Energy experts host virtual roundtable for owners
Energy experts talk about the effect of fuel demand swings and emerging trends, plus the latest on renewable fuels policy and the potential impact on agriculture.
Fuel supply and demand, consumer trends and policy shifts affect how CHS owners and customers power their businesses every day. To share key information on those industry issues, a panel of CHS Energy and policy experts hosted “Navigating energy policy and trends” on May 27, 2021. The virtual roundtable (watch the recording here), moderated by Darin Hunhoff, executive vice president, CHS Energy, provided information on the effect of fuel demand swings and emerging trends, plus the latest on renewable fuels policy and the potential impact on agriculture.
State of Supply
The roundtable opened with a look at how recent disruptions have affected refined fuels supply. “In our geographies, fuel demand wasn’t affected as much by the pandemic, but the supply chain overall saw challenges from colder weather in the South and winter storms in the Gulf,” said Jason Schwantz, panelist and senior vice president, CHS Refined Fuels.
“Inventories are really low,” Schwantz added. “While refineries are ramping up, you never know when the next event could happen. It’s never a bad idea to get your tanks filled, especially as we prepare for fall.”
“Grain and energy are more tightly wound together than ever,” said Hunhoff, who next spoke with Dustin Haaland, director of trading and renewable fuels, CHS Energy, about renewable diesel, biodiesel and ethanol production.
“A number of refiners are converting their facilities to make renewable diesel, which can be shipped and stored similar to traditional diesel,” said Haaland. “A lot of the demand is being driven by the Low Carbon Fuel Standard program in western states, so the renewable diesel being produced today mainly goes to states like California and Oregon.”
Haaland predicted a growth in demand for ethanol as well. “While E15 is offered in less than 2% of retail stations across the nation today, there is a compelling growth picture, especially in the Midwest.”
Much of the increased demand in renewable fuels is driven by policy, said Dan Mauer, CHS Washington representative. “Many of my discussions with policymakers are around the idea of the future of liquid fuels. The Biden administration is focused on electric vehicles (EVs), with a lot of the funding in its recent infrastructure bill going toward EVs. But adoption is going to be slower outside the coasts, so increasing E15 demand is a big part of what we can do to help carbon reduction in our country.”
At the same time, Mauer added, there was almost nothing in the proposed infrastructure bill for biofuels. “We’re working with our champions in the House and Senate to make sure we get funding to help contribute to the administration’s goal of carbon reduction.”
The virtual event is a companion to the weekly media program, Around the Table. The program is sponsored by CHS, features expert voices from around the cooperative system and airs through a partnership with DTN/Progressive Farmer. To see more CHS events, visit chsinc.com/owner-events.
Watch Around the Table Live: Navigating energy policy and trends: