First Energy IPO of 2012 & Regulation
Welcome to the inaugural weekly post highlighting “Watts” happening in the energy sector. In the first IPO of 2012 (what a week of firsts!), Renewable Energy Group Inc (REGI), a biodiesel manufacturer and marketer focused on converting natural fats, oils and greases into advanced biofuels, raised 58% ($72 million) of their targeted $124 million during their January 19th pricing. With so much biofuel activity in 2011, the lackluster pricing could be perceived as a setback for the sector. However, the EPA’s 2012 Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) holds some promise for 2012. RFS is aiming to reach a 9% biofuel target for the U.S. in 2012, and more specifically, a 1.21% advanced biofuels target.
President Obama Addresses (and Omits) Energy in SOTU
The EPA’s proposal is surprising given President Obama’s conspicuous omission of biofuels during this week’s State of the Union address. During his address to the nation, President Obama outlined his plan for the future of energy in the U.S. and how it will boost the economy with the addition of jobs:
“This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy – a strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.”
With plans to open more than 75% of U.S. potential offshore oil and gas resources, natural gas was the focus of President Obama’s energy plan, noting that America’s natural gas supply could last “nearly one hundred years” and provide more than 600,000 jobs by 2020. However, clean energy still took a back seat to oil and gas. The President’s references to clean energy included: mandating companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose extraction chemicals, as well as a shout out to the “high-tech batteries” sector. Did anyone else notice the elephant in the room…Solyndra? Mind you, the President did commit to ensuring that the wind, solar and battery markets don’t export to China, and to passing clean energy tax credits.
GOP Candidates Outline Energy Plans
Romney’s Believe In America Energy Plan calls for more regulatory reform, including an overhaul of many existing clean/environmental laws and nuclear regulation; as well as increased exploration and development of oil and shale gas reserves, with a promise to “prevent overregulation of shale gas development and extraction.” Romeny also hopes to reduce loan guarantees, tax incentives and cash grants to clean energy companies and instead, direct this funding to “research.”
Gingrich’s American Energy Plan can be summed up in one word “oil.” Gingrich plans to open the American West to oil and gas development, as well as reduce regulation surrounding extraction, allowing easier access for developers. Another major cornerstone in his policy is the removal of the EPA, and insertion of an Environmental Solutions Agency, which would work with local and federal governments in an advisory capacity.
Does any one candidate or incumbent have the right answer? Probably not. However, that’s not the question to ask. The important question is: Is progress being made toward a sustainable energy future? We shall see as the Presidential campaigns progress.
Elsewhere in Energy
A few noteworthy happenings from the past week:
- The Super Bowl goes green, and we’re not talking Astroturf: Renewable Energy Powers Super Bowl XLVI
- NYC plays host to the 2012 Cleanweb Hackathon, leveraging mobile and social web for a sustainable future: 2012 Cleanweb Hackathon
- NYC’s Roosevelt Island gets first tidal power project: FERC Issues First Pilot License for Tidal Power Project in New York
That’s Watts happening in energy this week… plug in next week for more updates!