Fueling America’s Future

FROM THE JANUARY ISSUE: Sanders, Growth Energy's new chairman, calls for continued E15 adoption and expansion.
By Dan Sanders | December 18, 2019

When my father and I decided to build Front Range Energy in Windsor, Colorado, we were inspired by the incredible opportunities offered by biofuels production. We wanted to create something special that would serve as a clean energy hub for the Rocky Mountains, generate high-quality animal feed for Colorado livestock, and deliver higher-octane biofuel to motorists across the region.

It didn’t happen right away. The tragedy on 9/11 shocked the world, but it also shocked the credit markets. New business start-ups struggled to find investment capital, and ours was no exception. But the attacks only reinforced our commitment to securing U.S. energy independence, and we persevered. By 2006, our state-of-the-art 40 MMgy dry-mill biofuel plant was producing several products, including American ethanol fuel.

Since then, that drive for U.S. energy innovation has remained at the heart of our mission at Front Range, which is why I was proud to join Growth Energy more than 10 years ago. From farmer-owned cooperatives to those of us operating outside the Midwest, Growth Energy brings a diversity of voices and experiences under one voice to break down barriers to new markets at home and abroad. We’re doing the heavy lifting to grow E15 availability, drive consumer awareness and secure a pro-biofuels legislative and regulatory environment.

Today, a unified voice is more important than ever, and I’m honored to help lead the charge as Growth Energy’s newest chairman. Together, we will build on the tremendous success of our decade-long battle that culminated in this summer’s federal approval for year-round sales of E15. And we will capitalize on the lessons we’ve learned in U.S. markets to fuel motorists around the world.

Some of our battle lines have already been drawn. The U.S. EPA’s abuse of small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard destroyed the market for more than 4 billion gallons of biofuel over three years. And while we’ve made major inroads toward restoring integrity to the RFS, our critics in the fossil fuel industry remain undaunted in their quest to shut off new markets for ethanol and spread misinformation about 21st century biofuels.

That’s why we must continue to build on our rural alliance and equip the employees, families and neighbors of America’s biofuel supply chain with the tools and resources they need to share the good news about ethanol. Whether it’s about emissions, infrastructure, exports, or market access, there’s no argument we cannot win because the facts are on our side.

The ethanol we’re producing today represents the world’s best tool for decarbonizing the transportation sector while protecting healthy air for motorists and their families. It lifts rural communities, saves consumers money at the pump and continues to drive U.S. energy security.

The biofuel industry is the only industry that can offer motorists a clean, homegrown alternative that improves engine performance while reducing fuel costs. We know that the path to higher blends is incumbent on the absolute success of E15, which is why we are working with the nation’s top retailers to provide our expertise for adopting the fuel.

But to ensure all drivers can access better options, we must continue to secure valuable alliances, fend off oil industry attacks, and expand our work with retailers to offer E15 pumps at a pace never seen before.

We have the facts. We have the octane. And we are positioned to fuel America’s future.

Author: Dan Sanders
Chairman of the Board, Growth Energy
Vice President, Front Range Energy