By Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaWith abundant biomass, cutting-edge research and a strong agricultural base, Georgia is becoming a U.S. alternative fuel leader, said Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue in Tifton, Ga., Aug. 12. The state must continue to find better ways to grow, convert and use alternative energy sources, he told the 400 bioenergy experts, industry representatives, businessmen and enthusiasts gathered at the third annual Southeast Bioenergy Conference at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center. “If you will do anything in your own hearts today, and I won’t give an altar call, but if you all will promise that this won’t be a fad and that you will maintain passion and interest about this, this is the way solutions come about,” Perdue said. “It’s way too important just to be cool about this.”Forbes magazine recently ranked the state No. 3 in the U.S. for future alternative energy production. Reasons, he said, were entrepreneurial-friendly policies, recent legislation to reduce taxes on biosciences energy companies and an executive order to expedite environmental permits for biofuel plants in the state.Over the past three years, he said, $700 million was invested in Georgia bioenergy projects.The three-day conference drew 60 national and international bioenergy experts along with several state and federal legislators to talk about how the Southeast can grow its alternative energy policy and industry.Seeking new energy sources is crucial for the environment, economy and national security, said Gale Buchanan, U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary and a headline speaker. He placed the current energy crisis in a historical perspective. During the 1970s oil embargo, the U.S. got only 28 percent of its oil from other countries. Today, the U.S. gets 60 percent of its oil from foreign countries.Oil-producing countries in the ‘70s were working at 65 percent their capacities, he said. Today, the capacity is 98 percent. “For several years, we’ve been using two barrels of oil for every new barrel of oil we find,” he said.Right now, the U.S. is riding an ethanol wave. The alternative fuel is made primarily from corn in the U.S. Corn prices have soared to record prices based largely on speculation and ethanol demand.The U.S. has 130 ethanol-producing plants working today, Buchanan said, with 77 on the drawing boards. The U.S. produced 175 million gallons of ethanol in 1980. It produced 9 billion gallons last year.In the next few months, ethanol will account for 10 percent of the total U.S. fuel supply, said Ron Fagen, who heads the country’s largest ethanol plant construction company. He added that a normal vehicle can run on a gasoline blend of up to 30 percent ethanol without losing any gas mileage.The U.S., particularly in Washington, is now in a ‘biofrenzy,’ said Harry Baumes, associate director of the USDA Office of Energy Policy and New Uses. But some, he said, blame the U.S. ethanol industry’s hunger for corn for higher consumer food prices today, or even food shortages.Even though almost a quarter of the record 13.1 billion bushels of corn produced last year in the U.S. went to ethanol production, he said factors such as weather, the high price of other commodities, export restrictions in other countries and increased demand for more protein-filled diets in other countries for driving food prices high.Corn ethanol uses less energy to make and releases less greenhouse gases than fossil fuels, said May Wu, a researcher with the Argonne National Laboratory. While cellulosic ethanol, which is made from woody shrubs and grasses, is more efficient, the technology to make cellulosic ethanol is not as advanced as that for corn. But it will be soon.The U.S. now spends $1.5 billion to $2 billion on gasoline every day, Buchanan said. One of the most important things consumers can do now is to decrease their consumption. He told participants to slow down.“They say for every five miles per hour you drive over 60 miles per hour it’s like paying an additional 30 cents per gallon for gasoline,” Buchanan said.
Netspar, DNB, Tilburg University, Philips Pension Fund, AP3, Hermes Investment Management, Odey Asset Management, Aviva Investors, MN, Legal & General Investment Management, AllianceBernstein, Franklin Templeton, Kames Capital, Beroepspensioenfonds Loodsen (BPL), ASR, Vesteda, MAN Group, SackersNetspar – Industry veteran Jean Frijns has left Netspar as supervisory chairman. Job Swank, director of monetary affairs and financial stability at regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), is to succeed him. Between 1993 and 2005, Frijns was CIO at the €345bn civil service scheme ABP. Last year, he resigned as supervisory chairman at Delta Lloyd. In 2010, he chaired a committee tasked with identifying weaknesses in the Dutch pensions system. Separately, Casper van Ewijk, director at Netspar, has been appointed as part-time professor of capital-funded pensions at Tilburg University. He succeeds economist Lans Bovenberg, who is to become professor of economics at the same university. Van Ewijk is already professor of macroeconomics at both Tilburg University and Amsterdam University.Philips Pension Fund – Anita Joosten has started as director of investments, as well as a member of the executive board, at the €17.3bn Philips Pensioenfonds. She has been tasked with strategic investment, risk management and asset-liability management, as well as managing outsourced investments. She succeeds Rob Schreurs, who became chief executive at the National Grid UK Pension Scheme in November 2015. Joosten has been working for the Philips scheme for a long period, closely involved in establishing the pension fund’s targets and the introduction of its new investment policy.AP3 – Sandra Blomgren has been named the Swedish buffer fund’s head of risk control and yield analysis, assuming the role from March this year. Blomgren, who currently works as a risk management analyst at If P&C Insurance, replaces Marcus Nilsson, who has been part of AP3’s risk management team since October 2013. In addition to working at If, Blomgren also spent nearly four years at Folksam and has worked as a non-life actuary for consultancy PwC. Hermes Investment Management – David Stewart has been appointed chairman of the board, succeeding Paul Spencer, who has been chairman since 2011. Stewart previously spent nine years at Odey Asset Management, initially as chief executive and latterly as a non-executive director. He is chairman of IMM Associates and a non-executive director of the Caledonia Investment Trust. He also sits on the investment committee of MacMillan Cancer Care.Aviva Investors – Mike Craston has been appointed global head of business development. He joins from Legal & General Investment Management, where he was head of distribution. The appointment comes as the asset manager grows its senior management team, also naming David Clayton as CFO.MN – The €113bn asset manager and pensions provider has appointed Sandra Spek and Hanny Kemna as members of the supervisory board (RvC). According to MN, Spek, a corporate economist, has ample experience in international finance and governance on pensions and insurance, in part accrued at insurance group Achmea. Kemna has expertise on IT, innovation, management and finances. She has been a partner at Ernst & Young, responsible for Europe-wide auditing at large financial institutions.AllianceBernstein – Jamie Hammond has been appointed head of the EMEA Client Group and chief executive of AllianceBernstein in London. He joins from Franklin Templeton, where he was managing director of Europe, heading its retail and institutional efforts across the region. Before then, he was sales and marketing director for Europe at Fiduciary Trust International, having previously served as the national sales manager at Hill Samuel Asset Management.Kames Capital – Andy Kelly has been appointed business development manager. He joins from Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), where he was head of corporate and financial institutions. Before that, he was head of liquidity distribution at LGIM. He has also held roles at Fidelity International, RBC Dexia Investor Services, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Barclays.KAS Bank – The supervisory board of the custodian bank is to appoint Mark Stoffels as a member of the executive board, as well as chief financial and risk officer. Stoffels is a member of the company’s management committee. He will be responsible for strategic and tactical reporting. He is also chairman of the pension fund of KAS Bank.Beroepspensioenfonds Loodsen (BPL) – Robert de Jonge has been named chairman of the occupational pension funds for maritime pilots as of 1 January. He is to succeed Jan Willem Duyzer, who has been chairman since 2008. De Jonge has been a trustee at BPL since 2008 and the scheme’s secretary and treasurer over the last three years. Pieter Bas Schoe, trustee since 2012, will take over De Jonge’s current positions on the board.ASR – Pensions insurer ASR Nederland has appointed Herman Hintzen as a member of its supervisory board (RvC). Hintzen has been in several management, advisory and supervisory roles at internal financial institutions. Most recently, he was senior adviser at UBS Investment Bank in London. Before then, he worked at JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and APG Investments. Currently, Hintzen is chairman of the RvC of insurer Amlin Europe.Vesteda – Hélène Pragt is to step down “by mutual agreement” as CFO at the €3.7bn property investor Vesteda after 15 months in the job. Vesteda attributed her early departure to “differing views” on managing the company. It acknowledged Pragt’s contribution to the firm, such as an improved financing structure and investor relations, as well as organisational and IT development. Vesteda focuses on investments in Dutch residential property for institutional investors. Its clients include APG and PGGM, the asset managers for the €345bn civil service scheme ABP and the €161bn healthcare pension fund PFZW.Man Group – Lord Livingston of Parkhead has been appointed as a non-executive director. He will succeed Jon Aisbitt as chairman following the company’s next AGM. Lord Livingston has been a serving member of the UK House of Lords since 2013 and was previously minister of State for Trade and Investment for the UK government from December 2013 to May 2015. In the corporate world, he most recently served as chief executive at BT Group.Sackers – Philippa Connaughton has joined the UK law firm for pension scheme employers, trustees and providers as a partner. She was a partner at RPC and head of pensions from 2013 to 2015.