Renewable Energy Helping Country and Boosting Rural Economy, CEO Says | Agriculture News

The CEO of Growth Energy, the country’s largest ethanol trade association, says her industry provides a critical path to meeting climate goals by working in partnership with farmers.

Emily Skor, whose association represents production plants and trading partners, met with the United States House of Agriculture subcommittee on commodity trading and credit on the role of renewable energies in the rural economy. The hearing was led by President Antonio Delgado, D-NY, and Ranking Member Michelle Fischbach, R-MN. Other members of the subcommittee include representatives Cindy Axne and Randy Feenstra from Iowa, Michael Cloud from Texas and Angie Craig from Minnesota.

“Ethanol production has long been an economic engine for our rural economies,” Skor said. “The United States is home to 210 biorefineries in 27 states that have the capacity to produce more than 17 billion gallons of low-carbon renewable fuel. Our industry is the second-largest customer for US corn growers and will purchase nearly $ 30 billion worth of corn this year to produce ethanol and an expanded line of bio-based products, such as high-protein animal feed, renewable chemicals and corn oil. “

Renewable fuels like ethanol remain the most affordable and abundant low-carbon fuel source on the planet and are essential to meeting carbon reduction targets today, she said. . Recent research shows that there is no path to net zero emissions by 2050 without biofuels. Even taking into account the expected growth of electric vehicles, the Energy Information Administration says the vast majority of cars on the road through 2050 will run on liquid fuels, the CEO said.

“Higher blends of low carbon ethanol can be used in our current fleet to accelerate our transition to a 100% renewable energy future,” she said. “Simply put, America cannot decarbonize the transportation sector without local biofuels. To meet the growing demand for renewable energy, we must first have a strong and prosperous rural economy and biofuel industry.

At a minimum, this means Joe Biden’s administration and Congress must ensure that biofuels are part of the transport mix now and into the future. This can be achieved through:

• A strong standard on renewable fuels;

• Accelerating nationwide use of higher blends like E15;

• Precise modeling of ethanol carbon to better reflect the most recent data, sustainable agricultural innovations and carbon intensity reductions in our biorefineries; and

• Incentives that provide producers with strong political signals to further reduce our carbon intensity and expand their activities into new transportation markets.

A strong RFS will reduce carbon emissions and provide a stable market for American grains, she said.

“The annual blending requirements are woefully delayed, and in recent weeks worrying reports in the media indicate that the Environmental Protection Agency may be turning its back on a larger blending of biofuels,” she said. “It is essential for ethanol producers and suppliers that the EPA immediately offer 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels for 2021 and 2022.”

The Biden administration cannot meet its two climate goals while canceling low-carbon biofuel blending requirements, she said, and the committee can help get that message across to the administration.

“We appreciate that the committee included $ 1 billion in the Build Back Better Act to allow drivers to access more low carbon, higher ethanol blends. This provision builds on the successful biofuels infrastructure programs of the US Department of Agriculture under the last two administrations. These investments complement a nationwide move towards a 15% ethanol blend, which would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking nearly 4 million vehicles off the road each year ” , Skor said.

It would also create more than 182,000 additional jobs and save consumers $ 12.2 billion in fuel costs per year. To help realize these benefits, Congress must pass Craig’s year-round fuel selection law to restore summer sales of E15, Skor said.

“Through continuous innovation, US ethanol producers and farmers are using fewer inputs and improving their efficiency, at the plant and on the farm,” Skor said. We are delighted to see voluntary incentives in the Build Back Better Act that would further reduce the carbon intensity of agriculture, which accounts for 50-65% of our lifecycle emissions. As biofuel producers grasp the value of low-carbon farming practices, farmers would also have the opportunity to benefit in the form of higher prices for their commodities.

“The legislation also contains several important incentives to help ethanol producers further reduce the carbon intensity of their fuel and explore new markets. These provisions, along with some recommended changes, are described in detail in my written testimony. In conclusion, with the right political environment, our industry can continue to decarbonize our transportation sector, from passenger vehicles to our aviation fleet.

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