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What to do with all these wood chips?

One Small Step for Torrefaction, One Giant Leap for the Bioeconomy

Commissioning of the US’s first commercial torrefaction facility is a milestone in its own right, and a potential game-changer for the bioeconomy’s inroads against fossil fuels

By Matt Lucas, PhD, Managing Director, Business Development

Moonshine: It might not sound synonymous with the bioeconomy, but at a massive scale, the fermentation of traditional sugar to create ethanol was where the bioeconomy got its start. Leaving behind tasty feedstocks and inebriating bioproducts until happy hour, today we see that the bioeconomy includes a growing and wide variety of feedstocks, processing technologies, and products. …

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By Brentan Alexander, PhD; Chief Science Officer & Chief Commercial Officer

Reports surfaced recently that President Trump had directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reject a series of applications for biofuel waivers submitted by U.S. oil refiners, and on Monday the EPA confirmed the action. The move is the latest, and likely last, development in a major drama that has pitted traditionally red constituencies against each other, with farm states battling against big oil. …

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By Brentan Alexander, PhD; Chief Science Officer & Chief Commercial Officer

A much-hyped petition to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which sought to end net metering on customer-side rooftop solar energy in the United States, was put to an unceremonious end last week. FERC commissioners unanimously voted to dismiss the petition. Submitted in April by a secretive group calling themselves the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA), the petition across the solar industry, with some actively questioning whether FERC’s response to the petition would be a fait accompli.

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A Renewable Future Is on the Horizon

By Brentan Alexander, PhD; Chief Science Officer & Chief Commercial Officer

Dominion Energy, one of the largest utilities in the United States with over 7 million customers across 18 states, recently announced that it was shedding a large portion of its natural gas portfolio to Berkshire Hathaway, including the largest storage site in the United States, while cancelling plans for a controversial pipeline project in Appalachia. The sale, worth almost $10 billion, transfers vast gas storage and transport holdings and refocuses Dominion’s activities on the regulated electricity sector. …

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By Brentan Alexander, PhD; Chief Science Officer & Chief Commercial Officer

Sunrun’s nearly $1.5 billion all-stock acquisition of Vivint Solar, announced today and expected to close later this year, creates an undisputed king in the residential solar space. The combined company, valued at over $9 billion, will control over 15% of the residential solar market. Its closest competitor, Tesla, claims just 6% of the market; its solar business entered free fall after it acquired the one-time leader SolarCity despite its troubling financial outlook (which led to shareholder lawsuits). Sunnova, another competitor that went public just over a year ago, is valued at only $1.6 billion, a fraction of Sunrun today. …

By Brentan Alexander, PhD; Chief Science Officer & Chief Commercial Officer, New Energy Risk

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For those fighting climate change, electric cars are often seen as an impactful (and conspicuous) choice to move away from fossil fuels. Tax credits at the federal level and further incentives in many states have helped make Tesla a household name. Competitors new and old, including Rivian and Ford, have announced new electric vehicles for the consumer market in an effort to keep up. Trucks, however, produce far higher levels of harmful pollutants and CO 2, and their impact is felt more acutely in minority communities. …

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Congress Is Mulling Renewable Energy Stimulus: They Should Think Bigger

By Brentan Alexander, PhD; Chief Science Officer & Chief Commercial Officer

With discussions in the U.S. Congress underway on the makeup of a ‘Phase 4’ coronavirus stimulus package, multiple reports are identifying clean and renewable energy as a key sector that Democrats hope to support. Although details are still scarce, ideas being floated include extensions of the investment tax credit (ITC) for solar power and other clean technologies, an extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for wind power, and the temporary conversion of these programs to a direct tax refund. …

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IRS Rules for 45Q Tax Credit Clear Path for US Carbon Capture Projects

By Dr. Matt Lucas, Managing Director, Business Development

At New Energy Risk, we’re excited about carbon capture technology, which is critical for hard-to-decarbonize industrial infrastructure. For carbon capture to continue to iterate and improve, it needs non-recourse project financing and the traditionally conservative tax equity community to come to the table. Tax equity is critical for monetizing the US federal tax credits like 45Q.

45Q is available for 12 years to incentivize carbon capture technology deployment for utilization, enhanced oil recovery, and geologic sequestration. To help attract tax equity, NER’s technology risk performance insurance solutions are a critical part of the desirable financial infrastructure. …

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Renewable Natural Gas Can’t Deliver The Carbon Neutral Future We Need

By Brentan Alexander, PhD; Chief Science Officer & Chief Commercial Officer, New Energy Risk

In the fight to supplant fossil fuels and build a climate friendly global economy, renewable natural gas (RNG) has been proposed as a prudent and cost-effective method of decarbonizing fossil-based natural gas. As a carbon-negative fuel source that works interchangeably in the hydrocarbon infrastructure we already have, RNG promises a rapid offsetting of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO 2) emissions from fossil gas without the need to reconfigure large portions of our energy delivery system. Mix some carbon-negative RNG in with fossil natural gas and voilà: The overall mix is carbon neutral.

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Corona-Lockdowns Shutter Vital Research

By Brentan Alexander, PhD; Chief Science Officer & Chief Commercial Officer

The image of invention and research in popular culture centers on the lone genius, toiling away silently in a darkened lab while discovering critical breakthroughs that move society forward. Real life isn’t like the movies: 21st century R&D is highly dependent on multidisciplinary teams working hand in hand at shared research centers spanning multiple geographies to advance critical science.

Unfortunately, the conferences, workshops, and daily interactions that are the lifeblood of modern research have stopped as COVID-19 has shuttered labs and facilities worldwide in the (noble and required) goal of saving lives. …

About

New Energy Risk

New Energy Risk helps insure technical risk for breakthrough tech to optimize cost of capital, accelerate time to market, and provide certainty of execution.

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