Amidst the bickering between the petroleum (and food) industry and the biofuel industry about this year’s biofuel volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally decided on its 2013 annual percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advancd biofuel and total renewable fuel.
2013 standard for cellulosic biofuel is at 6m ethanol-equivalent gallons, which, according to the EPA, reflects a reasonable representation of expected production based on consultation with the Energy Information Administration (EIA) as well as information from industry, public comments and EPA’s own assessment.
Volume requirements for advanced biofuel is at 2.75bn gallons, total renewable fuel at 16.55bn gallons, and biomass-based diesel at 1.28bn gallons (actual volume).
Compliance with the RFS is implemented through the use of tradable credits called Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), each of which corresponds to a gallon of renewable fuel produced in or imported into the US in a given year. The EPA said there will be sufficient RINs available in the market to enable compliance with the statutory volume requirements for advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel in 2013.
The EPA also extended the date of compliance to June 30, 2014.
In another related news, the EPA said it has issued a denial of two petitions for reconsideration of the 2013 biomass-based diesel standard (at 1.28bn gallons). The petitions were submitted in late November 2012 raising a number of issues including the impact of the 2012 drought and the issue of fraudulent RINs. The EPA denied the petitions as according to the agency, they each failed to meet the criteria for reconsideration under the Clean Air Act. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to set annual standards for the RFS program based on gasoline and diesel projections from the EIA.