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Here’s the latest action we’re following on the GreenBeat:

Valero will invest $50 million biofuels plant — The plant is operated by venture-backed Mascoma and will churn out biofuels from wood chips. Valero will also purchase 40 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol from the $350 million Michigan plant. It’s a significant investment for biofuels from a mainstream oil company, Reuters reports.

Range Fuels to close plant — On the flip side, this is bad news for biofuels player Range Fuels. The company has reportedly laid off workers and now Earth2Tech and Georgia Public Broadcasting reports it will shut down its Georgia plant after producing a limited batch of cellulosic ethanol. The company apparently ran out of money.

China will prepare 10 million parking spots for electric vehicles — The country plans to implement the spots by 2020, Reuters reports. China is focusing on heavily promoting the growth of all-electric cars rather than hybrids.

Hybrids have less emissions than coal-powered plug-ins — That’s according to a new MIT study, CNET reports. Researchers found that hybrids lower carbon emissions by 33 percent compared to gasoline engines, while plug-in electric cars charged by coal-powered electricity have slightly higher emissions than a conventional hybrid. If charged by power from renewable sources, then it would reduce emissions by 66 percent compared to gasoline engines.

Government delays decision on whether biomass is clean or dirty energy — The EPA has put off for three years deciding whether creation of electricity by burning wood should be regulated for carbon emissions, saying it will use the time to gather information, then revisit the issue in 2014. Biomass industry reps say burning biomass is “carbon neutral” because new trees get planted to absorb the carbon, while environmental groups have pushed for regulation on emissions, SolveClimate reports.

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