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Industry Groups React to Monday’s USDA Biofuels Grant Announcement

Below is various industry reaction to Monday’s USDA biofuels announcement:

Growth Energy Applauds USDA Biofuel Infrastructure Investments

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Growth Energy praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) release of $25 million of biofuels infrastructure grant awards today as well as the upcoming availability of $450 million in additional biofuels infrastructure funding. The funding, announced by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, can be used by retailers to expand access to higher ethanol blends like E15—a fuel made with 15% ethanol.

“Secretary Vilsack’s announcement is great news for biofuel producers, retailers, and consumers,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Over the last two summers, we’ve seen E15 prove itself again and again as a proven source of savings for working families and a shield against volatile fossil fuel markets. The grant funding announced today will help our retail partners to expand options at the pump so more American drivers can save money and reduce their carbon emissions.”

Today’s announcement builds on the USDA’s past efforts to support sales of higher biofuel blends through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP), which received a $500 million boost under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. Since 2014, Growth Energy has helped retailers across the country acquire $230 million in federal, state, and private grants that have gone toward making the necessary changes for them to offer E15 to their customers.

“These historic investments would not have been possible without the support of Secretary Vilsack and rural champions in Congress,” said Jake Comer, Growth Energy’s vice president of Market Development. “We’re grateful for their efforts, and we look forward to working with them to tear down remaining barriers to higher ethanol blends, including outdated restrictions on summer sales of E15.”

RFA Thanks USDA for New Round of Biofuels Infrastructure Support

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday announced awardees of grants in the newest round of the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) and announced its plans to accept applications for $450 million in HBIIP grants via the Inflation Reduction Act. In doing so, America’s ethanol producers, fuel retailers, and all drivers alike will benefit from the new round of funding to support the expansion of lower-cost, lower-carbon renewable fuels like ethanol, the Renewable Fuels Association said.

“We’re thrilled to see this new announcement from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, which will help bring lower-cost biofuel blends like E15 and E85 to more fuel retail locations around the country,” said Troy Bredenkamp, RFA Senior Vice President for Government and Public Affairs. “RFA has been proud to assist retailers in the application process and to move these grants forward. This program is instrumental in bringing the benefits of biofuels to drivers around the country who want access to lower-cost fuel that is better for the environment and public health. We are grateful to President Biden and Secretary Vilsack for their support of this important initiative.”

RFA has had a 100 percent success rate in assisting retailers in applying for and receiving HBIIP grants under this program, which kicked off in 2020. To date, via HBIIP and state programs, RFA has helped more than 85 companies secure grants in 21 states for almost $68 million in funding, matched by over $217 million in retailer funding for almost $285 million towards higher blend infrastructure. These combined state and federal grant efforts will result in nearly 2,400 dispensers at over 460 locations. For more information, contact Cassie Mullen at cmullen@ethanolrfa.org.

ACE: More USDA Infrastructure Funding Available to Expand Higher Ethanol Blends 

Sioux Falls, SD (June 26, 2023) – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will open quarterly application windows for the remaining $450 million provided in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for the Department’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) starting July 1, 2023. The program provides grants to pay up to 75 percent of the cost of equipment for station owners who add or upgrade equipment and sell higher ethanol blends like E15 and E85. USDA also announced the first recipients of the IRA funding made available in December 2022. American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Chief Marketing Officer Ron Lamberty has helped retailers apply for and receive HBIIP grants since the program’s inception and has provided feedback to USDA on challenges experienced by marketers and suggestions to increase participation following each round of awards and for these funds designated for biofuel infrastructure under the IRA. Lamberty issued the following statement following USDA’s announcement:
“ACE looks forward to seeing more details of the program when they are released. We thank USDA for allowing us to provide feedback and recommend changes we hope will make funds more accessible to single-store and small chain retailers. Those retailers are key to widespread availability of E15 and E85 and ACE continues to fight for them as the program evolves at USDA. Even something as simple as the multiple application periods announced today will help marketers who don’t have staff or time to gather information and fill out complicated grant applications. In past rounds, if they weren’t sure they could complete the application by the due date, they couldn’t risk the time. Now they’ll know when another application opens and can plan accordingly.
“Hopefully small retailers will also qualify for the higher 75 percent cost share. For the last few years, ACE has concentrated our HBIIP informational efforts on increasing awareness of HBIIP funds, de-mystifying the application process, and letting retailers know help is available. At trade shows earlier this year, however, retailers who never quite got around to applying for past HBIIP grants told us IRA funds covering 75 percent of their equipment cost changes would take applying for the program from possibility to probability.
“We also appreciate USDA HBIIP Program Manager Jeff Carpenter’s efforts to continue making the program more accessible to retailers, by reaching out to ACE and others and allowing us to provide observations and input we received from our industry partners in previous rounds of the program.”
ACE will continue to make marketers aware of HBIIP and other programs through advertising in c-store industry publications, personal outreach at trade shows and workshops, and by sharing experiences of successful higher-blend marketers and providing tools like our Flex Check E15 compatibility tool on the flexfuelforward.com marketer-to-marketer website.

NCGA Applauds USDA for Allocating Funding to Increase Access to Biofuels

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture for agreeing to invest $500 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to increase the availability of domestic biofuels and to give consumers cleaner fuel options.

Clean Fuels Welcomes Newly Announced HBIIP Grants

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Clean Fuels Alliance America thanked USDA for announcing new Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program grants for 59 projects, including ones that will increase consumer access to biodiesel from California to New Hampshire. The industry appreciates USDA’s commitment to make additional funding available on a quarterly basis, with five application windows between July 1, 2023, and Sept. 30, 2024. Clean Fuels applauds USDA’s emphasis on fuel and home heating oil distribution projects.

Clean Fuels congratulates member companies and industry partners that received matching funds for projects, including Crimson Renewable Energy, New Leaf, and World Energy. The HBIIP grants provide matching funds for companies investing in new pumps, fuel storage, distribution and transportation infrastructure for biodiesel. Out of the $25 million in grants announced today, more than $6.9 million will be used to support consumer access to more than 104 million gallons of biodiesel.

“Clean Fuels and its members appreciate the partnership with USDA to support industry investments in infrastructure for biodiesel,” said Kurt Kovarik, Vice President of Federal Affairs with Clean Fuels. “This program enjoys bipartisan congressional support and it is successfully opening new markets to biodiesel.”

“Clean Fuels congratulates member companies Crimson Renewable Energy, New Leaf, and World Energy for specific projects and applauds the overall progress for the entire industry,” Kovarik continued. “These projects will increase the supply of better, cleaner fuels in states and regions where consumer demand is increasing quickly.”

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