Iowa legislature renews biofuels infrastructure program funding

By Ron Kotrba | May 03, 2018

Iowa’s legislature voted May 2 to fund the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program another year. Senate File 2414, which includes $3 million in funding for RFIP out of the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund for fiscal year 2019, is headed to Gov. Kim Reynolds for signing.

The program provides retailers cost-share dollars to install blender pumps and other equipment to offer higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel.

“The program has proven itself a legislative success story, helping to increase availability of renewable fuels for Iowa consumers, driving economic growth and supporting the ag economy,” said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. The Iowa Department of Revenue reports that in 2017, for the second year in a row, more than half the diesel gallons sold in the state contained biodiesel. “This growth is promising and shows the program’s positive effect on our fuel supply, helping Iowa maintain its role as a top biodiesel-producing state in the nation,” Kimberley said. “Also, since the program began 2006, just over $30 million in state funding and a $5 million federal investment has helped spur an estimated $138.8 million in private investment. That’s an incredible return on investment of about four–to–one for Iowa tax payers.”

Grant Menke, policy director for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said, “RFIP is doing exactly what it was designed to do—giving Iowans a great return on their investment while expanding consumer choice at the pump for higher biofuel blends. Interest in the program remains at an all-time high, and yesterday’s action by the Iowa Legislature will help continue this momentum.”

During its third quarterly meeting of fiscal year 2018, the RFIP board awarded the remainder of all program funds to 15 projects, according to IRFA, and some retailers were turned down for the first time in the program’s history due to depletion of funds.

RFIP offers cost-share grants to Iowa retailers wishing to upgrade fueling infrastructure to offer biodiesel blends or ethanol blends such as E15 or E85. Reimbursement can be up to 70 percent of the installation costs, up to a maximum of $50,000 per project, with a five-year commitment to sell the biofuel blends. The RFIP is managed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

 

 
 
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