This past week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expanded the types of fuel that can be used to satisfy the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)’s annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO), which could impact the agency's delayed targets for 2014 renewable fuel use. The EPA finalized a plan allowing compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas produced using biogas from landfills, manure digesters and sewage treatment plants to qualify as cellulosic biofuel. Electricity generated from biogas and used to power electric vehicles would also qualify to meet the cellulosic portion of the federal biofuel mandate. This new fuel definition comes in conjunction with rollout of the nation’s first commercial-scale gallon of cellulosic ethanol from crop residues, in addition to EPA’s updated RFS Renewable Identification Number (RIN) Quality Assurance Program to prevent fraud and expand biofuels definitions.
The U.S. offshore wind industry took several steps forward last week with the Cape Wind Project receiving a $150m Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee and the Department of Interior’s announcement that nearly 80,000 acres of offshore Maryland will be offered for commercial wind energy development in an August 19, 2014 competitive lease sale. Cape Wind Associates, LLC received a conditional $150m loan guarantee from DOE to build what may be the nation’s first offshore wind farm, off the Massachusetts coast. “Cape Wind has received commitments for about half of the estimated $2.6bn it needs, and will qualify for the Energy Department guarantee when it arranges for the balance,” said Peter Davidson, director of the department’s loans program.
In Maryland, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank announced the 80,000 acre offshore Maryland lease sale. This lease sale is part of DOI’s sustainable Atlantic Coast offshore wind program - ‘Smart from the Start.’ Sixteen companies have qualified to participate in the auction for the Maryland Wind Energy Area. According to analysis prepared by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), if fully developed, the Maryland Wind Energy Area could support between 850 and 1,450 MW of commercial wind generation, enough electricity to power 300,000 homes.
July 2: Interior to Auction Nearly 80,000 Acres Offshore Maryland for Wind Energy Development
July 2: Congress Must Protect Military Energy Security
July 1: DOE Backs Up Cape Wind with $150m Loan Guarantee
July 1: US Navy Sustainability is Sound Policy
June 30: Obama's Climate Policy Could Add $1.3t to GDP
June 30: BOEM to Commence Study on Offshore Wind Tourism Impacts
June 30: BLM Has First Successful Solar Auction Since Setup of Southwest Sites
Rules and Regulations
July 3: U.S. EPA Approves New Fuels for Federal Biofuel Mandate
July 3: Energy Department Makes Additional $4bn in Loan Guarantees Available for Innovative Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects
July 8: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on European Energy Security
July 9: House Appropriations Committee Mark-up of FY'15 Interior Appropriations Bill
July 11: House Energy Committee Hearing on States vs. Federal Environmental Policy Implementation
July 3: FitzGerald Reveals Plan to Push Ohio Green Energy
July 3: NY Putting Clean Energy Industry to Work
July 3: N.J. Bill Would Benefit Landfill Gas-to-Energy Projects
July 1: Minnesota Requirement of 10% Biofuel Blend Minimum at Pump Begins
June 30: Illinois Gov. Unlocks $30m for Solar, Half of Funds for <25kW, Boost to Rooftop Industry
June 30: NY Supreme Court Upholds Towns’ Rights to Ban Fracking
June 30: Supreme Court Declines to Hear Interstate Dispute Over California Biofuel Standard
Tracking Renewable Energy for the U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan. Center for Resource Solutions, June 2014.