Showing posts from 2011

The Rest of the Story....

The Rest of the Story.... by Ronald H. Miller As a young boy growing up in mid-century Kansas I remember Paul Harvey on the radio with "The Rest of the Story...". When it comes to renewable ethanol and the "food vs. fuel" debate it is time for "the rest of the story". USA Today, no fan of ethanol, noted in its March 18 article, "Hunger, despair for millions" that "The farm value of food - what goes to the farmer - is about 19% of the cost in the U.S., according to the U.S Department of Agriculture. The rest goes to labor, packaging, transportation, energy and corporate profits." USA Today goes on to take a swipe at corn demand for ethanol causing higher farm prices but clearly by their own admission 81% of the cost of food comes from beyond the farm. Given the great recession, labor costs have barely nudged but packaging and transportation costs are functions of energy costs. The average cost of crude oil in 2009 was $53.48 pe


by Ronald H. Miller Twenty-five percent of our gasoline from renewable sources by 2022. Eighty percent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2036. Is this a trip to Fantasy Island or a challenge worthy of America's innovative prowess? Your answer probably depends whether you support "old" energy or "new" energy. In 2007, Congress and President Bush codified the Renewable Fuels Standard requiring 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels in our motor fuels by 2022. Now President Obama has laid down a gauntlet reminiscent of the 1960's moon race by calling for a near universal use of renewable power within twenty-five years. Whether America will achieve a clean, sustainable and independent energy future will depend on whether we as a nation can coalesce around this achievable goal. We have the innovative prowess but do we have the necessary commitment? That remains to be seen. Already some "old" energy pundits are suggesting we go sl


by Ronald H. Miller The other day I was talking to a friend when I mentioned the Oil Embargoes of the 1970's. She was 7 years old in 1973 and has little remembrance of the long gas lines or the "odd" and "even" license plate days just to qualify getting into those long lines. It dawned on me that the post-Boomer generations have no real idea as to the trauma that is inflicted when our oil supply is shut off. As we watch the current events unfold in the Middle East, we must wonder whether possible regime change will take us back to those tumultuous days of four decades ago. Could it even be worse? From a dependency standpoint things are worse. In the 1970's we imported about 30% of our oil, today it is around 60%. Things would be even worse if it were not for 10% of the gasoline barrel now being provided by domestic biofuels. That's about one million barrels a day of secure domestic production not subject to regime change. It is also $100 mill


By Ron Miller On January 3rd, the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association sued USEPA over its ruling to allow 15% ethanol in gasoline for later model automobiles. This is not a surprise as the battle for market share and the consumer's wallet goes on. What began as a nice idea to blunt the oil embargoes of the 1970's is now a real and present danger to fossil fuel interests. This latest action and counteraction are merely steps in this ongoing war over who is going to control the energy mix in America. The current round began with the Energy Security Act of 2007. That law requires by 2022 that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels be used in U.S. motor fuel each year. That's roughly 25% of the gasoline sold in America. This constitutes a serious loss of market share for fossil fuel interests. The genesis of this act and the public policy before is a legitimate concern for our energy security interests. Since 1990 all of America's wars have been foug

Staying the Course

Article 1 (First in a series of articles on the U.S. ethanol industry.) By Ronald H. Miller Recently the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial titled "Al Gore's Ethanol Epiphany" where they state "he concedes the industry he promoted serves no useful service". The editorial itself is hardly an epiphany given the Journal's long history of anti-ethanol bias, preferring to support established big money advertisers in Big Oil and Big Food. Mr. Gore's "epiphany" is hardly that given he has moved on to "greener" pastures (pardon the pun) and needs to reinvent himself with interested financiers such as the gathering in Greece where he made those comments. The scene is reminiscent of 1992 when I met Senator Gore during his Vice Presidential campaign in Illinois. That was another period of economic stress especially in the rural Midwest. During our meeting, the future Vice President said directly to me that "We need a strong ethanol


2011-02-22 11:42:17 EST FORMER AVENTINE CEO, BUSINESS RESOURCES EXEC FORM BIOFUEL CONSULTANCY   Phoenix -- Former Aventine CEO Ron Miller teamed up with another former Aventine official to form a biofuel-related consultancy that has been operational since last spring, OPIS learned on the sidelines of the Renewable Fuels Association's (RFA) annual conference here. Miller and Roger Bushue, former Aventine vice president for Business Resources and Administration, formed Prisma Advisors to help provide guidance primarily to start-up biofuel companies, Miller explained to OPIS at the conference on Monday. Miller retired from Aventine in October 2009, six months after the ethanol producer filed for bankruptcy protection. Aventine has since emerged out of bankruptcy. "We are helping these companies try to get financing ... set up personnel and providing guidance and counseling," Miller explained, noting that his company has approximately half a dozen clients usin