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Published April 21, 2010, 02:38 PM

North Dakota establishes ethanol promotion group

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. John Hoeven, the North Dakota Ethanol Council and ethanol industry leaders today announced the establishment of a new program that will fund the newly-established North Dakota Ethanol Council’s marketing activities by dedicating a share of the industry’s production profits to promotion of ethanol.

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. John Hoeven, the North Dakota Ethanol Council and ethanol industry leaders today announced the establishment of a new program that will fund the newly-established North Dakota Ethanol Council’s marketing activities by dedicating a share of the industry’s production profits to promotion of ethanol.

Also known as a check-off, the program dedicates three one-hundredths of one cent per gallon of ethanol produced and sold in the state to develop research, education programs, promotion, and market development efforts to help build the state’s ethanol industry. The Council’s projected annual budget is $100,000.

“North Dakota’s agricultural economy and rural communities have directly benefited from the growth of the ethanol industry in our state,” Hoeven said. “Ethanol creates jobs and boosts income for our farmers.”

The North Dakota Ethanol Council includes representatives from all of the state’s major ethanol producers, including ADM Corn Processing, Walhalla; Blue Flint Ethanol, Underwood; Hankinson Renewable Energy, Hankinson; Red Trail Energy, LLC, Richardton; and Tharaldson Ethanol Plant, Casselton. Jeff Zueger of Blue Flint Ethanol serves as the group’s chairman.

“As an industry, we are excited to have the Council established and staff hired,” says Jeff Zueger, NDEC chairman and Blue Flint Ethanol general manager. “These steps allow us to move forward with a coordinated effort to expand the ethanol industry in North Dakota.”

The concept for the North Dakota Ethanol Council grew out of the EmPower North Dakota Commission, which was created by the Governor and authorized by the State Legislature in 2007 to further advance the state’s comprehensive energy policy, known as Empower ND. EmPower North Dakota works to develop all of the state’s energy resources, both renewables and traditional energy resources.

As a result of the plan, North Dakota’s energy industry has grown substantially in all major sectors. The ethanol industry has increased production capacity in North Dakota ten-fold over the past 5 years, from about 35 million gallons per year to more than 350 million gallons, with a substantial increase in consumption.

“We are even seeing new synergies between ethanol and traditional industries, with production facilities using coal and surplus steam to produce ethanol, and oil companies taking interests in biofuels facilities,” Hoeven said. “Two good examples are Murphy Oil, which acquired the Hankinson Ethanol facility last year to broaden its motor fuels portfolio, and Blue Flint Ethanol, which is using waste steam from GRE’s Coal Creek Station generating facility to produce ethanol.”

Hoeven and Council members also noted significant progress in the state’s new blender pump promotion program. Blender pumps allow consumers can to choose from several blends of ethanol between E10 and E85, depending on their vehicle and preference. The state now has requests for more than 90 blender pumps across the state.

The Governor in the last legislative session signed into law a bill for a biofuel blender pump incentive program to provide cost-share grants of up to $5,000 per pump to retailers for the installation of biofuel blender pumps and associated equipment at retail locations.

“Blender pumps give consumers more choice for their vehicles, and they give ethanol producers larger markets for their product,” Hoeven said.

Hoeven also used the occasion to call again for the U.S. Environmental Agency to grant a waiver to raise the ethanol blend from its current E10 to E15 to expand the market for ethanol.

“Approving E15 will help the nation meet the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard and open the market for emerging second-generation biofuels,” Hoeven said. “Most importantly, it will help to promote greater energy independence for America and greater security for future generations of Americans.”

The NDEC has selected Clearwater Communications, a Bismarck association management and public relations firm, as its executive director. Clearwater Communications Vice President Deana Wiese will serve as the organization’s executive director.

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