More than two dozen representatives from the renewable natural gas (RNG) industry spoke at Wednesday’s public hearing in Michigan to provide feedback on 2020 biofuel volumes proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.
“The RNG Coalition is the RNG industry,” said David Cox, co-founder and director of operations for the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition), at the hearing. “We have built over 100 facilities that are turning waste into biofuel, and we are currently, today, moving our nation’s packages, our food and our freight.”
Comments from RNG stakeholders impressed the importance of the EPA’s setting a 2020 cellulosic biofuel volume of at least 650 million gallons to incorporate all RNG produced and available next year, including new volumes from more than 30 production sites currently being built and millions of stranded gallons as a result of small refinery exemptions (SREs) granted by the EPA.
“The 2020 [volume] must fully reflect the continued growth of the RNG industry as we have demonstrated, account for any carry over RINs and remove the uncertainty around the small refinery exemptions,” said Sheila Miller of Aria Energy, headquartered just down the highway from the hearing. “Policy and regulatory certainty is vital to allow companies like Aria to attract the capital investment required to continue developing RNG projects.”
“The RFS has been a great tool to help American small businesses like ours participate in recovering vast amounts of energy from our nation’s waste, turning a societal liability into an energy asset,” said Luke Morrow, president of Texas-based family company Morrow Renewables. “When [the EPA] refuse[s] to account for our actual growth rates, grants SREs that destroy almost 10 percent of our market without reallocation, and fails to account for carry forward volumes in the current RVO… many will lose all they have invested, and hard-working Americans will lose high-paying technical jobs.”
“Ameresco has invested approximately $80 million in our existing [sites], and our new facilities are requiring approximately $120 million in investment,” noted Jeff Stander, senior project developer for Massachusetts-based Ameresco. “We are proud to promote the success and advances of RNG, and we intend to continue supporting this exciting sustainable technology.”