Minnesota could be headed for higher biodiesel mandate

By Michael Shirek | August 03, 2007
Posted Aug. 10, 2007, at 10:38 a.m. CDT

"Minnesota has led the nation in unleashing a renewable energy revolution," Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Thursday at Farmfest, an annual event in Redwood County, Minn. "Other states are starting to catch on and it's time for us to continue to blaze the trail to a cleaner, more secure energy future. Increasing the level of biodiesel in diesel fuel means that more of our energy will come from farm fields rather than oil fields and that's a good thing."

And so begins Minnesota on its next step toward Pawlenty's vision of having 20 percent of the state's motor fuel coming from renewable sources. Minnesota is already ahead of much of the nation with its current B2 mandate and if Pawlenty and Minnesota state legislators are of like minds, that mandate would gradually increase to B20 by 2015.

Pawlenty's plan, announced Thursday, would call for a B5 mandate to go into effect by 2008. Pawlenty said that since the state already produces 67 MMgy-four times more biodiesel than it uses-that move shouldn't require much in terms of infrastructure development. The plan also calls for a B10 mandate by 2011, a B15 mandate by 2013 and a B20 mandate by 2015.

One hurdle in the way of the plan is quality control, as Minnesotans found out in the first winter of the B2 mandate. Pawlenty said quality control issues could best be addressed by requiring BQ9000 certification on all biodiesel sold in the state and by giving the Minnesota Department of Commerce authority to modify or lift blend requirements to address any concerns that arise.

For more information on Pawlenty's B20 by 2015 plan, visit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
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