After months of focusing almost exclusively on electric vehicles and heat pumps, President Biden finally acknowledged the important role renewable fuels are playing to enhance American energy and environmental security and lower consumer costs. In fact, Biden said his plan for a net-zero economy by 2050 is completely unachievable without renewable fuels delivered by businesses like yours.
This breakthrough comes after many renewable fuel advocates, including NEFI, ramped up pressure on the administration to act. This includes a NEFI-led grassroots campaign that sent thousands of letters to the Biden administration calling for responsible production of conventional energy resources in parallel with major new investments in renewable fuels and home energy efficiency. Thank you to everyone who participated in this campaign. Your efforts are having an impact and your voice is being heard.
The White House also released a Fact Sheet that outlines a number of policy actions on renewable fuels. Receiving the most press attention is a waiver to allow sales of 15% ethanol (E15) blends in gasoline through the summer, from June 1 through September 15. Note that NEFI does not get involved in E15 policy issues. Other actions, including those supported by NEFI, include:
- $700 million in pandemic relief for biofuel producers, including biodiesel producers that were harmed by the severe decline in U.S. fuel demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
- $5.6 million in biofuel infrastructure grant awards from the USDA's Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP), benefiting downstream fuel marketers in 7 states including Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and New York.
- $100 million for a new round of cost-sharing grants for biofuel infrastructure for downstream fuel marketers, including heating oil distributors, under the HBIIP program. The administration pledged to open the HBIIP grant application portal this spring.
- A pledge to diversify renewable feedstocks by approving new petitions for renewable fuel pathways under the EPA's Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). This could benefit ethyl levulinate (EL), a net-negative-carbon liquid heating fuel being developed in Maine that utilizes cellulosic feedstocks such as wood, forest and agricultural residues, and municipal solid waste.
"On behalf of the entire liquid heating fuels industry, I applaud the president's strong statement of support for renewable fuels," said NEFI President & CEO Sean Cota. "Our nation needs to increase production of sustainable heating fuels such as Bioheat® Fuel, ethyl levulinate, and renewable propane, particularly in light of events in Europe and a greater need for Western energy security."
"More needs to be done, particularly in Congress" Cota said. "In the weeks to come, we must ramp up pressure to extend renewable fuel tax incentives, including the biodiesel tax credit, and boost tax credits for fuel-neutral home energy efficiency, which can result in real savings for homeowners."
The president's announcement was delivered at a POET Bioprocessing facility in Menlo, Iowa on Tuesday. The event was opened by Congresswoman Cindy Axne of Iowa's third district, a prominent biofuel champion in Congress. You can watch a video of the press event online here.