Science & Technology
Governor Quinn Addresses Solar Power International Conference in Chicago PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Brooke Anderson   
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 08:24

Illinois Has 185 Solar Supply Companies and is Among Top 10 Solar-Friendly States

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today addressed the 2013 Solar Power International conference in Chicago, highlighting the major advances Illinois has made in promoting and developing sustainable energy sources in the state. Today’s address is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to protect our natural resources and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.

“It is my pleasure to welcome the Solar Power International conference and its attendees from around the world,” Governor Quinn said. “In order to protect this great natural resource, we must educate ourselves and the world around us. In Illinois we understand the critical importance of solar energy and strengthening the industry to ensure a promising future for this innovative technology.”

Illinois is among the top 10 solar-friendly states based on solar power incentives, utility interconnection and metering policies. Governor Quinn has implemented standards that will require 25 percent of the state’s energy needs to be met by renewable energy by 2025, six percent of which must come from solar power.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Clean Energy Program builds upon Illinois’ significant potential for renewable power by offering services and incentives for residents and businesses. More than 1,700 clean energy rebates and grants have been awarded for solar, wind, biomass and biogas installations in Illinois. These $24 million in incentives have supported $100 million in solar project installations. There are 185 companies in the solar supply chain in Illinois that employ 1,700 workers. In Chicago, 45 companies focus on solar energy research and development, investment, installation and related professional services.

More than $27 million was invested in solar electric installations in Illinois in 2012, a 259 percent increase over the previous year. Average prices for residential and commercial solar systems in Illinois have fallen by 26 percent from 2011 to 2012 and the state’s solar capacity is currently enough to power 6,200 households.

Illinois’ focus on developing clean energy creates jobs, improves the environment, saves natural resources and increases the nation’s energy independence.

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"Fueling our Future": New biofuels program will expand E-30 and biodiesel availability, usage throughout Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Tim Albrecht   
Monday, 14 October 2013 13:06

(DES MOINES) - Gov. Terry E. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, agriculture Sec. Bill Northey and DOT Director Paul Trombino today announced a new biofuels pilot program called “Fueling Our Future,” a public-private partnership that aims to assist in expanding the market for mid-level biofuels blends, building on Iowa’s history as a leader in ethanol and biodiesel development and production.

Through the use of current funding, this initiative will redirect federal funds to further leverage state dollars in the existing renewable fuel infrastructure program, establishing more blender pumps containing E-30 and biodiesel at gas retailers around the state.

“This pilot program will provide Iowans with additional access to higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel, which will help our farmers, communities and economy in producing, processing and profiting locally,” said Branstad.

Iowa State University will work closely on this initiative to evaluate consumer perceptions and the impact of increased assess to mid-level biofuels blending options, including impacts on improved air quality.

“Iowa’s success in biofuels is due to our abundant natural resources, the hard work that goes into its production, and the choice that consumers make in supporting locally-produced and renewable biofuels,” said Reynolds. “I look forward to the installation of these new mid-level blender pumps at locations around Iowa next spring and am hopeful that neighboring states will take a similar approach.”

The Fueling Our Future program will be supported by the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Department of Transportation, Iowa State University and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Board.

“This initiative is a great example of coordination and collaboration between the DOT and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship,” said Trombino. “Better leveraging resources from a variety of stakeholders in this public-private partnership will help increase market access to biofuels for Iowa consumers and further diversify our energy portfolio.”

Northey highlighted the value-added component.

“Iowa has a robust biofuels industry that is an important value-add to our state’s agricultural sector,” said Northey. “Bolstering biofuels infrastructure will help Iowa consumers and farmers through increased access to these renewable fuels that are produced right here in Iowa.”

More information on the program can be found at: www.iowaagriculture.gov/agMarketing/IRFIP.asp

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The Energy Professionals Association Conference to Address Energy Market Challenges, Opportunities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Aaron Cook   
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 12:54

DALLAS – Oct 2, 2013 – The Energy Professionals Association (TEPA), a non-profit organization 501 (c)(6) committed to upholding the integrity of the deregulated retail energy market, has announced that it will host its annual conference on November 13-14, 2013, at the Hotel ZaZa - Dallas.  More than 300 of the nation’s top brokers, providers, executives, thought-leaders and policymakers will attend the conference to discuss opportunities and challenges facing the energy procurement industry.

“Our annual conference plays an important role in the health of the retail energy market,” said Michael Harris, president of TEPA. “Energy procurement is continually evolving based on a host of market variables.  Our TEPA conference creates a critical common ground for energy providers and brokers to meet and identify the challenges and opportunities that will make working with REPs easier for consumers.   Part of the conference will include the presentation of important research related to the availability, reliability, sustainability and profitability of the market.”

The 2013 conference will feature presentations by recognized experts from the Texas legislature, private energy sector, leading brokers and representatives from the retail energy sector.  This year’s conference will also introduce a new breakout session, “Energy 101” for new brokers.  This breakout session will help new brokers understand how the energy market functions, as well as the importance of following ethical standards when representing buyers and providers during an energy procurement deal.

“This year TEPA has taken its first steps to become a national organization,” said Harris.  “In August, we met with brokers and providers in the Northeast to introduce them to TEPA.  As a result, we’ve created our first national chapter outside of Texas.  The new Northeast TEPA Board will be announced during our annual conference.”

The 2012 conference will feature exciting social events in addition to hosting some of the industry’s most dynamic speakers. Registration is $300-$350 per person; group rates may apply. Those interested in attending can register online by clicking the link. More information about the 2013 annual TEPA Conference can be found at www.tepaUSA.org.

The Energy Professionals Association (TEPA) is a 501 (c)(6) organization that establishes a standardized code of conduct, serves as an educational resource and advocates legislative initiatives for the Texas deregulated energy market. TEPA members include Aggregators, Brokers, and Consultants (ABCs), Retail Electricity Providers (REPs) and affiliate members. TEPA members exhibit expertise, ethical practices and a high level of professionalism to help consumers buy electricity in the restructured Texas marketplace. For more information contact Aaron Cook at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,

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QCESC STEM Trivia Night PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Chris Cournoyer   
Tuesday, 01 October 2013 08:48

QCESC STEM Trivia Night Benefiting the Quad City Engineering and Science Council (for local promotion of Science Technology Engineering and Math support)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Doors open at 6:00 P.M.;

Trivia starts at 7:00 P.M.

• At the St. Ambrose University Rogalski Center, 518 West Locust Street, Davenport, Iowa

• 8 Person Teams, $10 per person (Table Minimum $50)

Everyone will be entered into a drawing for door prizes.

Mulligans 10 for $10—you may use more than 1 per round

Doublers 1 for $10—to double the score of any round you choose

• Each team may bring in their own snacks.

Cash bar, pizza and snacks will be available for purchase.

• All proceeds will go to the QCESC

• Trivia will consist of 10 rounds of 10 general knowledge questions. You DON’T have to be a genius to play and have fun!

• 1st Place team will receive double their money back

• 2nd Place team will receive their money back

• Pre-register at www.qcesc.org

Questions? Contact Chris at 563-505-6703 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Don’t have enough for a table? Come anyway and we will assign you to a table!

 
Is Ethanol RIN Market being Exploited by Wall Street? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 15:34

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Grassley Presses EPA to Increase Transparency and Address Reports that RIN Market is Being Exploited by Wall Street

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa is pressing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase the transparency of the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market and provide assurances that the market is functioning for its intended purpose, rather than acting as a profit mechanism for Wall Street banks and other financial institutions.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Grassley wrote, “I’m concerned about recent reports of manipulation or exploitation of the RIN market by non-obligated parties, including financial institutions.  Allegations that the opaqueness of this market is leading to abuse and exploitation by individuals or firms simply to generate profits at the expense of refiners, other obligated parties, and perhaps consumers is troubling.”

A copy of the text of Grassley’s letter to McCarthy is below.  A signed copy can be found here.

 

September 25, 2013

The Honorable Gina McCarthy

Administrator

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20460

 

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

I’ve been a strong supporter of domestically produced biofuels for many years.  The production of homegrown biofuels allows American consumers to use a product that is renewable, cleaner and domestically produced.  The Renewable Fuel Standard has been a great success in achieving higher use of biofuels in our transportation fuel supply.

The Renewable Fuel Standard includes a RIN credit trading system. The RIN credit market was created as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard to provide flexibility and aid obligated parties in complying with their annual renewable volume obligations (RVO’s).

I’m concerned about recent reports of manipulation or exploitation of the RIN market by non-obligated parties, including financial institutions.  Allegations that the opaqueness of this market is leading to abuse and exploitation by individuals or firms simply to generate profits at the expense of refiners, other obligated parties, and perhaps consumers is troubling.  The EPA needs to provide assurances that this market is functioning for its intended purpose, rather than acting as a profit mechanism for Wall Street banks and other financial institutions.  For that reason, I’d like the EPA to respond to the following questions.

1.      Other trading markets are regulated to protect market participants against fraud, manipulation and abusive trading practices.  What safeguards does EPA have in place to protect against RIN market manipulation and abuses by non-obligated third parties who are not directly involved in the renewable fuel supply chain?

2.      Please describe the oversight network EPA has in place to ensure that the RIN credit market is not manipulated by obligated parties or non-obligated parties.

3.      Is EPA working to modify the RIN credit market to eliminate manipulation and abusive trading practices like hoarding?  Has EPA considered implementing the type of volatility controls that are present in other markets, such as limits on daily price movements, position limits, etc.?

4.       Is there a way for the general public and all parties who generate, own or trade RINs to discover the market price for RINS through the EPA’s EMTS system?  How do the prices reported by third-party industry publications compare to prices reported to the EMTS system?

5.      Why doesn’t EPA publicly disclose information that would enhance the transparency of the RIN market?  Has EPA considered providing aggregated data to the public regarding RIN transaction prices, volumes traded, and volumes held by the various segments of the marketplace (i.e., obligated refiners, obligated importers, non-obligated blenders/marketers, and non-obligated third parties with no tie to the supply chain)?

6.      Is it possible for consumers or obligated parties to determine the amount of separated RINs in the market at a given time?  Is it possible at any given time to determine from publicly available data who holds those separated RINs?

7.      To what degree are non-obligated parties with no direct involvement in the fuel supply chain (e.g., financial institutions, speculative investors, etc.) participating in the RIN market?  What percentage of separated RINs are being held by non-obligated parties with no tie to the fuel supply chain?  What percentage are being held by non-obligated blenders, marketers and retailers?

8.      Is the current opaque RIN credit market the best way to achieve a fair, orderly and efficient market that protects market participants and is free of manipulation?

9.      Has EPA considered installing external oversight over the RIN credit market?

It’s troubling that there appears to be no way to determine who is trading the credits, at what price, and at what volumes.  It’s even more alarming that it’s impossible to know the extent of the involvement of financial or other speculators.  It’s imperative, to maintain confidence that the pricing of RINs is based on market forces and not manipulation or excessive speculation, that EPA increase the transparency of the market.  By answering these questions, EPA may be able to provide the necessary transparency.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to your prompt reply.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley

United States Senator


 
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