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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Developing Battery Technologies

From U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:




The Energy Department supports developing #battery technologies that provide #energy storage to power electric vehicles and stockpile renewable energy resources. This photo shows Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz at Argonne National Laboratory in #Illinois, one of our national labs hosting some of the 43 businesses selected to participate in round 2 of our Small Business Vouchers pilot aimed at advancing #cleantechcapabilities: http://go.usa.gov/xDBpP.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

EPA Recognizes U.S. Department of Agriculture Among Nation’s Leading Green Power USERS

From the #USDA:


A 1.6 Megawatt solar farm at the George Washington Carver Center
The 1.6 Megawatt solar farm, located at the George Washington Carver Center in Beltsville, Maryland, helps position USDA to meet President Obama’s Executive Order goal to increase the share of electricity the Federal Government consumes from renewable.
In 2015, USDA launched the answer to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan challenge for food and forestry, with the Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry. Ten building blocks span a range of technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon storage and generate clean renewable energy.  Through the Department’s voluntary and incentive-based conservation and energy programs, USDA and its partners are moving forward to reduce net emissions and enhance carbon sequestration by over 120 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year, or about 2 percent of economy-wide net greenhouse emissions, by 2025. This reduction is the equivalent of taking 25 million cars off the road or offsetting the emissions produced by powering nearly 11 million homes per year.
In keeping with these efforts, USDA too is working to reduce its own carbon footprint.  USDA is proud to be part of the Green Power Partnership, a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with electricity use.  And USDA is even more proud to be recognized as number five on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Top 10 Federal Government list of the largest green power users from the Green Power Partnership. Additionally, USDA is number 43 on the National Top 100 list.
USDA is using more than 169 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which represents 35 percent of its total power needs. And USDA is generating green power from on-site renewable energy including: solar, wind, biomass, hydro and geothermal systems. Because USDA is using green power to advance the green power market and support clean renewable energy alternatives, USDA becomes more sustainable, while also sending a message to others across the United States that using green power is a sound business decision and an important tool in reducing one’s carbon footprint in the fight against climate change.
According to EPA, USDA’s green power use of more than 169 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electricity use of nearly 15,500 average American homes annually.  USDA is leading by example for its green power use and for advancing on-site generation.
Green power is zero-emissions electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact hydro. Using green power helps build demand for the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps users reduce their carbon footprints.
In addition to purchasing green power, USDA employs various other sustainable strategies as part of the Department’s operations and practices; including, using alternative fuels in vehicles, designing and constructing high performance green buildings, green purchasing and promoting the use of biobased products. To learn more about USDA’s sustainable operations, please visithttp://greening.usda.gov/.
Currently, this Partnership has more than 1,400 partner organizations that voluntarily use billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500® companies; small and medium sized businesses; local, state, and federal governments; and colleges and universities. For additional information, please visithttp://www.epa.gov/greenpower.
More information about USDA’s efforts and the results for How Food and Forestry Are Adapting to a Changing Climate is available at https://medium.com/usda-results/how-food-and-forestry-are-adapting-to-a-changing-climate-2f5b84bff9c0#.dn5gf01un.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

REAP: Working Well in North Carolina

From the #USDA:


Joel Olson (left), President of O2 Energies, Inc. of North Carolina speaking with USDA staff
Joel Olson (left), President of O2 Energies, Inc. of North Carolina speaks with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) staff in front of one of O2's solar projects. O2 worked with local North Carolina lender Surrey Bank & Trust and USDA Rural Development to finance the project.
USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP as we call it, is one of the flagship programs found in the energy title of the Farm Bill. Through REAP, USDA helps rural agricultural producers and small businesses improve their financial bottom line through increased energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources.
We wanted to share two great examples of this investment and development in North Carolina. In Mt. Airy, NC, local lenders took advantage of REAP’s loan guarantees to finance O2 Energies and build a solar farm that can provide up to 20% of the power needed by the community.
In Mt. Olive, NC, Doug Jernigan used the REAP program to turn his farm’s animal waste into energy.  Generating power from poop, Mr. Jernigan puts the energy created back into the grid and offsets the costs associated his ranching operation.
Ultimately, through our loans, grants, and loan guarantees, the USDA REAP program is having a positive impact across the nation – not just by reducing fossil fuel impact and the carbon footprint of rural small businesses and producers – but by supporting jobs and economic investment in the rural communities we serve.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Nestle Waters opens biogas plant in Switzerland - Renewable Energy From Waste

The agricultural biogas plant will use 25,000 tons of agricultural fertilizer from surrounding farms and 3,800 tons of organic waste from Nespresso and Nescafe operations.



Nestle Waters opens biogas plant in Switzerland - Renewable Energy From Waste

Friday, May 27, 2016

California’s Clean Energy Pioneers Come in Black and White

From the #USDA:


Cows
New recruits in the battle against climate change.
California has a pioneering spirit. Rural folks there have been on the frontier for generations. That frontier may have been gold mines and cattle grasslands in the past, but today that frontier is the very air, soil and water of California itself. Climate change is transforming California like it’s transforming our globe. But Californians are leading the pioneer charge to transform, with pragmatism, ingenuity and a commitment to rural communities.
Just recently, I visited a small dairy farm in Elk Grove, California, the site of an anaerobic digester. Case Van Steyn’s operation of around 700 cows produces manure, and the Maas Energy digester, secluded in an unobtrusive red shipping container, uses the manure to produce methane. That methane creates enough electricity to power 125 homes—and enough to sell electricity back to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, or SMUD.
SMUD unveiled the Van Steyn anaerobic digester project last Thursday as its newest dairy-fueled renewable energy plant, financed in part by USDA’s Renewable Energy for America Program. Van Steyn works the cows and Maas Energy works the digester. It’s a new model, where every player does what they do best, and it may mean many more digesters will crop up in the future.
For the sake of California and our nation’s struggle with climate change, I hope we see a lot more successes just like the Van Steyns’. Dairies are a backbone of California agriculture; milk and cream products are the second largest agricultural export and represented over $9.4 billion in production value in 2014. Turning dairies into clean energy plants positions them in a new, more sustainable niche—one that supports California families and one that is better for the state’s air, the water, and the soil. With a digester, local dairies can produce milk for the world and clean energy for their own communities.
“Dairying isn’t farming,” said Van Steyn when I visited him. “Dairying is a way of life. If you don’t want to wake up at two in the morning on a Sunday to pull a calf, then this isn’t for you.”
Van Steyn’s commitment shows in the dairy itself, from the hand-built dairy sheds to the bright red digester. He inherited the land, the buildings, the cows, and the way of life from his parents, who bought the dairy in the 1970s. Now his son works with him to run the farm today.
Digesting on the dairy is certainly a new way of doing business. But the high-tech system helps Van Steyn to manage the manure and makes money, too. He calls it a win-win. And he says he couldn’t have done it without help from the USDA.
Dairyman Case Van Steyn, Nathan Nisly of Maas Energy, and RBS Administrator Sam Rikkers
Dairyman Case Van Steyn, Nathan Nisly of Maas Energy, and RBS Administrator Sam Rikkers.

Monday, May 9, 2016

California Man Pleads Guilty In Biofuels Stock Fraud Scheme

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 5, 2016

California Man Pleads Guilty In Biofuels Stock Fraud Scheme

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A southern California man has pleaded guilty to defrauding 157 persons of over $4 million from 2009 through 2011 by selling them worthless, unregistered stock in a number of purported biofuels development businesses, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada.
Gilbert R. Rousseau, 57, of North Hollywood, Calif., pleaded guilty on May 4, 2016, to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and agreed to pay restitution of approximately $4.4 million.  Rousseau is released on a personal recognizance bond pending sentencing, and faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to the plea agreement, from January 2009 to February 2012, Rousseau and five conspirators defrauded the victims, many of whom were elderly, by selling them worthless, unregistered securities in the form of stock and stock purchase warrants in four Nevada limited liability companies. The companies, Go Green Home Stores, U.S. Biofuels, Vista Biofuels, and G-Tec Biofuels, were not established or operated to sell goods or services, but were actually fronts for the fraud scheme. Rousseau and the conspirators also created and used two other Nevada companies, G.G.H. Marketing and A.G.M. Marketing Group, to market the worthless securities.  Rousseau and the conspirators set up and operated websites for the companies that contained material misrepresentations and false promises to make them look legitimate and designed to get the victims to part with their money. The victims were solicited throughout the United States by telephone from call rooms operated by conspirators in California and Las Vegas. Some of the companies used Las Vegas addresses to receive funds from the victims.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Cowhig.
This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.  The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.  For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.com[external link].

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