Renewable Energy Around the Web: December 14, 2009

Renewable Energy Around the Web: December 14, 2009

Our weekly compilation of renewable energy news and information from around the web.
 
$600 Million for Biofuels
 
U.S. DOE Secretary Steven Chu and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week announced the selection of 19 biorefinery projects to receive up to $564 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to accelerate the construction and operation of pilot, demonstration, and commercial scale facilities. The projects – in 15 states - should validate refining technologies and help lay the foundation for full commercial-scale development of a biomass industry in the United States. The projects should produce advanced biofuels, biopower, and bioproducts using biomass feedstocks at the pilot, demonstration, and full commercial scale.
 
Our friends at Biofuels Digest published a lengthy analysis of the awards and the process followed by the DOE.  It makes for interesting reading.  According to the analysis, the DOE published a Funding Opportunity Announcement in May of 2009.  After submitting lengthy written applications, there was a first cut and those who survived were invited to participate in a “GoToMeeting.com” online chat and presentation session.  DOE participants were never identified in the process, and never spoke directly on the conference call, but submitted questions online as they were identified as “Review #1″ and so on.
 
As one successful recipient CEO was quoted to say, “what you win is the right to negotiate.”  Winning companies will now be able to negotiate the terms of their grants for a period of several months with the hopes of actually receiving cash in mid-2010.  While the ARRA intended for funds to get put to use in 2009, in this instance it wil have taken more like 1.5 years for the cash to actually be put to use.
 
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