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Tristan R. Brown  

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  • Hey, Trees Grow Back! Carbon Accounting And The Question Of 'Additionality' [View article]
    The American Chemical Society does a good job of explaining why we focus on CO2 instead of water vapor:

    http://bit.ly/1yLQWkH
    Feb 23, 2015. 07:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The New York Times Fails Biology 101 [View article]
    If you were asking about my qualifications, then you should know that I have a PhD in Biorenewable Resources, am on the faculty of a forest and natural resources management department, and teach in the field of sustainable energy. I like to think that this background makes me a bit qualified to write on the subject of the woody biomass carbon cycle. Titles alone aren't everything, after all.

    Again, however, I suspect that readers would prefer to see a debate over the merits of the article rather than my credentials.
    Feb 19, 2015. 11:25 AM | 18 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The New York Times Fails Biology 101 [View article]
    Displacing more emissions than fossil fuels emit. In the case of cellulosic ethanol, for example, the biorefinery displaces both the emissions from the petroleum-based fuel and, because it also generates renewable electricity via lignin combustion as part of the ethanol production pathway, fossil-based electricity as well.
    Feb 19, 2015. 10:11 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The New York Times Fails Biology 101 [View article]
    Please let me know if the scientific principles described in the article are incorrect, as that would be more useful to other readers than ad hominem arguments.
    Feb 19, 2015. 10:01 AM | 14 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Renewable Energy Group Faces An Uncertain Regulatory Environment In 2015 [View article]
    Thanks for the comment. The ability of biodiesel to contribute to the LCFS really depends on how California ends up viewing the issue of indirect land-use change. The original ILUC theory blamed direct rainforest destruction on soya production (corn was blamed as driving high soya prices that in turn drove higher soya acreages) and, while the observational data has provided no support for ILUC, policy circles still adhere to the notion that 1st-gen biofuels contribute to indirect emissions.
    Feb 14, 2015. 02:17 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Renewable Energy Group Faces An Uncertain Regulatory Environment In 2015 [View article]
    MWinMD:

    Thanks for the comment - I'm glad that you find the articles to be of use. I suspect that the consensus estimates are, as you suggest, ignoring the retroactive credit as an extraordinary one-time item. Investors in the biodiesel industry in particular seems to both ignore trailing earnings and accept large discounts to book value. REG has traded at a substantial discount to book for most of its post-IPO history, after all. It doesn't make much sense to me as an investor but it does make it hard to recommend the stock as undervalued simply because it is trading below book.

    I hope you're right about the EPA and its commitment to the lifecycle GHG thresholds. The news that White House officials encouraged the EPA to reduce even the biodiesel RVOs due to concerns over RIN costs, while in line with voter sentiment, makes me wonder just how much sway the EPA has over this issue, however.
    Feb 14, 2015. 02:14 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Renewable Energy Group Faces An Uncertain Regulatory Environment In 2015 [View article]
    Thanks for the comment. I haven't studied AMTX due to its recent arrival on the scene (at the time of its IPO I was finishing up a dissertation on energy markets that, ironically, forced me to ignore the actual energy markets). I'll look into it, however.
    Feb 14, 2015. 02:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Renewable Energy Group Faces An Uncertain Regulatory Environment In 2015 [View article]
    Thanks for the comment. The 2015 BTC is too uncertain at present to warrant much discussion, although you are correct that it has the potential to be positive for the stock. That said, retroactive passage of the 2014 BTC didn't have much impact on the company's share price (much positive impact, that is...).
    Feb 10, 2015. 10:53 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Falling Fuel Prices Weren't A Problem For Green Plains, Inc. In Q4 [View article]
    I agree with what dwight and Ransom23 have said. For more details, here's an article that I wrote on the subject last month:

    http://seekingalpha.co...
    Feb 6, 2015. 07:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Headwinds Arise For PBF Energy [View article]
    The current price should have read "$28.10" instead of "$21.80" and an edit has been submitted. Thank you for bringing the typo to my attention.
    Feb 3, 2015. 02:59 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Big GOP Win In 2016 Is Unlikely To End The Ethanol Mandate - Here's Why [View article]
    The quoted paragraph was a bit unclear, I was referring to a repeal bill passed by a post-2016 House and Senate.
    Jan 15, 2015. 06:50 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Bad Case Of Déjà Vu In The Oil Markets [View article]
    kappaseek:

    Thanks for the comments. I don't believe that we're seeing a structural shift away from fossil fuels yet for the simple reason that we still don't have a good replacement to petroleum. Fuel ethanol can only replace a small fraction of gasoline use and, even then, it only replaces a product that is derived from less than half of each barrel of petroleum. Biodiesel encounters similar replacement problems. Biobased hydrocarbons solve both of these issues but, with the exception of those produced from a limited supply of waste lipids, cannot compete with petroleum on cost at present. Finally, while electric vehicles could feasibly cut the Gordian Knot if the electricity is sourced from renewables, this solution raises a new set of hurdles in the form of battery expenses, base load capacity, etc. This isn't to say that we won't be able to move away from petroleum in the future, but I don't see much evidence of such a shift occurring this decade.

    I agree that India and China could lead the world in decarbonization but I don't consider it to be likely. China's leaders in particular believe that the survival of the Communist Party is tied to a continuous supply of inexpensive energy in the country and, until renewables find a way to match petroleum in both volumes and costs, fossil fuels will continue to play an outsized role there.

    Geoengineering alone won't solve our problems. It could help if used in conjunction with market-based carbon constraints, however.
    Jan 14, 2015. 10:22 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Green Plains Inc. Shares Can Double Despite Cheap Oil [View article]
    While true in 2013, I do not believe that this is the case today. Much as some of the value of the old VEETC was passed onto ethanol producers and farmers in the form of higher product prices, ethanol producers can ensure that they receive a share of higher RIN prices by selling into a captive market. This is not new - many refiners voiced public concerns to the EPA during the early years of the RFS2 that ethanol producers would drive RIN prices up to artificial levels by refusing to sell to blenders. While this ultimately never happened due to competition among producers (there are too many producers to permit cartel-like behavior), that doesn't mean that higher RIN prices can't be passed onto producers in the form of higher ethanol prices. After all, each RIN remains attached to the corresponding gallon of ethanol until the point of blending, so one would expect at least some of its value to also be attached to the gallon during the transaction between the producer and blender.
    Jan 13, 2015. 07:43 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Green Plains Inc. Shares Can Double Despite Cheap Oil [View article]
    It would make for an interesting situation if a President Jeb Bush ended up being faced with the prospect of overturning one of his brother's signature pieces of legislation, however.
    Jan 10, 2015. 03:58 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Green Plains Inc. Shares Can Double Despite Cheap Oil [View article]
    Dirk, thanks for the comment. I did not consider the 2017 political scenario because I consider it to be highly improbable that the Republicans will have the votes to overturn the RFS2 even if they do take the White House and Senate in November 2016. While the necessary votes could be found in the House, strong bipartisan opposition from Midwestern senators would likely be sufficient to block repeal. Furthermore, a Republican president with an eye to reelection would be unlikely to risk the purple Midwestern states by coming out against corn ethanol in the first term. Whereas the VEETC expired due to Congressional inaction, the RFS2 will continue unless specific Congressional action to the contrary occurs.
    Jan 10, 2015. 02:10 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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246 Comments
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