ACE’s annual ethanol conference kicks off in Omaha

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) 32nd annual conference kicked off in Omaha, Nebraska, Thursday with a welcome from Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and updates from ACE leadership.

“As the second largest ethanol producing state in the nation, President Trump’s approval of year-round E15 is a big win for Nebraska,” Governor Ricketts said.  “There is, however, still more work to do.  While the EPA granted fewer small refinery waivers to the RFS this year, the 1.4 billion of gallons waived undermines the purpose of the RFS.  To deliver on President Trump’s support for ethanol, the EPA should be more transparent about the waiver process and reallocate any waived gallons.  They owe it to our farmers.”

“The agriculture and ethanol industries have been weathering challenging market conditions, as we convene for the 32nd annual ACE conference, and there are headwinds to confront ahead,” Kristensen said. “With uncertainty surrounding the RFS and trade negotiations, we must engage in meaningful dialogue to find ways to increase demand for ethanol in our fuel supply domestically with E15 and higher ethanol blends, as well as in markets around the globe that are beginning to recognize ethanol’s high octane and environmental benefits in renewable fuels policies.”

With EPA finally allowing year-round E15 use, Jennings acknowledged this positive development, but pointed out the good news is being undermined by the bad and encouraged the ACE conference crowd that now is the time to stand up and speak out against the clear harm the administration’s actions have had on the industry. “EPA continues to mismanage the RFS with a refiner-win-at-all-costs approach to small refinery exemptions, and, when you throw in trade wars for good measure, it constrains our ability to expand the use of ethanol here at home and around the world,” Jennings said. “We’ve come to the conclusion we cannot merely play defense on the RFS and hope trade wars subside. We need to turn the page, to go on offense. We need a new vision for how to increase demand for ethanol and break free from the status-quo.”

“Combining ethanol’s high octane and low carbon strengths into a new growth strategy not only allows us to go on offense, it gives our champions in Congress something to be for as the discussion about climate change begins to ramp up in Washington,” Jennings added. “ACE members have what it takes to make things happen.”

Lamberty addressed the current market environment and where to see the silver lining with low ethanol prices. “Some of the biggest gains we’ve made in the history of the U.S. ethanol industry happened during times when we had the lowest prices,” Lamberty said. “This time around, however, with domestic markets barricaded by EPA policy and oil company contract language, low U.S. ethanol prices caught the attention of marketers in other parts of the world and more ethanol was exported from the U.S. than ever before.”

This morning’s opening remarks were followed by a trade keynote address from USGC CEO Ryan LeGrand and two general session panels covering U.S. ethanol market developments in Mexico, as well as how ethanol producers can capitalize on the emerging carbon economy and the opportunities on the horizon. Brian Jennings’ full conference remarks are available here. Photos of the conference and additional coverage are available here.