GREEN Team Newsletter - Issue #217
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad recently signed into law H.F. 2464, a multifaceted bill that secures funding for the state’s highly successful biodiesel and ethanol blender pump program, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program, through June 30, 2017.
“We applaud Gov. Branstad and the Iowa Legislature for securing funding to keep the renewable fuels infrastructure program going for another year,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Policy Director Grant Menke. “While we remain focused on finding a long-term funding solution, this bill will allow us to continue to build upon the momentum that was sparked by the USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership program, and ensure that Iowans have greater access to lower-cost, locally-produced renewable fuels blends.”
The IRFA recently reported interest amongst Iowa retailers in offering renewable fuels is at an all-time high. The most recent Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Board meeting set records by awarding 68 projects with $3.2 million in state grants to upgrade infrastructure to offer higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel. With today’s signing, the RFIP has secured funding through the state’s next fiscal year, ending June 30, 2017.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP) offers cost-share grants to Iowa retailers wishing to upgrade fueling infrastructure to offer registered E15, E85 and/or biodiesel blends. Reimbursement can be up to 70 percent of the installation costs, up to a maximum of $50,000 per project, with a five-year commitment to sell registered E15, E85 or biodiesel blends. For more on the program, please click here.
May 17, 2016
Kum & Go recently announced it will be offering E15 at more than 100 stores across the country by the end of the year. Of the 100 stores, about 30 will feature new infrastructure, including several newly opened stores, with the balance being retrofitted to offer cleaner-burning lower-cost E15.
“We’re excited and thrilled to hear Kum & Go’s plans to add lower-cost E15 to more than 100 stores across the nation,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “E15 is a trusted, high-performance fuel that’s also a win for consumers, often being priced 5 to 10 cents less than E10. Kum & Go’s announcement means Iowa should continue to lead the way in providing consumers the choice of cleaner-burning, homegrown E15.”
“Kum & Go has stepped up and responded to consumer demand for lower cost, higher performing, and more environmentally friendly fuel by adding E15 at their pumps. It’s been a pleasure working with such a forward-looking company and we congratulate Kum & Go on this important milestone,” stated Growth Energy Co-Chair Tom Buis. “This milestone underlines the fact that American consumers have embraced E15 for the savings it provides at the pump and because they demand 21st century fuel for 21st century cars. E15 is specially designed to work with today’s modern cars because the extra octane helps engines perform at their best.”
May 17, 2016
Representatives Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) recently introduced legislation that would reform the current federal biodiesel blenders tax credit to a domestic producer’s credit, and extend it through 2019.
“This commonsense, forward-thinking reform would provide some much needed certainty in the marketplace, and allow the credit to be applied only to biodiesel gallons produced in the U.S. instead of incentivizing foreign production,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “With low commodity prices and a depressed farm economy, this extension and reformation can provide some relief in rural America.”
“While oil tax breaks remain permanently written into the tax code, the biodiesel tax incentive is yet again set to expire in less than eight months,” stated National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel. “This is no way to do business. Biodiesel producers need stable, predictable tax policy to continue to grow and hire. We want to thank Reps. Noem and Pascrell for taking the lead on this issue to create that stability and spur economic activity.”
“The bill from Reps. Noem and Pascrell is something ASA is extremely pleased to see, as it seeks to extend the biodiesel tax credit through 2019, and restructures the credit to further promote value-added domestic production,” stated American Soybean Association (ASA) President Richard Wilkins. “If not renewed, the dollar-per-gallon credit will expire at the end of this year putting a damper on production and preventing the industry from maximizing the benefits provided from this domestic, renewable energy source.”
May 17, 2016
Representatives Bill Flores (R-Texas), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.) recently introduced legislation attempting to cap ethanol blends in the U.S. fuel pool at no more than 9.7 percent by volume.
“This bill is incredibly flawed because the ethanol industry is already producing over the bill’s 9.7 percent threshold and growing. Perhaps more importantly this bill would deal a blow to American consumers who have embraced ethanol as a less expensive, 21st century fuel that is higher performing and allows for consumer choice,” stated Growth Energy Co-Chair Tom Buis. “Homegrown ethanol is an American success story that’s helped usher America’s path to energy independence with a clean-burning fuel that’s better for the air we breathe and our environment. American farmers have shown that they can feed and fuel the world and any claim that says we cannot have both food and fuel is simply a self-serving charge aimed at driving a specific agenda with no factual merit. The fact is that consumers are demanding and using higher blends of biofuels, like E15, because it is an advanced fuel with higher-octane levels that increases performance in 21st century vehicles.”
“Passage of this bill would represent a complete capitulation to the oil industry that steadfastly refuses to provide consumers higher octane, lower cost alternative fuels at the pump,” stated Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “They whine about a so-called blend wall even as they continue to build it themselves by denying consumer access to E15 and E85. The RFS was made necessary by oil company intransigence. It was intended to break the stranglehold oil companies have on the motor fuel market by forcing access. This bill would gut the RFS and send America’s energy and climate change policy back decades. Americans want choices at the pump, they want to see lower carbon fuels, they want to spend less on motor fuel, and they want to stimulate investments in new technologies and new fuels to drive our economy in a low carbon world. This bill would sacrifice all of that at the altar of Big Oil, and that is why it will never pass.”
May 17, 2016
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) recently announced that CEO Joe Jobe has left the organization to pursue other opportunities. Jobe started with NBB in 1997 and became CEO in 1999, during which time he helped lead the industry from 200,000 gallons of biodiesel use to over 2 billion gallons projected in 2016.
“I want to thank the National Biodiesel Board for giving me the opportunity to work in an industry that is helping to change the world,” said Jobe. “I love this industry—the hard-working people, the visionary leaders, and the product that I will continue to use every day. Now is a good time for me to pursue a different path. Biodiesel is positioned to lead the carbon reduction goals of the nation and I can’t wait to see what biodiesel does next.”
“Joe Jobe was a tireless advocate for the biodiesel industry for nearly twenty years, and his service and dedication will be greatly missed,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “We wish Joe nothing but the best in the future, and look forward to continuing our work with the National Biodiesel Board to promote the immense benefits of cleaner-burning, locally-produced biodiesel.”
The NBB board of directors also thanked Jobe for his years of service and wished him the best in his future endeavors. The NBB will begin the search for a permanent replacement immediately.
May 17, 2016
In its recent “World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates” report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is projecting a record corn crop and supplies for the 2016-2017 marketing year. The report calls for supplies to be up 866 million bushels up from last year at 16.3 billion bushels. According to the USDA’s projects for corn use and exports, the projected corn ending stocks of 2.2 billion bushels would be the highest since the mid-1980s.
“All of the USDA’s statistics simply underscore the need for a strong and robust federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS),” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “With booming corn supplies, increased driving due to lower-than-normal oil prices and wider availability of higher ethanol blends thanks to USDA’s BIP program, all signs are pointing the EPA to restore the Congressionally prescribed level of 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol for 2017.”
Total U.S. feed grain supplies for 2016-’17 are projected up 4 percent from the 2015-’16 record. Corn production is projected at 14.4 billion bushels, up 829 million from last year, and 214 million higher than the previous record in 2014-’15. USDA says a 5.6 million-acre increase in corn plants more than offsets a small reduction in yield, which is now projected at 168 bushels per acre, down 0.4 bushels from last year.
U.S. corn use for 2016-’17 is projected at a record 14.1 billion bushels, 4 percent higher than for 2015-’16. Corn used to produce ethanol is projected 50 million bushels higher than in 2015-’16 with a reduction in sorghum use for ethanol and higher expected ethanol blending. Feed and residual use for 2016-’17 is projected 300 million bushels higher with higher production, lower expected prices, and further expansion in animal numbers in 2016-’17. Exports for 2016-’17 are projected 175 million bushels higher than this month’s upwardly revised projection for 2015-’16.
May 17, 2016
As Memorial Day weekend approaches later this month and people start heading out to the beaches and on the water, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is launching an ad campaign today to correct misinformation regarding ethanol usage in marine engines.
The campaign kicked off with a two-page ad in the latest issue of Marina Dock Age, which is delivered to nearly every marina in the United States. A copy of the ad can be found here. The campaign will also feature educational outreach and further ad placement in news outlets throughout the country.
“There has been a lot of misinformation perpetuated by biofuel opponents surrounding boating and ethanol,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “For nearly 30 years, 10 percent ethanol (E10) has been used in all types of marine engines and the fuel blend is approved for use by all major marine engine manufacturers, including Honda, Mercury Marine, Kawasaki and Johnson/Evinrude. As a bonus, ethanol’s higher octane ratings increase engine performance, in addition to it also being the lowest-cost, cleanest-burning fuel on the planet.
“E10 is safe for marine engines. Period. Any organizations that say otherwise are not telling the truth,” Dinneen added.
It is important to remember that while E10 is approved for use in all marine engines, higher ethanol blends, such as E15, are not. EPA has approved the use of E15 in all 2001 and later model year vehicles, but only for on-road vehicles. But as EPA requires E15 and higher ethanol blends to be clearly labeled at the pump, and mandates that E10 also be available at any station offering E15, boaters need not be concerned. Through more than four years of E15 sales, there has not been a single case of E15 misfueling in a marine engine.
For more information on boating and ethanol, please check out this FAQ document that RFA has previously issued.
May 17, 2016
In a guest column recently published in Ethanol Producer Magazine, new Association of Nebraska Ethanol Producers (ANEEP) Executive Director Mark Palmer said the group is ready for its next step.
“ANEEP also is poised to better engage the Nebraska congressional delegation in Washington. Because Nebraska is a national ethanol-producing powerhouse, we need to do a better job of engaging our three members of the U.S. House of Representatives and two U.S. senators. The delegation may hear about the benefits of ethanol and the federal policies from a national perspective, but ANEEP’s role will be to apply those federal issues surrounding the renewable fuels standard, tax policy and higher level blends (E15, E85) to the Nebraska-based industry,” wrote Palmer.
“Furthermore, ANEEP is at the beginning stages of a strategic planning exercise to identify priorities for the short and long term. The long-term issues, such as preparing key legislative issues to move in the unicameral legislature, will expand the existing ethanol industry in Nebraska.”
Palmer concluded, “To achieve our goals, ANEEP soon will begin a rebranding effort, developing a web site, upgrading to modern marketing and promotional materials, and utilizing social media engagement, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. ANEEP is in a transformational and transitional phase; a phase where the potential is infinite but then, so too, is the excitement.”
May 17, 2016
Petroleum and fuel equipment expert Cassie Mullen has joined the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) as director of market development. Mullen will primarily focus on working with the supply chain to facilitate expansion of infrastructure capable of offering higher level ethanol blends to consumers.
“Cassie brings a wealth of fuel equipment and fuel marketing experience to the RFA,” said RFA President and
CEO Bob Dinneen. “Cassie’s expertise will prove to be invaluable as the U.S. ethanol industry works with downstream partners to offer greater access to higher level ethanol blends such as E15, E85, and future ethanol-based high octane fuels. Infrastructure is critically important for future growth of the ethanol industry. Between USDA‘s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership Program and the industry’s Prime the Pump initiative, Cassie’s unique background and knowledge will be in high demand. She will be a welcome addition to the RFA team, already known for its unrivaled technical and regulatory expertise. Cassie knows the players in the retail market and she knows the business case for higher ethanol blends. Her impact will be felt immediately.”
Mullen has been working with fuel retailers for more than two decades, conducting station equipment evaluations, providing equipment recommendations and helping them build new stations. She is well versed in environmental compliance, EMV and major oil branding and marketing agreements. She even owned retail stations during her career. Mullen spent nearly six years as business development/manager for Kansas-based fuel equipment business P.B. Hoidale and nearly 10 years as director of sales and marketing for Missouri-based Neumayer Equipment Co. Most recently, she worked as an executive for Seneca Companies, managing a 17-state territory of retailer accounts.
“I am thrilled to be joining RFA and look forward to working with their technical and marketing staff to help support the market’s transition to higher-level ethanol blends,” said Mullen. “My background working with fuel retailers and owning stations gives me a unique perspective, and I plan to use that knowledge to help boost consumer access to higher ethanol blends. Retailers are increasingly interested in offering a broader array of fuel choices, and I plan to help them understand and pursue the value proposition associated with higher level ethanol blends.”