Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the final 2017 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) with increased volumes for all categories as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The real winners of this news are the consumers, said the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) in a statement. Under the new RFS rule, Biomass-Based Diesel standards, of which includes biodiesel, will increase to 2.1 billion gallons in 2018. This is an increase from 2 billion gallons in 2017.
NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen said that the benefits of the RFS extend far beyond the biodiesel industry. The use of renewable fuels such as biodiesel support high paying jobs and clean air across the country.
“Though we are poised to top these numbers this year, growth in advanced biofuels still sends positive signals to the marketplace,” noted Rehagen.
Under the new RFS rule, the Advanced Biofuels category will increase to 4.28 billion gallons in 2017 up from 3.61 billion gallons in 2016. NBB said that Biomass-Based Diesel will continue to fill a large portion of this Advanced Biofuels category. Rehagen said that while the new standards reflect modest growth in the standards, they remain below the more than 2.6 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel expected in 2016.
“While NBB applauds the increased volumes, there is room for more aggressive growth. The U.S. biodiesel industry can do more. The production capacity and feedstock are clearly available as the market is already topping these levels. Rehagen added, “We will work with the incoming Administration to help them understand the benefits provided by our growing domestic biodiesel industry and the potential to support additional jobs and investment in rural economies.”
American Soybean Association President Richard Wilkens, who is a soybean farmer from Greenwood, Deleware, said that although the levels provide opportunities, they don’t take full advantage of the opportunities that biofuels, such as biodiesel, provide. “EPA will raise the overall volumes relative to the Proposed Rule and increase the total Advanced Biofuels volume requirements for 2017 from 4.0 billion gallons to 4.28, an increase of 19 percent. That’s a plus for biodiesel as the primary source of Advanced Biofuels.” Wilkins noted, however, that EPA chose not to raise the Biomass-based diesel volume requirements within that Advanced Biofuel pool for 2018.
When EPA issued its proposed rule, ASA clearly stated that the 2.1 billion gallon mark did not adequately capture the capacity of the biodiesel industry,” he said. “To see the volume remain at 2.1 billion gallons as they were in the Proposed Rule is frustrating. We know we can do more.”
The Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) also responded the news today. Iowa is the top producing state for biodiesel. “We’re pleased to see the volumes of biodiesel continue to grow under the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Grant Kimberley, IBB executive director. “We are especially encouraged by the strong increase in the Advanced Biofuels category, which is an area where biodiesel can grow and compete. This is critical in light of the foreign-produced biodiesel we’ve seen from places like Argentina and Southeast Asia, and sugarcane ethanol from Brazil,” who noted that the volumes are still below the production volumes expected for 2016.
“The RFS is one of the most successful bi-partisan energy policies ever to facilitate job growth and diversification of our nation’s energy supply. Our state’s producers are thankful to have more market certainty with a timely announcement for 2018 requirements. As the nation’s leading biodiesel producer, Iowa’s economy stands to benefit from this policy. With our state’s 13 plants producing a record 242 million gallons of biodiesel last year, our industry supports thousands of jobs and economic development while replacing foreign oil and increasing energy security. Our state’s production record also demonstrates that we can do more under this policy. We hope to see a bolder increase in RFS volumes the coming years, which benefits American consumers and the economy.”
Ames, Iowa-based REG, the country’s largest biodiesel producer, also reacted to today’s news. “While our industry has shown that higher volumes of biomass-based diesel can and will be produced and consumed, this final rule elevates the growth trajectory for our cleaner, lower carbon intensity advanced biofuel,” said Daniel J. Oh, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Biomass-based diesel will continue to lead the way. We appreciate the support of those at the EPA, many others throughout the Administration and our bi-partisan champions on Capitol Hill who all helped make this possible.”