Today the the U.S. EPA released a proposed rule containing 2014, 2015 and 2016 renewable volume requirements (RVOs) under the renewable fuel standard (RFS).
The ambitious but achievable advanced biofuel volumes outlined in today’s proposal are an important step toward restoring the investment climate for advanced biofuels, and to providing market confidence for algae-based and other advanced biofuels in the years to come. EPA’s November 2013 RFS proposal to dramatically lower advanced biofuel volumes was a mistake that, combined with ongoing delays in approving new fuel pathways, crippled investment in advanced biofuels over the past 18 months. The advanced biofuel volumes proposed today are a signal to advanced biofuel investors that they can begin again to invest boldly in these vital technologies.
To achieve the full energy security, economic development and greenhouse gas potential of advanced biofuels, however, EPA must leave no doubt in its final rule for 2015 and 2016 and in future year rules that advanced biofuel developers will have a market for their fuel by setting volumes that take the advanced biofuels industry beyond today’s market constraints – including the so-called “blend wall” – and into a new era of fuel choice for all Americans.
By converting industrial sources of CO2 to advanced biofuels, algae and similar carbon-eating micro-organisms offer an unprecedented opportunity to transform CO2 emissions from environmental challenge to economic opportunity. It’s time that federal policy fully embraced this opportunity. Today’s proposal offers an important step in this direction.