Driving Demand in 2020 and Beyond

FROM THE MARCH ISSUE: Emily Skor highlights Growth Energy's collaboration with biofuels supporters to promote ethanol, expand use of E15 and develop new export markets.
By Emily Skor | February 19, 2020

Growth Energy recently concluded its 11th annual Executive Leadership Conference in Key Biscayne, Florida. It’s an opportunity for leaders from every part of the biofuel supply chain to come together and take stock of where we’ve been and where we’re going.

From historic floods to hostile regulators, over the past 12 months we met and overcame some of the toughest challenges this industry has ever faced. We secured year-round sales of E15, forged new retail partnerships to accelerate E15 adoption, and reached new drivers with the news of Unleaded88 through trusted experts like those at Gas Buddy. We rallied unprecedented opposition to refinery exemptions and got the U.S. EPA to finally start accounting for small refinery exemptions in rulemakings going forward. And I’m thrilled to report that Growth Energy and its members are moving faster and more aggressively than ever toward an exciting vision for 2020 and beyond.

Driving new demand is at the heart of our work, and we envision a future where markets are open, E15 (not E10) is the floor for domestic growth, consumer confidence in ethanol soars to new heights, and policymakers globally lean in on ethanol, embracing its performance, health and climate benefits.

To get there, we will continue to reshape markets and set a new standard in liquid fuels, where higher blends are the default choice for a low-carbon future. Fortunately, the strength of our coalition continues to grow, and a game-changing victory on year-round E15 is just the beginning.

For example, just a few months ago, we opened the nation’s fourth-largest gasoline market to E15. It didn’t happen overnight. Growth Energy spent five years working hand-in-hand with community leaders, retailers, farm advocates and biofuel supporters to update the state’s fuel regulations. Among those champions is Growth Energy member Western New York Energy, led by President and CEO Timothy Winters. Our friends at ECR Engines, New York Corn and Soybean, and Cumberland Farms chimed in, too, explaining to New York regulators why E15 is a win-win for engines and the environment.

Over time, this one market could generate demand for an additional 285 million gallons of ethanol annually—equal to more than 100 million bushels of corn. Best of all, it would open a pathway to retail expansion across New England.

On the West Coast, we’re making the same kind of long-term, sustained effort with regulators in California. There, Growth Energy and our industry partners are working directly with academics and regulators to develop the robust body of research and testing needed to help secure E15’s rightful role in a market that consumes more than 15 billion gallons of fuel each year.

That forward-looking vision is also driving our work in nations like China, India, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Brazil, where we are positioning ethanol as the foremost climate and human health solution available around the world. In today’s trade environment, the challenges we face are great, but the opportunities are even greater. That’s why, over just the past year, Growth Energy participated in 26 trade missions in eight countries; submitted comments to 11 foreign governments; hosted six foreign retail and technical workshops; and co-sponsored the first Global Ethanol Summit, which brought together more than 400 leaders from 60 nations.

These exchanges are absolutely critical as we encourage foreign leaders to take a fresh look at ethanol’s unique value as more than an additive—a true alternative to petroleum-based fuels.
Fortunately, we have a great story to tell, thanks to the incredible innovations achieved by U.S. ethanol producers. With each passing year, we are capturing new efficiencies and pushing our climate footprint down. It’s that progress that has allowed biofuels to generate more carbon credits than any source of fuel under programs like California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

Growth Energy is excited to tell this story, but we aren’t telling it alone. Our industry’s most important victories in 2019 were fueled by a growing coalition of biofuel supporters from all sides—Republican and Democrat, corn and soy, ethanol and biodiesel. Working together, we showed the world that we can and will stand united when our backs are against the wall. Now, we must put that spirit of collaboration and unity to work behind a new vision—one where ethanol is embraced as the fuel of the 21st century.


Author: Emily Skor
CEO, Growth Energy