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BIO: EPA’s unstable RFS slows biofuel investment

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The EPA’s new methodology for setting annual Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) continues to chill investment in advanced biofuels, say the Biotechnology Innovation Organisation (BIO) from the results of their newly released analysis. Investment patterns clearly demonstrate that the EPA is sending a sustained market signal that disincentivises advanced biofuels, causing a US$22.4 billion shortfall in necessary investment.

Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President of BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section, states, “EPA recognises that its delays in rulemaking from 2013 to 2015 undercut investment in advanced biofuels. The agency fails to recognise, however, that its methodology, including in the newly proposed 2017 rule, also undercuts investment in advanced biofuels. Data on investment in the biofuel sector bears out that EPA’s methodology has forced producers to consolidate investment in conventional biofuel production capacity and distribution infrastructure, while sacrificing investment in advanced biofuels.

“Following yet another year of policy instability, BIO now estimates that EPA’s rulemaking delays, unwarranted expansion of its waiver authorities, and methodology for setting annual RVOs has caused a US$22.4 billion shortfall in investment in advanced biofuels. EPA is sending a sustained market signal that disincentivises and discourages advanced biofuel producers, who have reached a stage where investment in proven technologies and processes could rapidly expand availability of cleaner, low carbon transportation fuels.”

“The EPA can correct course in the 2017 rule by reversing its use of the general waiver authority to reduce overall volumes, raising advanced biofuel volumes sufficiently to obviate competition among biofuel developers, and ensuring that the US transportation fuel market is open to every gallon of renewable fuel that can be produced.”

Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle

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