California Biodiesel Alliance News
California's Biodiesel Industry Trade Association
CBA's 5th annual California Biodiesel Conference will be held on February 24, 2016. This one-day event will take place the day after CALSTART's 2016 Low Carbon Fuels Summit at the same venue, the Capital Ballroom in downtown Sacramento. Details will be posted on our Home page as they are finalized.
A biodiesel delegation from the Midwest recently visited Northern California, and this issue begins with a story about local involvement in this very successful trip. Not only are LCFS credits prices way up, but per the next story, the program continues to fight off legal challenges! Other stories detail just how thorough our industry has been in making our case for higher RFS volumes and just how central a place political machinations that could affect the biodiesel tax incentive have become.
You don't get more central than the presidential politics front, so it's great news that the Iowa Biodiesel Board's annual independent survey research showed that 76% of voters in Iowa support strengthening the RFS to increase biodiesel use and believe that a presidential candidate's view on the RFS is important to their vote. Read more here:
See the Policy and Industry sections below for updates on CBA's legislative efforts (they are going well); key meeting details for the ADF adoption and the LCFS re-adoption, federal issues, industry updates and more.
To view back issues of this newsletter and CBA Email Alerts
click on the "View CBA Email Newsletter Archive" button on our Home page.
CBA Meets with Midwest Biodiesel Delegation In San Francisco
Representatives of the Iowa Soybean Association, the Illinois Soybean Program Operating Board, and the American Soybean Association, led by Tom Verry of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), were in San Francisco recently for a 3-day visit filled with biodiesel-related meetings and other events.
On August 25th, the California Biodiesel Alliance (CBA) was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with this biodiesel industry delegation, which included association directors and staff, national technical experts, and farmer husband and wife teams (many wearing more than one hat), and to join them in some of those activities.
Celia DuBose, CBA Executive Director, welcomed the group and gave an overview of biodiesel in California with a focus on the history and accomplishments of CBA. Ryan Lamberg, Executive Director of the California Biodiesel Initiative, a CBA/NBB collaboration focusing on environmental and regional issues, and Dave Williamson of Biogenic Energy, who is well-known for his pioneering biodiesel fleet management, participated in what became an informal and very lively discussion. The group was interested to learn about LCFS, the growing California market, and the challenges our industry has faced and met as we move toward regulatory stability after years of concerted efforts on many fronts.
he group then toured the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency's (MTA)
Marty Mellera, Manager of Climate Action and Greening for the agency and the mastermind behind their B20 program, led the tour and explained that SF's diesel fleet has been running on B20 since the former mayor's executive order mandated it in 2007.
He talked about the value of biodiesel as the City's main GHG reduction program. The day also included a round-trip to Larkspur for lunch on the Larkspur Ferry, which uses a low biodiesel blend.
Marty Mellera of SFMTA talking
with delegation members.
The next day the group traveled to the Community Fuels biorefinery in Stockton on a high-blend biodiesel powered Incredible Adventures tour bus. Hosted by CEO Lisa Mortenson, the
group was treated to a tour of the plant, which boasts a new terminal loading rack with storage.
CBA was happy to be able to thank in person the representatives of the soybean industry and the associations that have very generously supported the work of the National Biodiesel Board in California. This work is a critical part of our industry's sustained engagement with state agencies toward creating the best possible regulations and policies allowing biodiesel to move forward and thrive in California.
The delegation included: Mike Cunningham of the American Soybean Association; Grant Kimberly, Ron and Carole Heck, and Rolland and Donna Schnell of the Iowa Soybean Association; and Rebecca Richardson, Rob Schafer, Gary Berg, and CW Gaffner of the Illinois Soybean Program Operating Board.
Judge Rebuffs Latest Challenge to Calif. Fuel Standards
Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter
Published: Monday, August 17, 2015
A federal judge last week largely upheld one of California's primary efforts to address climate change in a challenge from crude oil producers.
The judge largely granted the state's motions to dismiss the litigation on California's low-carbon fuel standard, holding that previous lawsuits had already resolved most of the issues in the case.
California's fuel standards were developed under the state's landmark 2006 global warming law, A.B. 32, which seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
The standards assign all fuels in the state for the transportation sector a "carbon intensity" rating or score. That is calculated by taking the life cycle of a fuel's emissions into account, including where it is produced, where it is refined and how it is transported to the state. The regime went into effect in January 2011.
Fuel and ethanol producers launched an early legal assault on the regime, claiming that it discriminated against out-of-state refiners and, consequently, violated the Constitution's Commerce Clause.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected those arguments in September 2013, and the Supreme Court declined to review that ruling (Greenwire, June 30, 2014).
Crude oil producers continued their litigation, however, lodging new complaints about the amended version of the standards.
Last week, Judge Lawrence O'Neill for the Eastern District of California largely dismissed those claims, concluding that the 9th Circuit had already ruled on them.
he challengers, he wrote in a 57-page order, "have alleged no facts and have provided no argument to support a finding that the amended" fuel standards "operates differently" from the original.
While O'Neill sided with the state almost entirely, he did allow the case to move forward on the issue of whether the original fuel standards discriminate against ethanol producers.
Click here for the order.
Biodiesel Industry RFS Comments Leave No Stone Unturned
In written comments submitted to the Obama administration, CBA called for higher volumes under the pending modest RFS proposal establishing Biomass-based Diesel volumes for 2014-2017. The comments began with a bang:
"In 2014, as a result of the poor market conditions created by the lack of a strong biodiesel mandate, four of California's eleven biodiesel plants closed their doors. Other plants scaled back production, laid off workers, deferred expansion projects, and lost investment opportunities."
The comments call for biodiesel standards of not less than 2 billion gallons for 2016 and 2.3 billion gallons for 2017 and
cite arguments from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), which has worked tirelessly on this issue of critical importance to the health of the biodiesel industry.
It is not uncommon for CBA's comments, especially on California matters where we work closely, to state that we support the technical comments of the NBB. However, in this case, CBA repeatedly referenced arguments put forth in the NBB's case for higher volumes, which total 150 pages and detail our industry's case on the broad range of issues upon which the EPA will make its final decision.
CBA's comments can be viewed
The NBB's comments, based on months of work by staff and the RVO Working Group, include an unprecedented level of technical and economic analysis and documentation on points ranging from the technical and performance qualities of the fuel to production capacity, imports, and feedstock supplies. They can be viewed or heard (via podcast) at the bottom of
The EPA has said it plans to finalize the rule by November 30th after taking into consideration the many thousands of public comments they have received.
(E&E News: Energy Policy)
Reid Willing to Deal on Crude Exports
Geof Koss, E&E reporter
LAS VEGAS -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said yesterday he sees potential for an agreement on lifting the crude oil export ban in exchange for extending renewable energy tax credits.
In an interview with Greenwire at his eighth annual Clean Energy Summit here, Reid declined to take a position on ending the decades-old export prohibition, saying he sees merit in arguments for and against doing so.
ut he made clear he is willing to sit down with Republicans and discuss the issue.
"And I would hope that we can get something in return if we're willing to do that," Reid said. "There's a lot of things that we could do, with more tax credits and things of that nature."
Reid is the latest -- and most senior -- Democrat to suggest the Senate minority may be willing to back a repeal of the export ban if provisions aiding renewable sectors are part of the deal. Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Maine independent Angus King, who caucuses with Democrats, floated the idea during last month's Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup of legislation to end the ban and expand offshore drilling (E&E Daily, July 31).
enate Energy Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) earlier this month said other Democrats have approached her with compromise proposals for allowing crude exports as well (Greenwire, Aug. 7).
But Reid's remarks show that Democrats see the export issue as a bargaining chip for advancing their own energy priorities -- extending the renewable production tax credit and investment tax credit -- in a Republican-led Congress.
Pressed further on the issue during a news conference yesterday, Reid decried the lack of compromise in the "Koch brother, tea-[party]-driven" Republican Congress.
"And that's too bad," he said. "And I think this is one of those examples where we can sit down -- no one's going to get everything they want, but let's see if we can come up with something that's good for the country. That's something we need to do; I'm interested in this, to see if something can be done to help both parties."
Reid, who repeatedly criticized the Koch brothers throughout the daylong conference, struck a pessimistic tone for the prospects of the Energy Committee's bipartisan energy package, which Murkowski is aiming to bring to the floor in the fall.
"With people so afraid of the Koch brothers, I think the chances of getting something done like that are not very good," Reid said.
However, he conceded the measure -- which focuses heavily on boosting efficiency -- may be able to eventually make its way through the Senate before the end of the 114th Congress.
"We might be able to get something with energy efficiency, but I don't think we're going to get much that's going to be something to write home about," he said.
Reid's willingness to discuss exports is also notable given that environmentalists are starting to mobilize against lifting the ban. The liberal Center for American Progress last week released a report highlighting environmental concerns over crude exports, which it said would cause domestic demand for drilling to expand (Greenwire, Aug. 21).
Former CAP President John Podesta yesterday sidestepped a question from Greenwire about whether trading crude exports for renewable tax credits was a deal worth pursuing, saying he's not close enough to the "horse trading" on Capitol Hill anymore.
But he acknowledged White House appetite for extending the production tax credit and investment tax credit, as well as the approaching end of the fiscal year. "I think this will be in the discussion, in the mix," he said.
Podesta, who is leading Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, also declined to proffer an opinion on what the former secretary of State thinks about crude exports.
"I'm not going to get ahead of her on that because, frankly, I haven't discussed it with her," he said.
CALIFORNIA INDUSTRY NEWS
Renewable Energy Group Closes Acquisition of Imperium Renewables
By REG --- 08/19/2015
(AMES, IA)---Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGI) completed its acquisition Wednesday of substantially all the assets of Imperium Renewables, Inc., the Company announced today.
REG paid Imperium $15.0 million in cash and issued 1.675 million shares of REG common stock in exchange for substantially all of Imperium's assets, including the 100-million gallon nameplate biodiesel refinery and terminal at the Port of Grays Harbor, WA. For two years post-closing,
Imperium may receive up to $0.05/gallon for biodiesel produced and sold at Grays Harbor. REG assumed $5.2 million of Imperium's debt from Umpqua Bank, which has agreed to provide the newly-named REG Grays Harbor, LLC with an additional loan capacity of up to $5.0 million to fund capital expenditures and improvements at the facility. In addition, Imperium retained its net working capital value of approximately $25 million.
"We are excited to now offer high-quality REG-9000 biomass-based diesel produced at Grays Harbor to better serve new and existing customers along the west coast and other low-carbon fuel markets, " said REG President and CEO Daniel J. Oh. "The transition at Grays Harbor has been seamless so far thanks to the dedicated team at Imperium who we are now proud to have as members of the REG family."
Most of Imperium's employees have agreed to stay on with REG. The Grays Harbor location includes 18 million gallons of storage capacity and a terminal that can accommodate feedstock intake and fuel delivery on deep-water PANAMAX class vessels as well as possessing significant rail and truck transport capabilities. A formal grand opening will be announced at a later date.
(KPBS) By Matt Hoffman
It's 7:30 a.m. on game day at Petco Park in downtown San Diego and the food trucks have just started rolling in.
As part of his daily routine, Petco Park executive chef Carlos Vargas awaits the fresh produce.
During home games, local growers like Suzie's Farm and Melissa's Produce, based out of Los Angeles, make daily deliveries of fresh vegetables and fruits.
"See the quality of the raspberries that we have in here? It's just unbelievable how good and sweet they are," said Vargas after tasting one of the raspberries.
In late June, the San Diego Padres and concession partner Delaware North were recognized as "Champions of Game Day Food" in a joint report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Green Sports Alliance.
The report named the Padres and Petco Park as one of the top locations for stadium eats in the country for their sustainability efforts and food quality.
Allen Hershkowitz, president for Green Sports Alliance, said the Padres are setting an example for other stadiums.
"The Padres are providing valuable lessons not only to professional sports venues throughout North America, but actually professional sports venues throughout the world," Hershkowitz said.
More than 95 percent of the San Diego Padres concession stands and restaurants get their food from Southern California.
Scott Marshall, vice president and chief hospitality officer for the Padres, said food sales are up.
"We've seen an overall increase in food sales because people are coming to the ballpark earlier to have a meal, they're staying later," Marshall said. "Typically our locations would close at the seventh inning. We're seeing that go beyond the game because people want to have that food experience."
That food experience includes 15 local restaurants that have set up shop in the stadium concourse, giving Padre fans a unique taste of San Diego.
"What we found by bringing in and introducing Hodads, was that we started something very special," Marshall said. "From that the floodgates kind of opened and we had Phil's come in, we had Seaside Market come in, Rimel's, Zenbu, Pizza Port, and we really kinda put a taste of San Diego here at the ballpark."
Getting local food reduces what environmentalists call food miles - costs and resources used when transporting food. Vargas said there is a noticeable freshness using local vendors.
Traditional concessions like nachos, hamburgers, and hot dogs come locally as well, with the hot dogs coming from just outside Chula Vista.
"The company is Tarantino's. That's who we buy all of our sausages and all of our friar frank dogs. That's our actual dog here for the stadium," Vargas said.
But what happens to the food that doesn't get eaten? What's still good is donated to local shelters.
Food that's considered waste may end up in one of the 20 waste reduction initiatives of the ballpark. Other green practices include making mulch from grass clippings and creating biodiesel with an Escondido-based company.
"Buster Biofuels comes in and they take all of our used cooking oil and they turn it into biodiesel," said John McEvoy, Padres director of facilities services. "We actually use about 125 gallons of that back in the tractors that we use on the field for mowing the grass throughout the season."
The Padres waste diversion rate is currently at 77 percent, with plans for 80 percent by the end of 2015.
(BIOFUELS DIGEST) Pacific Ethanol switches on Corn Oil production at its Boardman, Oregon plant
July 29, 2015 | Jim Lane
In California, Pacific Ethanol has begun commercial production of corn oil utilizing Valicor's corn oil recovery system at its Columbia ethanol plant located in Boardman, Oregon. With the completion of this 2-year initiative, all four of the western Pacific Ethanol plants are now producing corn oil.
In May, Pacific Ethanol began commercial production of corn oil utilizing Valicor's proprietary VFRAC corn oil recovery system at its Madera, California plant. Neil Koehler, the company's president and CEO, stated: "With the production of distillers corn oil at our Columbia plant, all of our ethanol facilities separate corn oil for sale into high-value markets.
Corn oil production has been a major milestone for the company, and one that we expect to provide significant benefits as it broadens our co-product mix, further diversifies our revenue streams and enhances operating income."
(OREGON PUBLIC BROADCASTING) Mayor Details Portland's Plans To Battle Climate Change Following Vatican Trip
by OPB Staff OPB | July 28, 2015 3:59 p.m. | Portland
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales last week joined more than 60 mayors from around the world on a trip to The Vatican to meet with Pope Francis about climate change.
The group also discussed ways to address human trafficking during the two-day summit.
On Tuesday, Hales spoke with Think Out Loud host Conrad Wilson about the city's plans for curbing the effects of climate change following his trip.
"We've just actually looked at the idea for something called 'green bonds' where you can finance environmentally-responsible investments with a bond issue which is then sold in the marketplace at reasonable rates. We think Portland is going to be an early adopter and world leader in using green bonds to finance things," Hales said.
Hales also spoke about the city's reliance on fossil fuels.
"TriMet brags about biodiesel on our buses. That's great, but they're only using 5 percent biodiesel on our buses. Let's see if we can take up a notch, or two, or three or four notches and really get serious about traveling around the city using less fossil fuel."
The mayor also spoke about adding more solar panels to buildings and increasing the scale of the city's green initiatives.