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Call for HEAL MI program participants
February 20, 2014

Employers: are you looking for an innovative employee benefits program?

The HEAL program helps employees make their homes more energy efficient – saving them money each month on their energy bills and ultimately reducing community-wide greenhouse gas emissions. Think of it as an extension of your workplace sustainability efforts.

Through HEAL, Clean Energy Coalition provides home energy audits to participating employees, helps them decide on what steps to take to improve their homes, and ensures that vetted contractors deliver high-quality work. The program includes employer-sponsored or third-party financing and also connects participants with any utility rebates that might apply.

After successfully piloting the HEAL program in 2013, Clean Energy Coalition is now looking for new employer partners that are interested in enhancing their employee benefit offerings or broadening their corporate sustainability programs. Contact us now to learn more.

TESTIMONIALS

“The assistance provided by Clean Energy Coalition was outstanding. They made the process so much easier. I would not have participated otherwise.” – Employee Participant, survey response

“HEAL is a great addition to our employee benefit offerings. Not only will it enable employees to better understand and improve their homes, but they will also have the opportunity to take steps to experience real savings each month.” – Paul Saginaw, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

Contact Information:

Rebecca Filbey
Program Supervisor
734.585.5720 x15
rebecca@cec-mi.org

Arch2030 – the 2030 challenge
February 20, 2014

In 2006, Architecture 2030, a non-profit organization working to rapidly transform the built environment, formally issued the 2030 Challenge. The challenge is a global call to curb emissions that identifies buildings as primary targets for reductions. The end goal of the challenge is for all new buildings and major renovations to be designed and built to be carbon neutral by 2030. It “allows up to 20% of the overall reduction to come from off-site renewable energy.”

According to Architecture 2030, we need to significantly reduce total global energy consumption and emissions in order to reverse the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to a “safe” long-term level of 350 parts per million (ppm). The current level is around 398 ppm and 450 ppm represents the point after which climate change may be irreversible.

The 2030 Challenge

“The 2030 Challenge sets achievable and affordable targets to dramatically reduce the energy consumption of the Building Sector by 2030 and beyond.”

Source ©2010 2030 Inc. / Architecture 2030. All Rights Reserved.

*Using no fossil fuel GHG-emitting energy to operate.

Adopters of the 2030 Challenge agree to track their energy use and implement reductions below a 2003 baseline, starting at 60% today and increasing to carbon neutral or 100% reduction by 2030. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager online tool provides an easy platform for facility managers to capture their actual utility usage and track their progress.

One auxiliary objective of this call to action is the 2030 Challenge for Planning. Beyond efforts to reduce energy consumption of buildings, a reduction in water consumption and CO2 emissions from transportation was incorporated into the original challenge. Also, acknowledging the difficulties faced by existing buildings expecting minimal capital investment before 2030, more appropriate targets were set for them — a 10% reduction below the regional average for building energy, water consumption, and CO2 from auto and freight by 2015. This standard will increase to 20% in 2020, 35% in 2025, and 50% in 2030.

 

The 2030 Challenge for Planning: Existing Buildings

 

While these targets may appear arbitrary, they are grounded in “A Historic Opportunity” defined by Architecture 2030 and are based on the already expected changes in the built environment (demolition, renovation, new construction) to deal with aging facilities and accommodate new square footage. Both are new major asset investments and thus every construction project provides the opportunity to become a high performance (low emissions) facility. Many design, business and industry leaders are already accepting the challenge, learning through experience and sharing results.

In an effort to accelerate the inclusion of energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements in Southeast Michigan, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Huron Valley chapter is challenging buildings in the area to an energy saving competition — A2 Kilowatt Crackdown 2014.

The A2 Kilowatt Crackdown aims to encourage efficient practices in buildings and to instill a spirit of friendly competition among the area’s building owners and operators. Throughout the year, building owner + energy advisor teams will measure, track and report monthly energy consumption using the EPA’s Portfolio Manager energy use tracking tool. Monthly lunch events will be held to share case studies, best practices and strategies.

A pilot group of AIA Huron Valley members have been tracking 10 buildings in the area for the last year. Pilot members include Jan Culbertson, AIA, Sharon Sargo and Lissa Spitz, A3C Collaborative Architecture; John Beeson, AIA, Catalyst Partners; Bonnie Bona, AIA, Clean Energy Coalition; Philip Proefrock, AIA CoStudio Architects, Mark Melchi, AIA, MAV Development, Margaret E. Matta, AIA; Seth Penchansky, AIA and Dan Whisler, AIA, Penchansky-Whisler Architects; and Jhana Frederiksen, Associate AIA, Quinn Evans Architects. The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority is a sponsor of the competition.

The competition is open to any building or tenant space responsible for at least one utility meter. Registration is free an open now through March 31, 2014. Find rules, prizes and online registration at www.a2kilowattcrackdown.org.

Contact Information

Bonnie Bona
Project Manager
734.585.5720 x12
bonnie@cec-mi.org

Grant writing to help secure funding
February 20, 2014

Most of us want to spend less on energy and use fewer fossil fuels and more renewable energy. Yet, few of us have the right resources to move forward to make this transition. Perhaps you need an experienced thought leader on energy issues to assist with the grant writing process? Clean Energy Coalition can help.

Your business may be eligible to apply for one of many federal, state or local government grants, direct loans, and loan guarantee programs in the clean energy field. Clean Energy Coalition can offer its turn-key grant writing services to help your business secure these funds.

In just six years, Clean Energy Coalition has secured more than $60 million in Midwest-focused clean energy projects, drawing from a variety of sources such as government grants, foundations and private contributions, including:

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • State of Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth
  • State of Michigan Department of Transportation
  • Michigan Public Service Commission
  • State of Ohio Local Government Innovation Fund
  • Private foundations

Grant writing for public and nonprofit agencies, and select private entities, is one of our core competencies. Our professional staff provide turn-key grant writing services including grant source research, program design, needs assessment, budgeting and final submission packages.

To help you meet grant program goals, requirements, and deadlines, we also provide a range of program management services, including project design and implementation.

Contact Clean Energy Coalition today to assess your clean energy funding strategy and need for turn-key grant writing services.

Contact Information

Matt Sandstrom
Business Development Manager
734.585.5720 x 27
matt@cec-mi.org

Clean Cities Question of the Month-Feb 2014
February 19, 2014

Question of the Month: What driver behaviors can help reduce petroleum consumption?

Answer: There are many simple changes fleet managers and individual drivers can adopt to improve vehicle efficiency, decrease fuel consumption, save money, and reduce emissions. In fact, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that improved driving behavior can reduce fuel consumption by an average of 10% and up to 20% for aggressive drivers; see the final report athttp://www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/vsa/pdfs/50836.pdf. Below are strategies fleet managers and individuals may consider to improve fuel efficiency.

Fuel Conservation Techniques for Drivers

Both fleets and individual drivers can save fuel by implementing the following practices:

  • Reducing Speeding: Though different vehicles reach optimal fuel economy at different speeds, fuel efficiency generally decreases significantly at speeds above 50 miles per hour. This is because at high speeds, more fuel is needed to overcome resistance from aerodynamics and tire rolling. The fuel economy benefit of reducing your speed is 7% to 14%. The FuelEconomy.gov “What is the speed penalty for my vehicle?” (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.jsp) tool allows drivers to calculate the fuel economy reduction for their specific vehicle and typical driving behavior.
  • Conservative Driving: Gradual braking and accelerating can improve a vehicle’s fuel economy by 33% on highways and by 5% on city roads. Driving conservatively not only helps conserve fuel and save money, but it is also a safe practice for drivers.
  • Combining Trips: Using one trip for multiple purposes, rather than making multiple trips, can save fuel, time, and money by reducing driving distance and avoiding unnecessary cold starts. When the engine is cold, starting a vehicle can use twice as much fuel.
  • Reducing Load: By offloading unneeded items from the vehicle, drivers can reduce the amount of fuel consumed by up to 2% for each 100 pounds.
  • Vehicle Maintenance: Proper and regular vehicle maintenance can improve fuel economy by 40%. This includes keeping the engine properly tuned, maintaining proper tire inflation, and using the recommended grade of oil. For more information on vehicle maintenance techniques used to conserve fuel, see the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Vehicle Maintenance to Conserve Fuel page (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/conserve/vehicle_maintenance.html).

 

Fuel Conservation Strategies for Fleet Managers

Fleet managers can adopt the following fuel conservation strategies to maximize their fleet’s fuel efficiency:

  • Train Drivers: Driver training courses can teach new and veteran fleet drivers basic fuel conservation techniques (see the above Fuel Conservation Techniques for Drivers section) that they can use to improve their individual fuel economy. These courses teach ways to minimize the negative impacts of idling, speeding, aggressive or frequent accelerating or breaking, improper shifting, and taking unnecessarily long routes. National Clean Fleets Partner Coca-Cola has a successful “eco-driver” training program:http://www1.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/coca-cola.html. 
  • Employ Advanced Technologies: Technologies, such as telematics systems, can greatly increase efficiency and fuel savings in fleets. These tools allow fleet managers to:

o   Give Feedback: Fleet managers can use fuel-tracking devices or GPS-based telematics systems to track fuel economy, idle time, vehicle routes, and driver performance to provide drivers with feedback on how to improve. Some systems even provide drivers with instantaneous alerts when they are exhibiting inefficient driving behaviors, such as speeding. Some fleets pair drivers with coaches to critique driver behaviors. Driver feedback may improve fuel economy by 3% to 10%.

o   Optimize Routes: Route optimization technologies help drivers plan routes that can reduce mileage, stops, acceleration events, number of vehicles needed, and time spent in traffic. Fleet managers can view data for individual drivers or for the entire fleet to view their progress and target areas of improvement. 

  • Implement Policies: Corporate policies that require drivers to participate in training courses, meet fuel-efficiency targets, comply with a maximum speed limit, and set goals can reduce emissions and improve driving efficiency.
  • Use Fleet Fueling Cards: Fleets that use fueling cards can monitor, control, track, and manage fuel and maintenance costs based on card transactions. One example is the WEX (formerly Wright Express) card (http://www.wexinc.com/).

More information on adjusting driver behavior to improve fuel efficiency can be found on the AFDC Efficient Driving Behaviors to Conserve Fuel page (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/conserve/driving_behavior.html) and on FuelEconomy.gov (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/drive.shtml).

For more information contact:
Aaron Champion
Project Manager and Clean Cities Coordinator – Detroit
734.585.5720 x23
aaron@cec-mi.org

Mark Rabinsky
Project Manager and Clean Cities Coordinator – Ann Arbor
734.585.5720 x24
mark@cec-mi.org

Federal Tax Credit Update
January 23, 2014

On December 31, 2013, a number of federal tax incentives expired, including:

  • Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit
  • Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit
  • Alternative Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credit
  • Biodiesel Income Tax Credit
  • Biodiesel Mixture Excise Tax Credit
  • Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credits
  • Second Generation Plant Depreciation Deduction Allowance

While tax incentives have been extended retroactively after their expiration date in the past, Congress has not passed legislation to do so.

Full descriptions of these incentives can be found on the AFDC Federal Laws and Incentives page (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/laws/US). The descriptions will remain posted there until the federal tax filing deadline.

For more information on these tax credits and incentives or others contact:

Matt Sandstrom
Business Development Manager
734-585-5720 x 27
matt@cec-mi.org

Southeast Michigan dealer group improves energy efficiency and sales!
January 22, 2014

One of Southeast Michigan’s premier auto dealerships, LaFontaine Chevrolet, says it expects to see continued interest in electric vehicles. Just 10 miles from Ann Arbor, LaFontaine Chevrolet sits in Dexter, Michigan a town of less than 5,000 residents. The dealership sold more than 75 Chevrolet Volts in 2013 and attributes its sales success to an active local buying market and a residential electric vehicle supply equipment rebate program from DTE Energy, which expired earlier this year. The dealership’s commitment to exceptional customer service and sustainable facility improvements isn’t hurting sales either.

At LaFontaine Chevrolet, the Volt seems custom built for its new 30,000+ square foot energy efficient, LEED Silver facility. LaFontaine makes sure its customers and staff members understand the group’s commitment to sustainability. As the first LEED Silver Chevrolet dealership in the U.S., the dealership operates much like the Chevy Volt — saving energy while improving performance. A spokesperson for the dealership estimates the new facility is roughly 30% more energy efficient than a traditional dealership facility.

“We walk all of our customers through the facility and show them what we’ve done here — they like to see we’re committed to reducing our impact,” says sales associate Bryan Sorenson. It seems to be working. LaFontaine Chevrolet is following the playbook from the company’s Buick store in Highland, Michigan. Since the Buick store built its new LEED Gold facility in 2010, the dealership won GM’s prestigious “Dealer of the Year Award” all three years since it opened, which measures dealers on sales, service and facility quality. Last year, it won the #1 Buick store in the U.S., a tremendous achievement by all measures.

Completed in 2012, the dealer facility includes the following investments in effort to reduce energy and environmental impact:

  • An automated tracking board that displays the facility’s kW use
  • Skylights throughout the facility to make the most of natural light, including Solar-powered, GPS-based skylights (Ciralights) that track the sun
  • A car-wash that reuses 80 percent of its water supply
  • A rainwater retention pond for landscaping
  • An energy management system that turns off lights based on daylighting levels, and can manage the building’s lights remotely with a smart device
  • 90+ efficient HVAC system
  • R-40 insulation on the roof
  • A reflective white roof that minimizes air conditioning requirements in summer
ROUSH CleanTech continues rapid growth
January 22, 2014

ROUSH CleanTech, an active member of 30 Clean Cities Coalitions, has grown from six to 80 employees in the past three years. Jack Roush, of Roush Enterprises, opened ROUSH CleanTech in 2010 to specialize in alternative fuel vehicles.

The rapid growth of Michigan-based ROUSH CleanTech has contributed to many corporate fleets adopting vehicles fueled by clean burning, domestically produced propane autogas. For the 4,000 propane autogas units sold in 2013, about 140 million gallons of gasoline and diesel will be displaced over the lifetime of those vehicles. Plus, the company creates a new job at its headquarters or within its supply chain for every 100 units sold.

“ROUSH CleanTech delivers clean and domestically produced fueling options that help companies across the country meet sustainability goals, combat fuel costs and reduce dependence on foreign oil,” says Todd Mouw, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing.

Not only does ROUSH CleanTech specialize in developing clean products, the company’s operations are also environmentally conscious. ROUSH CleanTech has reduced its waste at a 3:1 rate by using Energy Star appliances and trash compacting. And the 65,000 square foot facility was built with clean building materials, such as recycled carpet and furniture, and low volatile organic compound paints and adhesives.

ROUSH CleanTech currently produces propane autogas fuel systems for light- and medium- duty Ford commercial vehicles, Type A Micro Bird and Type C Blue Bird school buses. For 2014, the company plans to launch propane autogas powered Ford Transit vans and wagons.

Did you know? Creative Funding for Cleantech
January 22, 2014

Growth in cleantech has long been dominated by traditional funding mechanisms–the industry has relied heavily on federal grants and tax incentives to spur economic engagement. The sector is now at a tipping point to meet increasing demands for large scale market penetration and cost reductions.

Instituting new, creative financing mechanisms is critical to meet market needs and spur innovation in cleantech solutions. Three unique funding options are currently being deployed to meet specific challenges in the cleantech sphere. These include Green Revolving Funds (GRFs), Green Bonds, and Solar Securitization.

1. Green Revolving Fund (GRF)
Educational institutions are increasingly faced with budget cuts and rising energy costs. As a result, there is a real need for energy efficiency upgrades to lower operating expenditures; however, institutions find it difficult to finance upgrades given the capital intensiveness of these projects. Green revolving funds (GRF) provide a unique solution. A GRF is an internal investment vehicle used to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainability projects and programs that generate cost-savings. The savings are tracked and used to replenish the fund for the next round of green investments. This creates a sustainable funding cycle while also decreasing the institution’s carbon footprint.

GRFs can finance a multitude of projects; however they typically target energy, water, and waste reduction due to their potential cost savings. Projects have included lighting upgrades, boiler replacements, water pipe insulation, low-flow toilets, building envelope upgrades, solar panels, and more.

The ability of GRFs to track cost savings and measure return on investment is a critical component to their success. A case example is Western Michigan University, a higher educational institution, that established a Quasi GRF in 1980. WMU’s Quasi GRF recaptures money from cost-savings, similar to a typical GRF, but it also sources capital from broader utilities, maintenance and other budgets as necessary. The university reports its Quasi-Revolving Fund has achieved a 47 percent return on investment since it was established.

2. Green Bond
In 2008, the Green Bond concept was developed by the World Bank in partnership with Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) to assist in the growing global demand for legitimate and diversified investment in climate-related opportunities. The Green Bond is a triple-A rated investment vehicle which raises funds from fixed income investors for eligible projects that address the climate challenge, including cleantech solutions.

The Green Bond provides investors the opportunity to invest in climate solutions through a tool with a credit quality the same as any other World Bank bonds. In addition, repayment of the bond is not linked to the credit or performance of the projects, and investors do not assume the specific project risk. The Green Bond allows for industry engagement in sustainable projects and technologies, helping investors understand challenges and diversify risk. Through the World Bank’s due diligence process, investors are guaranteed a high degree of transparency and reporting of Green Bond projects.

Since 2008, the World Bank has issued approximately USD 4 billion in Green Bonds. Eligible projects include a wide range of mitigation and adaptation solutions including solar and wind installations, efficiency in transportation services such as fuel switching and mass transport, as well as sustainable forest management and avoided deforestation.

3. Solar Securitization
Solar is one of the fastest growing sectors within the cleantech industry. In fact, the solar industry is growing so fast that companies and developers are faced with a lack of affordable financing to continue growth in the industry. Solar securitization is seen as a potential solution to finance and meet industry growth.

Solar securitization works by pooling contractual debt to sell to investors. In the solar industry, solar companies sell leases or power purchase agreements to home and business owners, who pay for the solar electricity from their rooftop solar panels but do not own the equipment. Those contracts run up to 20 years. Solar asset-backed securities are sold to investors by pooling these energy payments as contractual debt. Energy payments are highly predictable, therefore giving an expectation of uninterrupted payments and less financial risk for investors.

Solar securitization is already taking off. In November 2013, SolarCity, a leading public company in full-service solar power systems, announced an offering of solar securities to investors. SolarCity offered $54 million of solar backed notes that offer a 4.8% rate of return and mature in 2026. Standard & Poor’s gave the notes a rating of BBB+. SolarCity was pleased by investors’ interest, expecting future offerings to range from $100 million to $200 million.

This was a first step of many who will join in solar asset-backed securities to promote industry growth and make the installation of solar energy systems faster, easier and cheaper.

If you are interested in how these funding mechanisms or others might help your community or organization contact:

Matt Sandstrom
Business Development Manager
734-585-5720 x27
matt@cec-mi.org

Spreading the word to become Solar Ready
January 22, 2014

Technology improvements and wide spread adoption has transformed solar into a cost effective energy source in Michigan. While the technology and cost effectiveness of solar point towards large scale implementation there are still some challenges and barriers that exist within the development of solar programs and policies on a local and regional scale. In an effort to support local communities and agencies to become solar ready, Clean Energy Coalition in partnership with the Michigan Energy Office developed the Solar Ready Guidebook outlining the ten steps for communities to become Solar Ready.

On Thursday, January 23 from 8:30 to 12:30 at Lathrup Village Community Room, Clean Energy Coalition program supervisor Heather Seyfarth will be presenting at the Solar Powering Community Workshop. This interactive workshop, presented by the SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership, will provide actionable information on creating a local-level solar program and policies in the Southeastern Michigan region. Heather will be presenting on the ten steps to “Become a Solar Ready Community”. To get a sneak preview, click here to download a copy of the Solar Ready Guidebook. If you miss this week’s presentation, Heather will also be presenting on January 30th at the Michigan Township’s Association Conference in Traverse City.

For more information on solar programs in Michigan or how to become a Solar Ready Community contact:

Heather Seyfarth, AICP
Program Supervisor
734.585.5720 x21
heather@cec-mi.org

Clean Cities Question of the Month
January 21, 2014

Question of the Month: What is the current status of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and how do the new 2014 proposed requirements differ from previous years’?

Answer: The national RFS program was developed to increase the volume of renewable fuel blended into transportation fuels. As required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized RFS1 program regulations, which became effective on Sept. 1, 2007. The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 increased and expanded this standard through RFS2, mandating that by 2022, 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended into transportation fuels. Though EISA set final volume requirements, EPA must determine renewable fuel percentage values annually to meet the requirements. Fuels are broken down as follows:

Total renewable fuel: The total amount of renewable fuel required to be blended into the fuel supply each year, which includes conventional and advanced biofuels (defined below). Conventional biofuel volume requirements are simply the total renewable fuel volume requirements minus the advanced biofuel volume requirements. While EISA specified volume requirements for most categories through 2022, the statute allows EPA to reduce these volumes under certain conditions (see below for further discussion). Each renewable fuel category is described below.

  • Conventional biofuel: Any fuel derived from approved sources of renewable biomass that reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 20% from baseline petroleum GHG emissions. Conventional biofuels are generally produced from starch-based feedstocks (e.g., corn, sorghum, wheat).
  • Advanced biofuel: Any fuel derived from approved renewable biomass, excluding corn starch-based ethanol. Biomass-based diesel and cellulosic biofuel volume requirements fall under this overarching advanced biofuel category. Note that remaining advanced biofuel volume requirements not met by cellulosic and biomass-based diesel can be met with other advanced biofuels, and cellulosic biofuel and biomass-based diesel volumes that exceed their volume requirements also may be used to meet the advanced biofuel quota. Other advanced biofuels may include sugarcane-based fuels, renewable diesel co-processed with petroleum, and other biofuels that may exist in the future. Advanced biofuels must reduce GHG emissions by at least 50% from baseline petroleum GHG emissions.
    • Cellulosic biofuel: Any fuel derived from cellulose, hemicellulose, or lignin. These fuels must reduce GHG emissions by at least 60% from baseline petroleum GHG emissions.
    • Biomass-based diesel: A diesel fuel substitute made from renewable feedstocks, including biodiesel and nonester renewable diesel (diesel produced from animal- and plant-based fats, oils, and greases). It cannot be co-processed with petroleum; however, those fuels fall under the general advanced biofuels category. Biomass-based diesel must reduce GHG emissions by at least 50% from baseline petroleum GHG emissions.

For a list of fuel pathways that qualify under each renewable fuel category, see Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 80.1100-80.1167.

Obligated Parties
Any party that produces gasoline or petroleum diesel for use as transportation fuel in the United States, including refiners, importers, and blenders (other than oxygenate blenders), is considered an obligated party under the RFS program. Each year, EPA determines the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) for obligated parties. The RVO is calculated as a percentage, by dividing the amount of renewable fuel (gallons) required by the RFS2 for a given year by the amount of transportation fuel expected to be used during that year.

Volume Requirements and Percentage Standards
While EISA specified most volume requirements through 2022, the law did not address the biomass-based diesel requirement beyond 2012 and left some flexibility on the cellulosic biofuel requirement. The statute also allows EPA to change requirements under certain conditions, including when (1) the projected production of cellulosic biofuel in any year is less than the volume specified in EISA or (2) conditions are met under the general waiver authority provided by the Clean Air Act.

In 2013, EPA requires obligated parties to meet the following volume requirements collectively. Also included are the associated RVO percentages.

Final Volume Requirements for 2013

Category

Volume

Percentage

Cellulosic biofuel

14 million gallons

0.008%

Biomass-based diesel

1.28 billion gallons

1.12%

Advanced biofuel

2.75 billion gallons

1.60%

Total renewable fuel

16.55 billion gallons

9.63%

On Nov. 15, 2013, EPA published a proposed rule to establish new volume requirements and associated percentage standards for 2014. For the first time, EPA is requesting comments on a range of volumes for each renewable fuel category to determine a final requirement (see table below). Also for the first time, the proposed total renewable fuel volume requirement is lower than statutory levels mandated in EISA to resolve compliance concerns related to the ethanol consumption “blend wall” (discussed below) and renewable fuel production constraints. The table below outlines the proposed new volume requirements and the associated RVO percentages.

Proposed Volume Requirements for 2014

Category

Volume

Percentage

Range

Cellulosic biofuel

17 million gallons

0.010%

8–30 million gallons

Biomass-based diesel

1.28 billion gallons

1.16%

1.28 billion gallons

Advanced biofuel

2.20 billion gallons

1.33%

2–2.51 billion gallons

Total renewable fuel

15.21 billion gallons

9.20%

15–15.52 billion gallons

 

Ethanol Blend Wall
The ethanol “blend wall” refers to the difficulty of incorporating an increasing amount of ethanol into the transportation fuel supply at percentages exceeding 10%. Almost all gasoline sold in the United States is E10 (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline). While blends as high as E15 (15% ethanol, 85% gasoline) can be used in some conventional vehicles, these blends are difficult to market on a widespread basis because they can be used only in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) and model year 2001 and newer vehicles due to equipment compatibility issues. Additionally, “E85” (51%–83% ethanol blended with gasoline) and other mid-level ethanol blends can be used only in FFVs. EPA has proposed the lower advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel volume requirements above for 2014 due to the anticipated inability of the market to supply the Congressionally mandated volume of renewable fuels to consumers in 2014.

In conjunction with the 2014 volume requirements and percentage standards, EPA is also considering a joint petition from the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, as well as individual petitions from several refining companies, requesting a partial waiver of the 2014 applicable volumes under RFS2. EPA is collecting comments on both issues through Jan. 28, 2014.

The proposed rule and EPA fact sheet can be accessed at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-11-29/pdf/2013-28155.pdf and http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/documents/420f13048.pdf, respectively.

Additional information can be found on the EPA RFS2 website and Alternative Fuels Data Center RFS Program website.

For more information contact:
Aaron Champion
Project Manager and Clean Cities Coordinator – Detroit
734.585.5720 x23
aaron@cec-mi.org

Mark Rabinsky
Project Manager and Clean Cities Coordinator – Ann Arbor
734.585.5720 x24
mark@cec-mi.org


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