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EPA Finalizes RFS2, Obama Charts Biofuels Pathway

ljacksonUpdating Biomass Intel’s earlier story, President Obama announced today a comprehensive strategy to enhance American energy independence while building a foundation for a new clean energy economy, and its promise of new industries and millions of jobs.

The announcement includes the long-awaited release of the EPA’s proposed renewable fuels standard 2.0, which provides a final ruling on methodologies for calculating greenhouse gas emissions.

At a meeting with a bipartisan group of governors from around the country, the President laid out three measures (including the new RFS2) that will work in concert to boost biofuels production and reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.

1)  The EPA announced its finalized renewable fuel standard 2.0 (RFS2) to implement the long-term renewable fuels standard of 36 billion gallons by 2022 established by Congress. The Renewable Fuels Standard requires biofuels production to grow from last year’s 11.1 billion gallons to 36 billion gallons in 2022, with 21 billion gallons to come from advanced biofuels. Increasing renewable fuels will reduce dependence on oil by more than 328 million barrels a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions more than 138 million metric tons a year when fully phased in by 2022. For the first time, some renewable fuels must achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions – compared to the gasoline and diesel fuels they displace – in order to be counted towards compliance with volume standards. To read the rule:

The chart below outlines the new requirements:

RFS2

2) The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed a rule on the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) that would provide financing to increase the conversion of biomass to bioenergy. USDA provides grants and loans and other financial support to help biofuels and renewable energy commercialization through BCAP.  BCAP has already begun to provide matching payments to folks delivering biomass for the collection, harvest, storage, and transportation of biomass to eligible biomass conversion facilities. To read the rule:

3) The President’s Biofuels Interagency Working Group released its first report – Growing America’s Fuel. The report, authored by group co-chairs, Secretaries Vilsack and Chu, and Administrator Jackson, lays out a strategy to advance the development and commercialization of a sustainable biofuels industry to meet or exceed the nation’s biofuels targets. In May, President Obama established the Biofuels Interagency Working Group – co-chaired by USDA, DOE, and EPA, and with input from many others – to develop a comprehensive approach to accelerating the investment in and production of American biofuels and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Today’s report, Growing America’s Fuel, is focused on short term solid government solutions supporting the existing biofuels industry, as well as accelerating the commercial establishment of advanced biofuels and a viable long-term market by transforming how the U.S. Government does business across Departments and using strategic public-private partnerships. To read the full report:

* In addition, President Obama announced a Presidential Memorandum (linked below) creating an Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage to develop a comprehensive and coordinated federal strategy to speed the development and deployment of clean coal technologies.

In President Obama’s words:

Now, I happen to believe that we should pass a comprehensive energy and climate bill. It will make clean energy the profitable kind of energy, and the decision by other nations to do this is already giving their businesses a leg up on developing clean energy jobs and technologies. But even if you disagree on the threat posed by climate change, investing in clean energy jobs and businesses is still the right thing to do for our economy. Reducing our dependence on foreign oil is still the right thing to do for our security. We can’t afford to spin our wheels while the rest of the world speeds ahead.

Speaking about the new renewable fuel standard, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson explains:

The renewable fuel standards will help bring new economic opportunity to millions of Americans, particularly in rural America.  EPA is proud to be a part of the President’s effort to combat climate change and put Americans back to work – both through the new renewable fuel standards and through our co-chairmanship with the Department of Energy of the Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage.

The announcement establishes more certainty around biofuels, which will help an industry struggling to find its footing.  The latest strong endorsement from the Administration is likely to find broad support from Democrats and Republicans alike, a rare feat in the partisan atmosphere currently crippling Washington.  While cap-and-trade remains uncertain, domestic sources of energy are hot and biofuels and biomass stand to benefit.

More on the announcement is available here.

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Trackbacks

  1. House Reps Say No to Indirect Land Use Change and EPA Tailoring Rule | BIOMASS INTEL
  2. Summary of USDA’s Proposed Biomass Crop Assistance Program Rules | BIOMASS INTEL
  3. Biodiesel Tax Credit Gets Nixed from Jobs Bill | BIOMASS INTEL
  4. Biodiesel Back in the Game: Senate Votes to Extend Key $1 Tax Credit | BIOMASS INTEL
  5. Aviation Boom in Asia Intensifies Global Competition for Fuel | BIOMASS INTEL
  6. Obama Oil Drilling Announcement Dismays Biofuels Industry | BIOMASS INTEL
  7. Survival of the Fittest: Making Sense of the Biofuel Subsidy Battle in Washington | BIOMASS INTEL
  8. Survival of the Fittest: Making Sense of the Biofuel Subsidy Battle « CleanTechnologies.ca

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