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    A group of Spanish investors is building a new bioethanol plant in the western region of Extremadura that should be producing fuel from maize in 2009. Alcoholes Biocarburantes de Extremadura (Albiex) has already started work on the site near Badajoz and expects to spend €42/$59 million on the plant in the next two years. It will produce 110 million litres a year of bioethanol and 87 million kg of grain byproduct that can be used for animal feed. Europapress - September 28, 2007.

    Portuguese fuel company Prio SA and UK based FCL Biofuels have joined forces to launch the Portuguese consumer biodiesel brand, PrioBio, in the UK. PrioBio is scheduled to be available in the UK from 1st November. By the end of this year (2007), says FCL Biofuel, the partnership’s two biodiesel refineries will have a total capacity of 200,000 tonnes which will is set to grow to 400,000 tonnes by the end of 2010. Biofuel Review - September 27, 2007.

    According to Tarja Halonen, the Finnish president, one third of the value of all of Finland's exports consists of environmentally friendly technologies. Finland has invested in climate and energy technologies, particularly in combined heat and power production from biomass, bioenergy and wind power, the president said at the UN secretary-general's high-level event on climate change. Newroom Finland - September 25, 2007.

    Spanish engineering and energy company Abengoa says it had suspended bioethanol production at the biggest of its three Spanish plants because it was unprofitable. It cited high grain prices and uncertainty about the national market for ethanol. Earlier this year, the plant, located in Salamanca, ceased production for similar reasons. To Biopact this is yet another indication that biofuel production in the EU/US does not make sense and must be relocated to the Global South, where the biofuel can be produced competitively and sustainably, without relying on food crops. Reuters - September 24, 2007.

    The Midlands Consortium, comprised of the universities of Birmingham, Loughborough and Nottingham, is chosen to host Britain's new Energy Technologies Institute, a £1 billion national organisation which will aim to develop cleaner energies. University of Nottingham - September 21, 2007.

    The EGGER group, one of the leading European manufacturers of chipboard, MDF and OSB boards has begun work on installing a 50MW biomass boiler for its production site in Rion. The new furnace will recycle 60,000 tonnes of offcuts to be used in the new combined heat and power (CHP) station as an ecological fuel. The facility will reduce consumption of natural gas by 75%. IHB Network - September 21, 2007.

    Analysts fear that record oil prices will fuel general inflation in Kenya, particularly hitting the poorest hard. They call for the development of new policies and strategies to cope with sustained high oil prices. Such policies include alternative fuels like biofuels, conservation measures, and more investments in oil and gas exploration. The poor in Kenya are hit hardest by the sharp increase, because they spend most of their budget on fuel and transport. Furthermore, in oil intensive economies like Kenya, high oil prices push up prices for food and most other basic goods. All Africa - September 20, 2007.

    Finland's Metso Power has won an order to supply Kalmar Energi Värme AB with a biomass-fired power boiler for the company’s new combined heat and power plant in Kalmar on the east coast of Sweden. Start-up for the plant is scheduled for the end of 2009. The value of the order is approximately EUR 55 million. The power boiler (90 MWth) will utilize bubbling fluidized bed technology and will burn biomass replacing old district heating boilers and reducing the consumption of oil. The delivery will also include a flue gas condensing system to increase plant's district heat production. Metso Corporation - September 19, 2007.

    Jo-Carroll Energy announced today its plan to build an 80 megawatt, biomass-fueled, renewable energy center in Illinois. The US$ 140 million plant will be fueled by various types of renewable biomass, such as clean waste wood, corn stover and switchgrass. Jo-Carroll Energy - September 18, 2007.

    Beihai Gofar Marine Biological Industry Co Ltd, in China's southern region of Guangxi, plans to build a 100,000 tonne-per-year fuel ethanol plant using cassava as feedstock. The Shanghai-listed company plans to raise about 560 million yuan ($74.5 million) in a share placement to finance the project and boost its cash flow. Reuters - September 18, 2007.

    The oil-dependent island state of Fiji has requested US company Avalor Capital, LLC, to invest in biodiesel and ethanol. The Fiji government has urged the company to move its $250million 'Fiji Biofuels Project' forward at the earliest possible date. Fiji Live - September 18, 2007.

    The Bowen Group, one of Ireland's biggest construction groups has announced a strategic move into the biomass energy sector. It is planning a €25 million investment over the next five years to fund up to 100 projects that will create electricity from biomass. Its ambition is to install up to 135 megawatts of biomass-fuelled heat from local forestry sources, which is equal to 50 million litres or about €25m worth of imported oil. Irish Examiner - September 16, 2007.

    According to Dr Niphon Poapongsakorn, dean of Economics at Thammasat University in Thailand, cassava-based ethanol is competitive when oil is above $40 per barrel. Thailand is the world's largest producer and exporter of cassava for industrial use. Bangkok Post - September 14, 2007.

    German biogas and biodiesel developer BKN BioKraftstoff Nord AG has generated gross proceeds totaling €5.5 million as part of its capital increase from authorized capital. Ad Hoc News - September 13, 2007.

    NewGen Technologies, Inc. announced that it and Titan Global Holdings, Inc. completed a definitive Biofuels Supply Agreement which will become effective upon Titan’s acquisition of Appalachian Oil Company. Given APPCO’s current distribution of over 225 million gallons of fuel products per year, the initial expected ethanol supply to APPCO should exceed 1 million gallons a month. Charlotte dBusinessNews - September 13, 2007.

    Oil prices reach record highs as the U.S. Energy Information Agency releases a report that showed crude oil inventories fell by more than seven million barrels last week. The rise comes despite a decision by the international oil cartel, OPEC, to raise its output quota by 500,000 barrels. Reuters - September 12, 2007.

    OPEC decided today to increase the volume of crude supplied to the market by Member Countries (excluding Angola and Iraq) by 500,000 b/d, effective 1 November 2007. The decision comes after oil reached near record-highs and after Saudi Aramco announced that last year's crude oil production declined by 1.7 percent, while exports declined by 3.1 percent. OPEC - September 11, 2007.

    GreenField Ethanol and Monsanto Canada launch the 'Gro-ethanol' program which invites Ontario's farmers to grow corn seed containing Monsanto traits, specifically for the ethanol market. The corn hybrids eligible for the program include Monsanto traits that produce higher yielding corn for ethanol production. MarketWire - September 11, 2007.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Sacramento utility in 10 year contract to purchase competitive biomass energy

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Board of Directors announces it has approved the extension of an 18-month contract with Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) for the purchase of carbon-neutral renewable energy from a new biomass plant in Burlington, WA.

The agreement will allow SMUD to buy 15 to 23 megawatts of round-the-clock baseload power at a competitive cost relative to other renewables like wind or solar, through July 31, 2017. This is enough electricity to serve between 13,000 and 20,000 homes.

Biomass power plants have advantages over wind and solar energy, in that the latter are intermittent energy sources, not capable of generating electricity when there's no wind or sunshine. They need baseload back-up from another source (mostly fossil fuels). Biomass on the contrary is an energy carrier and can be stored, traded, and utilized to provide a reliable baseload. With biomass, peaks in demand can easily be met. However, the difference should not be exaggerated as distributed wind and solar systems are being developed and new energy storage concepts are emerging.

What really sets biomass apart from other renewables is the fact that the energy carrier can be utilized in power stations and fuel production factilities that are coupled to carbon capture and storage systems. This allows for the production of radically carbon-negative energy which takes historic CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere. Such a concept is possible only with biomass; all other renewables are carbon-neutral at best.

Sierra Pacific Industries - a forestry company - turns wood waste into energy through seven cogeneration plants. Together, these facilities produce over 100 megawatts of electrical power. Bark, sawdust, and other low-grade byproducts of wood manufacturing processes were burned or sent to landfills in the past. Today, Sierra Pacific Industries turns these materials into biofuels for on-site cogeneration facilities and dedicated biomass power plants:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Besides the bioenergy purchase agreement, SMUD Board also approved a 10-year extension of a related transmission and exchange agreement with Seattle City Light. This agreement brings SMUD closer to its goal of getting 20 percent of its power supply from renewable energy sources by 2011. In 2006, SMUD’s power mix was made up of over 13 percent qualifying renewable sources.

Through its Greenergy program, SMUD offers consumers the choice of supporting energy created by green resources. Greenergy members can switch to 100 percent renewable resources for use on the SMUD power system for only pennies a day.

Renewable resources (like bioenergy and landfill gas created by waste decomposition) are used to create the energy for Greenergy, not conventional sources that pollute like coal. SMUD matches 40 percent of the Greenergy premium to help secure new power plants fueled by renewable resources.

More than 30,000 customers have signed up for SMUD's Greenergy. According to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), Greenergy qualifies as America's fifth-largest green pricing program based on the number of customers enrolled.

In addition to purchases of renewable power based on biomass, SMUD owns approximately 39 megawatts of wind generation (with an additional 63 megawatts on-line by year’s end) and 10.4 megawatts of solar power.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District: SMUD Board approves 10-year wood biomass purchase [*.pdf] - September 24, 2007.


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