RFS Raises Chain Restaurant Prices

The National Council of Chair Restaurants released a report November 28 finding that the renewable fuel standard for ethanol has raised prices for chain restaurants by $3.2 billion a year. The report, Federal Ethanol Policies and Chain Restaurant Food Costs, projected the economic impact of the RFS in 2015 based on two scenarios: one in which the standard increased corn prices by 27 percent, and one in which it increased corn prices by 4 percent.

State RES Opposition

The Heartland Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council are working together on model legislation to undercut state-level renewable energy mandates around the country. The Electricity Freedom Act would repeal state standards requiring utilities to obtain a portion of their electricity from renewable power; 29 states and the District of Columbia have binding renewable standards.

Greener Electronics

Greenpeace released a guide recently urging electronics companies to increase their use of renewable energy sources in the manufacturing process. The report, The Guide to Greener Electronics, found that a large portion of electronic devices’ carbon footprint stems from the manufacturing process.

Steel Recycling Up

The Steel Recycling Institute released a report November 15 finding that the recycling rate for steel increased 4 percent to 92 percent in 2011. Steelmaking furnaces used almost 10 million more net tons of steel scrap from 2010 to 2011, bringing the total recycled amount to a high of more than 85 million MT.

Integrated Reporting Better for Business

The International Integrated Reporting Council released a report November 12 finding that companies that combine sustainability and financial reports obtain better quality data collection and a deeper internal knowledge of the entire business. The report, Understanding Transformation: Building the Business Case for Integrated Reporting, concluded that integrated reporting also benefits analysts.

BPC Energy Suggestions

The Bipartisan Policy Center called on President Obama and Congress last week to establish the National Energy Strategy Council, which would coordinate U.S. energy policy across the federal bureaucracy. The council, chaired by the secretary of energy, would be tasked with conducting a quadrennial energy review, similar to the congressionally mandated process for Defense Department programs.

Algal Biofuel Viability

National Academy of Sciences researchers said November 27 that large-scale biofuel from algae production is possible with improvements in the fuel production process as well as in the strains of algae used.

Long-Distance Wind Projects

National Grid USA agreed November 27 to invest $40 million in Clean Line Energy Partners LLC’s proposal to develop four high-voltage, direct-current transmission lines that could transport thousands of MW from Midwest wind and solar facilities to cities and businesses across the country. The company is in the early stages of developing four long-distance transmission lines that will cost $2-3 billion each to build.