April 19, 2006

ACORE's Biomass Coordinating Council Workshop (BCC)

On April 10th, I attended the first ACORE/Biomass Coordinating Council workshop that was part of the 3rd Annual Power-Gen™ Renewable Energy & Fuels Show held in Las Vegas. Attended by wind and solar energy proponents as well, it was good to have a biomass focal point at this pan-renewables event.

There were 50+ people in attendance from all over the United States and a couple of individuals from Europe. Attendees, all of whom had an expressed interest in biomass and energy, represented many different perspectives. Some were consultants, most had something to do with agriculture and sustainability issues, a few represented labor and wildlife interests, a few were investors, some were new technology developers, etc.

All were invited by Bill Holmberg - the Chairman of the BCC of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) - an experienced man of many interests having worked in the Department of Defense, the EPA, and, most recently, the Department of Energy's Office of Alcohol Fuels which he helped establish and operate. His mission:

BCC is working to accelerate the adoption of renewable biofuels, biopower, and biobased products into mainstream American society through work in policy initiatives, convening, networking, and communications. BCC's goals include reducing America's dependence on oil, creating a cleaner environment, and expanding markets for rural America.

I was brought in as an experienced blogger and Electronic Document Professional to provide recommendations on how the BCC might leverage the internet to help boost membership, provide services, and coordinate activities for BCC members. But I was also representing California's urban waste conversion technology advocacy and the Bioenergy Producers Association.

After self-introductions and networking, general discussion followed thematic lines:

- What are the most important public policy issues for the BCC to pursue? Recommendations included: insuring that biomass received subsidies on a par with other energy alternatives, driving the cost of biofuels down below fossil fuels, boosting flex-fuel car demand, state level adoption of renewable fuels standards, and reducing greenhouse gases.

- How can we support agricultural financial, resource, and social sustainability in a new renewable fuels infrastructure?

- How do we manage favorable employment growth, education, and management during the burgeoning growth of the biofuel industry?

- How do we maintain wildlife preservation standards as agriculture and forestry realigns during rapid growth?

- How should we improve postitive impacts on weather? Are the marketing of carbon credits the answer, as opposed to levying fines?

- How do we secure capital for expensive R&D and deployment without collateral?

It was a workshop that raised more questions than it answered but it was evident that the braintrust assembled could benefit from coordinated and ongoing communication between members. This would provide useful support needed by the whole group.

Below are excerpts from the keynote speech delivered at the Conference:


Advanced Energy Initiative is a "Vision for Victory" by Alexander Karsner, Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)

President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative is a "Vision for Victory," according to Alexander Karsner, DOE's new Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Speaking on April 11th before the annual Power-Gen Renewable Energy and Fuels Conference, Assistant Secretary Karsner declared that the energy initiative could lead to victory over U.S. enemies; over U.S. dependence on unstable regimes and ideologies; and over "anxiety and misplaced fears that we are passive and helpless to better this nation and better our planet."

"Maximizing energy efficiency and renewable energy is the domestic epicenter in the war on terror, and it is imperative that we maximize the partnerships between the public and private sectors in new and creative ways with a sense of seriousness, national purpose, and the urgency the situation merits."


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