Remarks as Prepared for (Acting) Deputy Secretary Kupfer
Today, Acting Deputy Secretary Jeffrey Kupfer delivered remarks at the launch of GreenHunter Energy's biodiesel refinery, which will be the nation's single largest biodiesel refinery, producing 105 million gallons of "white-water" B100 biodiesel per year.
Thank you Gary. I'm pleased to join with Governor Perry, Congressmen Green and Lampson, and Mayor Garcia in celebrating this important occasion.
Today, as we open the nation's largest biodiesel refinery, we reach another milestone in our effort to make America more energy secure. As you know, global energy demand is surging. We must act swiftly and aggressively to meet this growing demand in an environmentally and economically responsible way.
The President of course knows this and has made energy security a priority since the early days of his Administration. In fact, since President Bush took office, the federal government has spent more than tens of billions of dollars to research, develop and promote alternative energy sources.
To address the transportation sector specifically, the Administration has undertaken a number of initiatives: providing tax incentives for people who purchase fuel-efficient vehicles; investing in research and development of vehicles powered by electricity and hydrogen fuel cells; and committing significant resources to the development of the next generation - non food based - biofuels. The investments this Administration has made will help us achieve the ambitious goal laid out by the President last year --- to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent by 2017.
The private sector must play a critical role in helping us reach this goal. Through substantial investments that companies like Green Hunter Energy are making in support of alternative and renewable energy, private enterprise is driving the very innovation this country needs.
But the federal government certainly has a role to play as well. Since the beginning of 2007, the Department of Energy has announced over $1 billion of multi-year targeted investments to spark the growth of a robust, diverse and sustainable biofuels industry. Most of these investments are in the development and deployment of new and innovative technologies.
Last year we funded the creation of three cutting-edge bioenergy research facilities and they are already showing signs of progress. We have also invested in a number of large- and small-scale biorefinery projects that are helping to reduce the costs of biofuels production on a commerical scale.
The Energy Department has supported biodiesel research and development since 1977 and has helped it become a popular diesel fuel substitute. In recent years, for example, the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has been actively studying the production of microalgae lipids for use as a biodiesel feedstock. We will continue to explore ways to reduce costs, increase supplies and remove technical barriers in order to facilitate the expansion of biodiesel supply.
As our work continues, we applaud the investments that the private sector epitomized by GreenHunter Energy is making to advance biodiesel production. By helping us meet increasing global demand for transportation fuel in an environmentally responsible way, this new refinery is important, not only to the city of Houston and the great State of Texas, but also to the nation and the world.
I commend you for your initiative, your investment, and your commitment to our nation's energy future. The U.S. Department of Energy is pleased to help celebrate this grand opening today.
Location: Houston, TX
Media contact(s): Jennifer Scoggins, (202) 586-4940