Jody Heemstra DRGNEWS
Feds making efforts to enable US energy independence by boosting homegrown biofuels
April 21, 2022
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director for South Dakota Nikki Gronli announced (April 20, 2022) the steps that USDA is taking to implement President Biden’s plan to enable energy independence by boosting homegrown biofuels.

    “Under the leadership of President Biden and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, USDA is working to expand our ability to meet our nation’s energy needs with homegrown biofuels” said Gronli. “This action not only provides a reliable and affordable source of fuel for American consumers, but it also supports homeland ag, creation of good-paying jobs and the generating of new economic opportunities for rural communities. Together, we can continue to realize energy independence and build back a better rural America.”

    USDA is making the following investments as part of the plan outlined by President Biden:

    $5.6 million for Infrastructure for Renewable Fuels through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program: Today, USDA is announcing funding in 7 states to build infrastructure to expand the availability of higher-blend renewable fuels by approximately 59.5 million gallons per year. States included in this investment are California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and South Dakota. These investments will give consumers more environmentally friendly, and oftentimes more affordable fuel choices when they fill up at the pump.

    For example, in South Dakota, Heinz, Inc. is receiving a $196,000 grant to increase ethanol sales and use of renewable fuels by 533,400 gallons per year. This project will replace four dispensers and four storage tanks at one fueling station in Summit.

    $700 Million for Biofuels Producers: As part of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, USDA is providing up to $700 million in funding through a new Biofuel Producer Program. The Program will support agricultural producers that rely on biofuels producers as a market for their agricultural products. By making payments to producers of biofuels, the funding will help maintain a viable and significant market for such agricultural products. Producers can expect awards before the end of April.

    $100 Million for Biofuels Infrastructure: USDA announced $100 million in new funding for grants for biofuels infrastructure to make it easier for gas stations to sell and to significantly increase the use of higher blends of bioethanol and biodiesel at the pump. The funding will provide grants to refueling and distribution facilities for the cost of installation, retrofitting or otherwise upgrading of infrastructure required at a location to ensure the environmentally safe availability of fuel containing ethanol blends of E15 and greater or fuel containing biodiesel blends B-20 and greater. USDA will also make funding available to support biofuels for railways as a means of assisting with supply chains and helping to reduce costs for consumer goods and transportation.

    Spurring a New Market in Sustainable Aviation Fuels: USDA is partnering across the federal government to advance the use of cleaner and more sustainable fuels in American transportation and investing billions of dollars in research and agricultural activities to improve aircraft fuel efficiency:

    A new Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge to inspire the dramatic increase in the production of sustainable aviation fuels to at least 3 billion gallons per year by 2030.

    New and ongoing funding opportunities to support sustainable aviation fuel projects and fuel producers totaling up to $4.3 billion; and

    An increase in R&D activities to demonstrate new technologies that can achieve at least a 30% improvement in aircraft fuel efficiency.

    These important investments will assist in the development, transportation, and distribution of low-carbon fuels, better market access for producers, and more affordable and cleaner fuels for American consumers.