DES MOINES, Iowa – Yesterday, the Iowa Department of Agriculture put money where its message is on expanding access to renewable fuels.
In a press conference Monday, Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey announced $250,000 in cost-share money headed to 2 Iowa fueling sites which will sell higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel.
The money is part of an anti-pollution fund from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and is split evenly between a site in Mount Ayr in southern Iowa and another site at Inwood in northwest Iowa. The infrastructure projects at those two sites will cost around $500,000 each.
The announcement comes as part of a pilot program to expand access to higher blends of renewable fuels, and Northey says there’s more than one way to accomplish that goal.
“I think we do see different pieces,” he says. “We already invest in state dollars in providing some cost-share for other ethanol and biodiesel infrastructure projects; we pay part of the cost. We see the U.S. Department of Agriculture doing some things that will pay some cost-share towards these higher blending stations as well. We think this does even more than just build two stations in Iowa.”
Beyond erecting the two fueling stations, the pilot program, called “Fueling Our Future,” will also incorporate Iowa State University research on what customers think of renewable fuels. Northey says expanding renewables infrastructure isn’t much good if there aren’t any customers.
“This is an opportunity to understand,” says Northey. “Iowa State will participate in studying what consumers’ attitudes are towards higher blends, and why they might choose higher blends. So we hope that not only will some more get sold, [but also] we’ll learn how that can grow in the future.”
The full press release is reproduced below:
“FUELING OUR FUTURE” FUNDS AWARDED TO STATIONS IN INWOOD AND MOUNT AYR
Projects will focus on offering higher blends of renewable fuels
(DES MOINES) – Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced the Oak Street Station in Inwood, Iowa, and Farmers Cooperative in Mount Ayr, Iowa, have been selected as recipients of funds through the “Fueling Our Future” pilot program. Each project will receive $125,000 in cost share funding to support the increased usage of higher blends of both ethanol and biodiesel.
“When we announced the ‘Fueling Our Future’ initiative in October 2013, we set a goal of expanding access to higher blends of ethanol,” Branstad said. “I’m pleased today to be able to announce the two sites that have been selected, which will help grow the local economy and expand access to ethanol and biodiesel.”
Farmers Cooperative plans to build a new fueling site at its Country Store in Mount Ayr to offer E10, registered E15, E30, and E85 and biodiesel blends of B5, B10, B20 and B99. The project was also selected to receive $100,000 through the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure program. The total cost of the project is $577,559.
The Oak Street Station will build a new site in the northwest town of Inwood that will offer renewable fuels in five dispensers. E10, E15, E30 and E85 will be available for ethanol customers. Diesel customers will have access to B5 year-round and B99.9 will be offered to independent jobbers and for special use customers, such as tractor pullers and other blenders, during the summer months. The project is also eligible for funds through the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure program. The total cost of the project is $488,944.
“Governor Branstad and I have been strong proponents of renewable fuels. We recognize that Iowa’s success in renewable energy is tied to our abundant access to natural resources and our innovative producers who leverage them,” Reynolds said. “We are pleased to make today’s announcement and hope this will become a model for the nation to follow Iowa’s lead in adopting E-30 for increased consumer choice, cleaner air and better consumer access.”
Iowa received the $250,000 to support the Fueling Our Future pilot project from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) program to reduce particulate matter (PM-2.5) vehicle emissions by increasing the use of higher blends of bio-based fuels, specifically ethanol and biodiesel. Applicants were required to provide at least a 50 percent match to receive funding. The projects were selected by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Board.
Iowa State University will work closely with both retailers to evaluate consumer perceptions and the impact of increased assess to mid-level biofuels blending options, including impacts on improved air quality.
“Iowa has benefited tremendously from the growth of the renewable fuels industry and it is natural that we would take a leadership role in expanding access to these clean burning, domestically produced renewable fuels,” Northey said.
The Fueling Our Future program was a joint initiative of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa State University and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Board.
Governor Branstad currently is the Vice Chair of the Governors Biofuels Coalition, which aims to help increase consumer choice and diversify our nation’s transportation fuels through bipartisan engagement on a variety of policy issues, like supporting a robust Renewable Fuel Standard.