recovery system. These plants are all at the forefront of technological innovation as they upgrade.

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DOE Announces $5M Biomass Research Funding Opportunity

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced a new $5 million funding opportunity for research focused on sustainable production of large quantities of non-food biomass for bioenergy.  Biomass will play a significant role in our country’s renewable fuels portfolio, and can have a huge impact on Wisconsin’s economy.  Wisconsin doesn’t have coal, oil or natural gas reserves. We do have biomass, however, in the form of paper waste and woodchips.  Encouraging this industry in our state can create jobs and pump millions of dollars into Wisconsin’s economy.

For more information about the grant, visit the Grants.gov website.

To learn more about biomass, you can download fact sheets from our Bio Power page.

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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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Didion Works to Increase Energy Efficiency

WBIA Member Didion Ethanol has begun work to increase the plant’s energy efficiency using $5.5 million from a recent DOE grant.  The project, which will cost a total of $11 million, will decrease energy use while allowing the plant to produce more ethanol.  We are proud to see one of our members taking such a big step towards energy efficiency and the improvement of the ethanol industry.  The project will also created an estimated 10 permanent positions, plus 75 temporary construction jobs.

Read more about the project in this article in Ethanol Producer Magazine.

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Domestic Biofuels Bill Protects Small Engine Manufacturers and Users

Assembly Bill 408, the Domestic Biofuels Bill, is a step toward making Wisconsin a leader in the renewable fuels industry.  The bill will protect and create jobs and help Wisconsin become a clean, more environmentally friendly state.

Some small engine manufacturers, however, have expressed concerns about the bill.  As a strong supporter of small engine manufacturers and users, the WBIA has worked to highlight how the proposed bill will actually protect jobs and benefit the small engine industry.

Here are a few ways in which the bill will protect small engine manufacturers:

1.  The bill guarantees the availability of ethanol-free gasoline.

2.  The bill ensures small engine users will be able to buy gasoline with ethanol blends recommended by the manufacturer.

3.  The bill protects small engine owners, should ethanol become to expensive or scarce.

For more details, including text from the bill, download our fact sheet below.

Small Engine fact sheet [PDF]

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Investment in renewable energy keeps on rising

Categories: Bio Fuels,Investment

$100 billion dollars was invested in renewable energy sources last year, according to a UN report.  The symbolic milestone underscored the point that renewable energy is increasingly being sought not just for its positive environmental impact, but for its efficiency and business potential as well.  Eric Usher, head of the UN’s Energy Finance Unit, called he report proof that renewable energy “is now a mainstream commercial interest to investors and bankers alike.”

Here in the United States, renewable fuels, like ethanol, which is almost a dollar cheaper per gallon than gasoline, are proving their commercial value by helping to keep the price of gasoline from soaring even higher.  It’s a shame that lawmakers are trying to undermine them just as they begin to show their value.

The UN report can be found at: http://www.unep.org/pdf/SEFI_report-GlobalTrendsInSustainableEnergyInverstment07.pdf

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Governor Doyle to Announce Federal Biofuels Grant at Wisconsin State Fair

Categories: Bio Fuels,Investment

On Thursday, August 2, Governor Doyle will officially open the 2007 Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee. At 11:00 a.m., the Governor will be announcing a federal grant to promote the Bio Industry in the state on the corner of Third St. and Sue Wetley Ct.

The Governor will also highlight his proposal to provide $30 million in state funding to grow the Bio Industry, and we encourage everyone to attend and show their support for Governor Doyle and Wisconsin’s growing bio fuel industry.

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DOE Grants Available for Cellulosic Ethanol Projects

The US Department of Energy today announced the availability of up to $200 million in grants over the next five years (2007-2011) to support the development of small-scale cellulosic biorefineries.

Up to $15 million is expected to be available for 2007, with the remaining $185 million available for the following four years.  The DOE is expected to select 5-10 awards from this series of grants.

Applications are due by August 14 of this year.

For more information on the Funding Opportunity Announcement, "Demonstration of Integrated Biorefinery Operations for Producing Biofuels and Chemical/Materials Products" – DE-PS36-07GO97003, visit: https://e-center.doe.gov/ OR www.grants.gov.

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