Renewable Energy Report

March 2017 Monthly Renewable Energy Report

Brought to you by the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative and Decision Innovation Solutions.



An Analysis of Ethanol Production by State and Iowa Ethanol Crush Margins

U.S. annual fuel ethanol production in 2016 was 15.329 billion gallons, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Fuel Ethanol Supply and Disposition monthly data released Feb. 28, 2017. Compared to 2015 production, this is a 3.5 percent increase. In November 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the volume requirements across all types of biofuels for calendar year 2016 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The final 2016 standard for corn ethanol was set at 14.5 billion gallons. 

The total annual fuel ethanol production from 2009 to 2016 is shown in Figure 1. Following drought conditions in 2012, U.S. ethanol production has been increasing significantly since 2013. Notice the annual production linear trend line in Figure 1, indicating U.S. ethanol production has increased an average of 0.47 billion gallons in each year.

USDA Agricultural Long Term Projections

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s projections for the farm sector through 2026/27 were released in February 2017 (USDA-OCE, 2017). Specific assumptions about macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments are the basis for these projections. Among the underlying assumptions were no domestic or external shocks that would impact global agricultural supply and demand, normal weather conditions with trend crop production yields, and no changes in the provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Act) during the projected period. Variation in any of the assumptions can substantially affect the projections and modify the results. The 2015/16 estimates and 2016/17 projections from the USDA’s November 2016 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report served as the starting point in the formulation of these projections. USDA completed the macroeconomic assumptions in October 2016.

The Feature of the Month - March 2017

The Strategic Plan for a Thriving and Sustainable Bioeconomy developed by the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office that will develop and demonstrate transformative and revolutionary sustainable bioenergy technologies for the United States, can be found, here.

Prices and Profitability Models

The spreadsheets listed below provide data and trends for various components of the renewable energy industry. These files are updated with new information each month. Energy prices and their grain feedstock prices are commodity prices that are vulnerable to large swings over time.