Agency Says It’s ‘Committed to Keeping the RFS Program on Track’
The U.S. EPA has proposed increases to the volumes required under the federal RFS/Renewable Fuel Standard program, the complex system of tradable credits that allows bio-based fuels to compete and indeed thrive in the marketplace.
“The proposed increases,” the agency says, “would boost renewable fuel production and provide for ambitious yet achievable growth.”
The RFS program and the associated system of RINs (renewable identification numbers) that power the credit program are mandated by Congress under section 211 of the Clean Air Act.
‘Growth Over Historic Levels’
The proposed volumes would represent growth over historic levels, EPA says:
- total renewable fuel volumes would grow by nearly 700 million gallons between 2016 and 2017;
- advanced renewable fuel – which requires 50% lifecycle carbon emissions reductions – would grow by nearly 400 million gallons between 2016 and 2017;
- the non-advanced or “conventional” fuels portion of total renewable fuels – which requires a minimum of 20% lifecycle carbon emissions reductions – would increase by 300 million gallons between 2016 and 2017 and achieve 99% of the Congressional target of 15 billion gallons;
- biomass-based biodiesel – which must achieve at least 50% lifecycle emissions reductions – would grow by 100 million gallons between 2017 and 2018; and
- cellulosic biofuel – which requires 60% lifecycle carbon emissions reductions – would grow by 82 million gallons, or 35%, between 2016 and 2017.
Biomethane, also known as RNG/renewable natural gas, has been classed in the same way as cellulosic ethanol for the past two years (F&F, July 4, 2014). Like cellulosic ethanol, biomethane is a D-3 fuel.
“The EPA’s proposed renewable fuel quotas are solid numbers that speak to the anticipated growth in use of biomethane vehicle fuel in the U.S.,” Clean Energy Renewable Fuel president Harrison Clay told F&F in an email.
‘Carefully Reviewing the Proposal’
“We are carefully reviewing the proposal and working with our industry advocacy groups to ensure that the EPA has all the most up to date information on project development and growth,” Clay said.
“We suspect that recent developments may support an even higher number given the EPA methodology for determining the D-3 Renewable Vehicle Obligation (RVO),” he said.
‘A Success Story,’ Says EPA
“The Renewable Fuel Standards program is a success story that has driven biofuel production and use in the U.S. to levels higher than any other nation,” Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, said in an agency release.
“This administration is committed to keeping the RFS program on track, spurring continued growth in biofuel production and use, and achieving the climate and energy independence benefits that Congress envisioned from this program,” she said.
The agency will hold a public hearing on the RFS proposal in Kansas City on June 9. The period for public input and comment closes on July 11.
The RFS proposal was published in the Federal Register yesterday (direct PDF link).
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Source: U.S. EPA with Fleets & Fuels follow-up