“2020 was supposed to be our year.” That is what Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said to me on Thursday as part of the Trade Talk event at the 75th convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. She harkened back to a conversation we had in January during the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit. There were such high hopes for the industry to be turned around in 2020. Then COVID-19 hit, and everyone’s best-laid plans went spinning out of control.
However, the biofuels industry does not plan to sit around licking its wounds. They are all systems go to make 2021 the year that 2020 had promised to be. The first thing that has to be done is to outline the game plan for what they want to accomplish next year.
Audio: Full interview with Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor
To figure out what you want to do in 2021, you first must understand how the industry is ending in 2020. Emily Skor runs down some of the industry estimates on production and demand. She figures the loss of gallons produced will be in the billions and the loss of corn bushels processed will be in the hundreds of millions. She says that production has risen since the summer but is now stuck on a plateau.
Skor says that as we look to 2021, it appears there will be a new Biden Administration. She says there is some good news in this. The President-Elect campaigned on better environmental standards, and biofuels fit well into those plans. One thing that biofuels have is bipartisan support. That is not something that a lot of sectors have going for them.
Skor says that the industry has to be able to, “get back to the business of recovering demand.” She adds that the new administration is inheriting a backlog in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). She says the first thing that must happen is a rejection of remaining Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) that the Trump Administration started but hasn’t completed. A lot of the policy goals Growth Energy has, relates to the strength of the RFS and Renewable Volume Obligations, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still has not released for 2021. Normally, they would be finalizing the rules by this time of the year.
Skor finishes by talking about removing barriers to higher blends, and what biofuels can do for the environmental policy goals of a Biden Administration.
To learn more about Growth Energy and their work to support the biofuels industry, visit their website.