Last Thursday, NGVAmerica joined with the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, the Solid Waste Association of North America, Energy Vision, and National Waste and Recycling Association in urging the U.S. EPA to revise the 2018 target for cellulosic biofuels. Citing the recent significant growth of renewable natural gas, which contributes to the cellulosic biofuel requirements, and pointing to information on recent activities and planned project completions, the joint comments urge the EPA to increase the target and thereby support the continued growth of this important industry segment.
As currently proposed, the renewable fuel volume obligation (RVO) set by EPA for cellulosic biofuel in 2018 would be 238 million gallons. The Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas however anticipates based on current projections that industry will produce 252 million ethanol gallon equivalents (EGE) of cellulosic biofuel in 2017. For 2018, the association is projecting that producers will supply 417 million EGE of cellulosic biofuel. The joint comments caution that setting the RVO at a level that is so much lower than planned production levels will harm the industry’s growth and investments that have been made. The comments request that EPA establish a minimum RVO of 345 million EGE for cellulosic biofuel.
EPA’s approach to setting the RVO levels for 2018 differs from the approach used in past years that had factored projects recently approved and in the planning process. The new approach used by EPA looks at historical growth levels but does not account for new or planned projects. In response to criticism that the previous process was not fully transparent, the Coalition of Renewable Natural Gas has submitted signed affidavits from biofuel producers and has made the information part of the public record. EPA is expected to release a final rule by November 30.
In addition to signing on to the joint comments, NGVAmerica also provided testimony at the EPA hearing held in Washington, DC on August 1.