Oil’s Price Drop Forces Lower Prices for Brazilian Biofuel (Ethanol) Makers

The plunge in oil prices to multi-year lows could have a sour aftertaste for Brazilian sugar processors.

Source: blogs.wsj.com

“> […] The drop in crude prices may spell even more trouble for one of the mills’ two chief products: ethanol. Processors have ramped up production of the biofuel as a way to generate revenue as sugar prices plunged. But now that alternative may lose its luster if cheap gasoline gets in the way. Ultimately, it may push more sugar on the market.

Raw sugar futures on ICE Futures U.S. recently fell 1.6% to a more than six-week low of 15.68 cents a pound. […]

Brazil is the world’s top producer of cane-based ethanol and cane processors have been dedicating more of their cane to produce the biofuel as an alternative to producing sugar, which has slumped in price.

Since Brazil’s cane harvest began in April, mills in the center-south – Brazil’s main cane-growing region – have dedicated 56.1% of their cane to make ethanol, and the rest to make sugar, compared with a 54.7%-45.2% split at the same point last year, according to sugar-industry group Unica.

“If gasoline gets cheaper, it affects ethanol’s competiveness in the blend,” said Jack Scoville, a vice president at Chicago brokerage Price Futures Group. […]”<

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European Airlines Contracts Biofuel Supplier For Biofuel Powered Flights

SAS has, along with the Lufthansa Group and KLM, signed an agreement with Statoil Aviation for a regular supply of 2.5 million liters (660,430 gallons) of biofuel at Oslo Airport, allowing the airport to offer a regular supply of biobased fuel.

Source: biomassmagazine.com

>” […] Via an agreement signed with Avinor and the above named airlines, Statoil Aviation is to supply 2.5 million liters (660,430 gallons) of biofuel to the refueling facility at Oslo Airport. With a 50 percent biofuel mix, this will fuel around 3,000 flights between Oslo and Bergen and make OSL the first major airport in the world to offer a regular supply of biofuel as part of daily operations from March 2015. […]

SAS aims to use synthetic fuel on an increasingly regular basis in the next few years, and expects biofuel to become competitive with the fossil fuel alternative. For this to happen, a general environment and tax policy will be required from governments, based on aviation being a form of internationally competitive public transport with thin profit margins.”<

 

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Oil price loss seen as gain for consumers: ‘What is saved at the pumps will be spent at malls’

Financial Post | Business

OTTAWA — The federal government isn’t fretting, just yet, over the drain on Canada’s finances caused by a seemingly endless weakening in oil prices, a situation aggravated by OPEC’s decision Thursday not to cut its production levels.

But there will be some obvious benefits to four-year-low oil prices — cheaper gasoline at the pumps, for one, and a possible knock-on buying effect for some consumer-dependent sectors of the economy.

“What is saved at the pumps will be spent at the malls,” said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC World Markets.

[kaltura-widget uiconfid=”23273481″ entryid=”0_tfjgdlrz” ]

Crude prices experienced the biggest single-day drop since May 2011 after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries kept its production levels on hold — a move widely telegraphed by the cartel — despite the current glut of oil and reduced global demand.

Finance Minister Joe Oliver, who was previously Canada’s natural resources minister, played down…

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The petrodollar effect: Just how much is the loonie tied to oil prices?

Financial Post | Business

The recent crash in oil prices has set the stage for the most-anticipated OPEC meeting in years on Thursday. As oil-producing powerbrokers prepare to gather in Vienna, the Financial Post and Calgary Herald this week present Oil Pressure, a look at the forces buffeting, and buffeted by, the new oil world order. Today, the ties that bind Canada’s economic fate to energy prices.

CALGARY – Calling the Canadian dollar a “petrodollar” certainly makes sense if you mean the fact that the latest batch of bank notes are made out of polymer plastic, derived from petroleum products. But more than ever, economists are split on whether or not the term makes sense any longer in describing the correlation between the value of our loonie and the price of oil.

If it is a petrodollar, “it isn’t a very good petrodollar,” said Jack Mintz, director of the University of Calgary’s School of…

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Retro-fit NYC Office Building Achieve’s LEED-EB Gold Rating

A $9 million retrofit that included $1.5 million in improvements that can be directly or indirectly linked to energy and water savings has elevated the building to a select group that includes 1440 Broadway, 498 Seventh Avenue and 345 Hudson Street.

Source: www.rew-online.com

>” […] Built in 1919, the 22-story tower with a block-through arcade of service shops for tenants, has undergone a plethora of changes to improve sustainability to achieve Gold Certification that include reducing water use by over 25 percent annually, saving over 536,800 gallons a year; recycling over 79 percent of ongoing consumable waste; recycling 100 percent of electronics waste; achieving Energy Star Label and Energy Star Scores of 86 and 83 in 2013 and 2014, respectively; and purchasing green power and carbon offsets from US-generated wind energy and landfill gas capture projects representing over 50% of the property’s two-year energy use

“The LEED-EB Gold Certification at 28 West 44th Street demonstrates APF Properties’ ongoing commitment to providing its tenants with a sustainable, modern and healthy environment in which to work,” said John Fitzsimmons, vice president/director of Real Estate Operations at APF Properties.

“Our overall goal is to achieve Energy Star and LEED Certification throughout our commercial office building portfolio in New York, Philadelphia and Houston.

[…]

LEED was developed to define and clarify the term “green building” by establishing a common standard of measurement — a benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance buildings.

To earn LEED certification, a building must meet certain prerequisites and performance criteria within five key areas of environmental health: 1) sustainable site development, 2) water savings, 3) energy efficiency, 4) materials selection, and 5) indoor environmental quality. Projects are awarded Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification, depending on the number of credits achieved.”<

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Energy Efficiency, Smart Buildings & Wireless Control Systems

Energy efficient technology and services for the building sector will double by 2022, according to a new report …

Source: www.climatecontrolnews.com.au

>”[…] Since buildings account for a large portion of national energy consumption, most of the governments in the Asia Pacific region have taken steps to promote energy management and energy efficiency in both new construction and existing buildings. […]

“With about 40 per cent of the world’s building stock, Asia Pacific represents a major portion of global real estate,” he said.

“Growing concerns about air pollution in Chinese cities, in particular, is expected to further drive investment in energy efficiency technologies to reduce China’s demand for coal-based electricity.

“The market for energy efficient buildings is expected to double in the next eight years, reaching nearly $92 billion in annual revenue by 2022.”

The largest segment of the energy efficient buildings market in Asia Pacific today is advanced lighting […]

“The commercial buildings sector in the region will experience a significant increase in the adoption of these products in the coming years,” Bloom said. Entitled“Energy Efficient Buildings: Asia Pacific”, the report examines the trends for energy efficient building technology and services in the Asia Pacific region.

It covers three main areas of technology – HVAC, energy efficient lighting, and commercial building automation – as well as the energy service company (ESCO) sector.

The convergence of building automation, information technology, and wireless communications is another area of growth identified by Navigant Research.

A separate report examines the state of the global wireless building controls industry, including global market forecasts for wireless node unit shipments and revenue through 2023.

Wireless controls can be used to link devices found in a variety of building systems, including heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, fire and life safety, and security and access.

In addition, they often provide networked control in buildings or areas where wired controls are simply too challenging or expensive to install.

Worldwide revenue from wireless control systems for smart buildings is expected to grow from $97 million annually in 2014 to $434 million in 2023.  […]

While the adoption and deployment of wireless systems based on standard technologies and protocols, such as Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and EnOcean, are increasing, most wireless devices and control networks used today utilize proprietary, vendor-specific wireless communications technology.

That is likely to change as the demand for interoperability grows, according to the “Wireless Control Systems for Smart Buildings” report. “<

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Built in 1928 Chicago Apartment Building Energy Retrofit Achieves EPA Energy Star Certification

To say the 55-unit building in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood was in disarray when it was changing hands in 2009 would be an understatement.

Source: www.chicagotribune.com

>” […] the building is among the first in the Midwest — and only three in Chicago — to achieve the Environmental Protection Agency’s new Energy Star certification for multifamily buildings. Also receiving the designation were two condominium buildings in Chicago, 680 N. Lake Shore Drive and River City, at 800 S. Wells.

[…] Jeffery Parkway also stands as an example of how an older, smaller, affordable apartment building can be made more comfortable for its tenants while saving its owner cash in the long run.

Seeking a neutral third party to help them figure out the entire scope of a rehab project, the Soods obtained a free energy audit of the building and its systems from Elevate Energy, a Chicago-based nonprofit that works with consumers and businesses to improve energy efficiency.

Elevate looks at historical analyses of a building’s energy use and compares it with similar buildings in terms of age and size. Then it performs an on-site performance assessment of the existing heating, cooling and lighting systems and makes recommendations for potential improvements. […]

“The average cost of a retrofit is about $2,500 to $3,000 a unit,” Ludwig said. “We’re not talking about huge-ticket items. A lot of times we are trying to identify the most cost-effective retrofit measures, how can we tighten the building envelope. It doesn’t have to mean a new boiler is going in the basement.”

However, in the case of Jeffery Parkway, it did mean a new steam boiler and new water heaters, among other upgrades.

The project was financially feasible because of a loan from nonprofit Community Investment Corp.’s Energy Savers loan program, which offers a seven-year loan with a 3 percent fixed interest rate for qualified upgrades made to buildings in the seven-county Chicago area and Rockford. […]

“We will cover any of the recommendations that show up in the energy assessment, and we’ll also do other energy-related improvements,” said Jim Wheaton, manager of the Energy Savers program. “This is not a program designed for the North Lake Shore Drive high-rise. It’s designed for buildings affordable for working folks.”

Multifamily buildings receive an Energy Star score of 1 to 100, and those that score above 75 can apply for the certification. Nautilus’ building received a score of 99.

“The savings are tremendous,” Sandeep Sood said. “We were facing, just on the gas bill, a $60,000 bill a year. As of last year, our bill was $18,000. It was an unbelievable savings.” […]”<

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ACEEE Recommends Demand Response as a Strategy to Conquer Peak Demand for Utilities

By Steven Nadel

” … a potential emerging trend that could have a large impact on many utilities: the reduction of the traditional mid-afternoon peak, and the growth of an evening peak. (Peak is the time when demand for power is highest.)”

Source: aceee.org

>” […] In many regions, evening peaks have been growing, as more consumers install air conditioners and operate them when they get home from work. But two other factors are augmenting this trend. First and foremost is the growth in consumer-owned photovoltaic systems. These systems generate the most power on sunny afternoons, which is about when the traditional early afternoon peak occurs. But when the sun goes down, extra power is quickly needed to replace this solar power.  […]

There are many ways to address the growing evening peak, including the following:

  1. Energy efficiency, particularly measures that reduce the evening peak such as efficient lamps, water heaters, stoves and ovens.
  2. Smart controllers that minimize energy use during the evening peak. To provide just one example, a smart refrigerator would not turn on the defrost cycle during this period and might even turn off the main compressor for a few minutes.
  3. Likewise, smart charging systems for electric vehicles could be used, such as a new system recently demonstrated by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), working with a consortium of utilities and auto manufacturers.
  4. Expanded use of demand-response programs to lower the new peak (and coordination of these efforts with energy efficiency programs).
  5. Time-of-use rates and/or demand charges that raise the price of power use during peak times and a lower them at off-peak times.
  6. Use of energy storage at a system, community, or end-user level. Storage able to provide power for several hours could be very useful.Fast ramp-up generation to serve the evening peak and other times when renewable energy production plummets, for example when the wind dies down. Hydro is ideal, but fast ramp-up gas units are now entering the market.

In my opinion, the time of the peak will change in many regions. The shift will be gradual in most areas, so we have time to address it. Rather than trying to stop this change by restricting photovoltaic systems, we’ll be better off figuring out how to manage it, […]”<

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‘Demand Response’ is ‘Disruptive Technology’ Shutting Down Power Plants

FirstEnergy Corp. has a traditional view of wholesale electricity markets: They’re a competition between iron-in-the-ground facilities that can put megawatts on the grid when those megawatts are needed. Think coal plants, nuclear reactors and hydroelectric dams. Missing from the definition is a consumer’s promise to turn off the lights when the grid is stressed — so-called demand response. Instead of creating energy during peak times, demand response resources conserve it, freeing up megawatts […]

Source: powersource.post-gazette.com

>” […]The idea is not new and has been expanding in the territory of PJM Interconnection, a Valley Forge-based grid operator that manages the flow of electricity to 13 states, including Pennsylvania.

FirstEnergy, which owns power plants and utility companies across several states, wants PJM to abandon the demand response concept.

The Ohio-based energy company says demand response, which doesn’t require any kind of capital commitment, is “starving” traditional generation out of its rightful revenue in wholesale markets.

“We feel that it’s going to lead to even more premature closures of power plants,” said Doug Colafella, a spokesman for the firm.

Specifically, FirstEnergy is fighting to get demand response kicked out of PJM’s annual capacity auction, which ensures there’s enough electricity resources to meet projected power demand three years in advance. The auction establishes a single clearing price that will be paid to all successful bidders, like a retainer fee, in exchange for their promise to be available to be called upon three years from now.

During the May auction, which set capacity prices for the 2017-2018 year, the clearing price was $120 a day for each megawatt of electricity bidders committed. About 6 percent, or about 11,000 megawatts, of the capacity secured came from demand response.

FirstEnergy’s Bruce Mansfield coal-fired power plant in Beaver County failed to clear the auction. The company has since postponed upgrades to the facility, which could jeopardize its functioning beyond 2016.

Capacity payments are a stable source of revenue for baseload generation plants, Mr. Colafella said, and a price signal to the market about which way demand is headed, giving generators some indication about whether new facilities will be necessary and profitable.

Demand response distorts that dynamic, he said.

Since May, FirstEnergy has intensified its efforts to drive demand response out of PJM’s markets, having seized on a related court case involving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“FirstEnergy’s business model is that electricity consumption has been flattening, so they want to take a larger share of the market and how do you take a larger share? You bulldoze everybody out,” said Mei Shibata, CEO of The Energy Agency, a marketing and communications firm and co-author of a recent report on the market for demand response in the U.S. for GreenTech Media Research.

In May, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated a rule created by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2011 that said demand response should be treated the same way as power plants in wholesale energy markets. That meant demand response providers could offer to shut down a day in advance, when grid operators book electricity for the following day, and get the same price as megawatts from generation.

An electric power industry group sued the FERC claiming that the call to shut off electricity in exchange for payment is a retail choice and retail falls exclusively within state jurisdiction, not federal. The court agreed, setting in motion FirstEnergy’s challenge to demand response in capacity markets, which were not addressed by the court decision. If demand response is a retail product in one context, then it’s a retail product in all, the logic goes.

The same day the court issued its decision, FirstEnergy filed a lawsuit asking a judge to order PJM to recalculate the results of its May capacity auction stripping out demand response.

PJM objected. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, which intervened in that case, charged FirstEnergy with “jumping the gun” on its logic and called its proposal an “unprecedented and wholly unnecessary disruption of the capacity market auction process.”

Even if demand response is excluded from the daily wholesale market as the court decision wills, the market for this resource will continue to expand, said Ms. Shibata.

If, however, FirstEnergy succeeds in kicking demand response out of the capacity market, “that would be a much bigger deal,” she said.

PJM leads the nation in demand response resources, according to Ms. Shibata’s research, and anything that happens to demand response at PJM would likely trickle down to the other grid operators around the country. […]”<

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Leaked Documents Reveal Industry PR Push For “Energy East” a Larger Canadian Pipeline after Keystone XL

With the debate still raging over Keystone XL, the company behind the pipeline is already hard at work promoting a PR strategy for its larger and entirely Canadian pipeline, Energy East.

Source: thinkprogress.org

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