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Call to Action for a Truly Sustainable Renewable Future
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-Include high octane/high ethanol Regular Grade fuel in EPA Tier 3 regulations.
-Use a dedicated, self-reducing non-renewable carbon user fee to fund renewable energy R&D.
-Start an Apollo-type program to bring New Ideas to sustainable biofuel and …

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USDA Results: Powering America with a More Sustainable Energy Future

Submitted by on October 3, 2016 – 3:51 pmNo Comment

(U.S. Department of Agriculture)  … The Obama Administration has pursued a carefully balanced approach, deploying technologies that improve the very best of our existing energy sources, while rigorously implementing policies that invest in the second and third generations of tomorrow’s fuels.

In the last eight years, USDA has helped lead an effort to promote the domestic production and use of advanced biofuels and biobased products, supporting millions of jobs. On top of that, we’ve invested in research, supported farmers growing bioenergy feedstocks and helped fund thousands of bioenergy and renewable energy projects nationwide.

The Biofuels roadmap, launched early on the Administration, is a comprehensive regional strategy to help recharge the rural American economy by laying out the strategy for meeting the biofuels goals of the current Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2). The strategy ensures federal efforts are better coordinated and targets barriers to and proposed plan of action to meet congressionally mandated RFS2 goals for biofuels production.

We’ve taken steps to create much-needed certainty for farmers by offering insurance coverage for producers growing biofuel crops.

We’ve encouraged feedstock production for renewable energy by establishing the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) which is incentivizing nearly 1,000 growers and landowners farming nearly 49,000 acres to establish and produce dedicated, nonfood energy crops for delivery to energy conversion facilities. We’re also doing our part to encourage the production of advanced biofuels from non-food sources through our Advanced Biofuel Payment Program. Established in the 2008 Farm Bill, this program allows payments to be made to biofuels producers based on the amount of advanced biofuels produced from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch; feedstocks like crop residue, food and yard waste, vegetable oil and animal fat. Through this program to date, USDA has made $312 million in payments to almost 400 producers in 47 states all of which have contributed to producing enough biofuel to provide more than 63 billion kilowatt hours of electric energy and over 8.6 billion gallons of advanced biofuel.

USDA has made available $100 million in grants under the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP), estimated to nearly double the number of fueling pumps nationwide that supply renewable fuels, such as E15 and E85, to American motorists. 21 states are participating in the BIP, with matching funds from state and private partners, providing $210 million to build nearly 5,000 pumps at over 1,400 fueling stations to strengthen the rural economy and increase the demand for agricultural commodities used in the production of biofuels.

In addition to that, biofuels originating in our nation’s rural communities are a key component of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy and play an important role in reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil. To ensure the energy feedstocks produced by our farmers are put to use, USDA has invested in the infrastructure work needed to build advanced biofuels refineries. With USDA support, six new biorefineries will produce advanced biofuels in Louisiana, Georgia, Oregon, Nevada and North Carolina, in addition to an existing facility in New Mexico previously supported by the program.

USDA has formed partnerships with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the commercial aviation industry on Farm to Fly 2.0 . This coalition aims to develop robust and commercially-viable aviation biofuel supply chains in the U.S. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy joined the partnership with a focus on supporting R&D as well as demonstration and deployment activities. The national work is being expanded at the regional and state level.

To ensure innovation continues in renewable energy R&D, USDA has invested more than $237 million in research, education and extension grants through the AFRI Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts challenge area. As a result, Alaska Airlines will be able to use 1,000 gallons of biofuel produced by Washington State University in a demonstration flight in the near future. We have also coordinated six regional research centers to ensure profitable biofuels can be sustainably produced from a diverse range of feedstocks across the nation and that U.S. production can meet food, feed, and fiber needs as well as for biofuels.

Unlike other supply-side driven alternative-fuel efforts, the aviation-fuel user community is pulling demand for aviation biofuels. Several commercial airlines have flown demonstration and commercial flights powered by biofuels and have established offtake agreements with fuel suppliers for commercial fuel production. With the right policies in place, the American airline industry will become a ready and willing buyer of competitively priced alternative fuels.

We are also proud of our partnership with the U.S. Navy on a Farm to Fleet program, announced in December 2013. The Department of Defense is one of the largest energy consumers in the world, and is responsible for more than four-fifths of government’s fuel consumption. Farm to Fleet complements the Defense Production Act and makes biofuel blends part of regular bulk fuel purchase and operational use by the military, up to 50 percent. To date, this partnership has led to the procurement of 77.7 million gallons of blended drop in biofuel.

In 2016, the U.S. Navy launched the Great Green Fleet which uses advanced biofuel made from waste beef fat. The Great Green Fleet initiative is a good example of how the Navy and Marine Corps can use alternative energy to increase combat capability and operational flexibility, while helping to create a new market for agricultural waste products in the energy space.

Today, more than 3,500 pumps in more than 2,100 U.S. towns and cities offer E85. This growth is the direct result of investments by the USDA, beginning with support for blender fuel pumps able to dispense E85 and other high-ethanol blends as an early part of the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. Today, that same commitment is continued through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership initiative as USDA partners with 21 states to build nearly 5,000 pumps — more than double current volume — at over 1,400 fueling stations to supply renewable fuels to American motorists. With matching commitments by state and private entities, the program is investing $210 million to strengthen the rural economy, with a $100 million investment by USDA.

The United States exported 836 million gallons of non-beverage ethanol in 2015, the second highest volume on record.

USDA is also investing in next-generation fuels. Since 2009, USDA has provided $844 million in loan commitments to businesses to develop and produce advanced biofuels. Companies receiving these commitments are projected to produce 159 million gallons of advanced biofuels.   READ MORE

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