Biofuel groups weigh in on Biden’s clean energy plan

By Erin Voegele | July 15, 2020

Presumptive democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden on July 14 released a proposal for rebuilding the economy that focuses on establishing American leadership in the clean energy industry.

As part of the plan, Biden aims for the U.S. to achieve a 100 percent clean energy economy and reach a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. The plan includes a proposal to make $1.7 trillion in federal investments over the next 10 years, leveraging additional private sector and state and local investments to total more than $5 trillion.

Various components of Biden’s overall presidential agenda target the low-cost production of renewable hydrogen, which can be manufactured from biogas; the development of new, sustainable fuels for use in aviation; and the use of agriculture-based advanced biofuels.

In a previously released plan for rural America, Biden specifically addressed the promotion of ethanol and next-generation biofuels, noting he believes renewable fuels are vital to the future of rural America—and the climate, and stressing that investing in next generation biofuels would be a top priority for his administration.

Several representatives of the biofuels industry have spoken out on Biden’s clean energy goals and are stressing the role biobased fuels can play in meeting emissions reduction goals.

Growth Energy has spoken out in appreciation of Biden’s recognition of the importance of renewable fuels to rural America. “We appreciate the Biden campaign’s recognition that ‘renewable fuels are vital to the future of rural America – and the climate,’ and that agriculture is a ‘key part of the solution to climate change,’” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “Biofuels can help us reduce emissions today, and will play an important role in decarbonizing the transportation, industrial and agricultural sectors going forward. Growth Energy will continue to be a willing partner for any policymaker looking to meet ambitious clean energy policy goals. We are grateful to Vice President Biden for joining us at one of our member plants this past year and taking the time to understand the important role of biofuels both in terms of our climate goals and our rural economies.”

The American Coalition for Ethanol is urging the Biden and others seeking elected office to consider using a framework for a Midwest clean fuels policy as a blueprint for how to reduce emissions. “Earlier this year ACE joined with many other stakeholders to publish a blueprint for how to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and spur economic growth in a way that makes sense for rural America,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE. “While this blueprint was intended to help governors and state legislators properly craft new clean fuel policies and create valuable carbon markets for farmers and biofuel producers, we are encouraged by the fact that the House Select Committee on Climate Crisis took a page from our report through their recommendation that Congress adopt a technology-neutral Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) which would reward farmers and biofuel producers for using climate-smart practices. As presidential candidates and others seeking elected office rollout their ideas to address climate change, we urge them to consider our plan as an economically meaningful solution to reduce GHGs.”

The Advanced Biofuels Association called on Biden to acknowledge the role liquid fuels pay in several sectors, including marine and aviation transportation. “Vice President Biden’s climate plan places a heavy emphasis on the transportation sector, yet fails to offer any solutions for the parts of the transportation economy where carbon emissions reductions will be the hardest—namely, the heavy-duty, aviation, marine vessel, and heating oil sectors,” said Michael McAdams, president of the ABFA. “The forward-thinking climate plan recently released by House Democrats acknowledges the important role liquid transportation fuels will continue to play in these areas, so it is disappointing to see the Biden campaign miss the mark. The Advanced Biofuels Association looks forward to an ongoing dialogue with the campaign about the critical role that advanced biofuels can play in reducing emissions from the transportation sector as a whole, while aligning with VP Biden’s goals of encouraging American innovation and industry.”