Fuel Oil News

Fuel Oil News - January 2017

The home heating oil industry has a long and proud history, and Fuel Oil News has been there supporting it since 1935. It is an industry that has faced many challenges during that time. In its 77th year, Fuel Oil News is doing more than just holding

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Page 7 of 51

EDITOR'S NOTE EDITORIAL STAFF Editorial Office EPG Media & Specialty Information 10405 6th Ave. N., Ste 210 Plymouth, MN 55441 Publisher John Prusak 763/383-4402 jprusak@epgmediallc.com Editor Stephen Bennett 763/ 383-4406 sbennett@epgmediallc.com Columnists Charles Bursey, Sr. Shane Sweet George Lanthier List Rentals Joanne Juda jjuda-prainito@epgmediallc.com • 763/383-4401 Reprints Robin Cooper rcooper@epgmediallc.com PRODUCTION Production Manager – Karen Kalinyak Associate Art Director – Andrea Schneider ADVERTISING SALES East – Dave Campbell, Associate Publisher 763/383-4457 dcampbell@epgmediallc.com Central & South – Rich Alden 763/383-4463 ralden@epgmediallc.com Barbara Reynolds 763/383-4477 breynolds@epgmediallc.com West – Ken Jordan 972/540-2122 Fax: 972/540-2127 kjordan@epgmediallc.com MAIN OFFICE EPG Media & Specialty Information 10405 Sixth Ave N, Suite 210 Plymouth, MN 55441 CUSTOMER SERVICE 763/383-4491• Fax: 763/383-4497 customerservice@epgmediallc.com Fuel Oil News PO Box 2123, Skokie, IL 60076-7823 First, we take note of late-breaking news: Congress adjourned before the holidays without renewing a number of expiring tax breaks, including a $1 per gallon biodiesel blenders' tax credit set to expire on Dec. 31. The New England Fuel Institute, noting this development in a "Legislative Update" said it "will continue to press for a retroactive extension of the biodiesel tax credit when the new Congress meets in January." NEFI added, "We will also inform lawmakers of our concerns over a proposal to move the tax credit upstream from blenders to producers." A NEFI Task Force warned that a move to a producers-only tax credit "would harm regional supplies of biodiesel and increase prices on consumers of biodiesel-blended heating oil. NEFI prefers an extension of the existing tax credit for two or three years while Congress examines these issues." In other news, the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association chalked up a win for its members when the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection backed away from a plan that would have expanded natural gas availability as part of a clean energy policy meant to reduce emissions. (See "Connecticut Drops Plan to Expand Natural Gas Capacity," in the Dateline section of the December 2016 issue of Fuel Oil News.) The additional capacity was to have been part of upgrades being made to interstate pipelines owned by Houston-based Spectra Energy. "I'm extremely encouraged by the recent [decision] to abandon some of the inter- state pipeline projects," says Chris Herb, president of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association. One of the main drivers behind the failure of the plan appears to have been that expanding natural gas availability and usage "does not allow [the state] to meet their greenhouse gas reduction goals, and that's a really big deal in Connecticut," Herb says. "It's a bipartisan priority." A report that NORA submitted to Congress "was the game- changer," Herb says, referring to a report titled, "Developing a Renewable Biofuel Option for the Home Heating Sector," released in May 2015 by the National Oilheat Research Alliance. Among the findings of the report was that biodiesel blends at 20% (B-20) with ultra-low sulfur heating oil are lower in greenhouse gas emissions than natural gas when evaluated over 100 years. Herb says he thinks the state's position changed after "they finally really took a look at the science and the data," which support the conclusion "that the only commercially available fuel that can actually contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emis- sions and reduced emissions in general is Bioheat." But a new energy plan for the state of Connecticut, expected to be revealed in February, might pose a comparable though different challenge to fuel oil marketers, Herb says. "I think what we're going to experience is what Maine and Vermont have had a heavy dose of the past year or two, which is a serious look at heat pump technology," he says. But heat pump technology would not help the state meet its own clean energy and emissions goals, Herb says. "It makes no sense to put additional pressure onto the electric grid in Connecticut by shifting heating towards an electricity-based technology," he says. "So we are willing, ready and able to take on that challenge because it doesn't make sense just like the natural gas pipelines didn't make sense." l F O N 8 JANUARY 2017 | FUEL OIL NEWS | www.fueloilnews.com STEPHEN BENNETT On Tax Credits and Energy Plans

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