The USDA announced more details on a $100 million grant program for activities designed to expand the availability and sale of higher blends of ethanol like E15 and E85, as well as other renewable fuel blends.
“America’s energy independence is critical to our economic security, and President Trump fully recognizes the importance of our ethanol and biofuels industries and the positive impacts they deliver to consumers and farmers with an affordable, abundant, and clean burning fuel,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “American ethanol and biofuel producers have been affected by decreased energy demands due to the coronavirus, and these grants to expand their availability will help increase their use during our economic resurgence.”
The Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) consist of up to $100 million in funding for competitive grants or sales incentives to eligible entities for activities designed to expand the sales and use of ethanol and biodiesel fuels. Funds will be made directly available to assist transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities with converting to higher ethanol and biodiesel blends by sharing the costs related to and/or offering sales incentives for the installation of fuel pumps, related equipment, and infrastructure.
Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said, “Due to COVID-19, American farmers and biofuel producers are facing an economic crisis that threatens the very heart of U.S. agriculture. While we work to secure support needed to ensure that we come out of this strong and ready to rebuild the farm economy, we know that continued progress on long-term investments like HBIIP are critical to show that the light at this end of this tunnel is brighter than ever.”
USDA is making the grants available under the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program. The program is intended to increase significantly the sale and use of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products.
Grants for up to 50 percent of total eligible project costs, but not more than $5 million, are available to vehicle fueling facilities, including, but not limited to, local fueling stations/locations, convenience stores, hypermarket fueling stations, fleet facilities, fuel terminal operations, midstream partners, and/or distribution facilities.
USDA plans to make available approximately $86 million for implementation activities related to higher blends of fuel ethanol, and approximately $14 million for implementation activities related to higher blends of biodiesel. Higher biofuel blends are fuels containing ethanol greater than 10 percent by volume and/or fuels containing biodiesel blends greater than five percent by volume.