FAQ: A couple weeks ago USDA announced a new grant program to help fuel retailers pay for installing new blender pumps. The idea is to make higher blends of renewable fuels such as E15 to E85 ethanol, and higher blends of biodiesel, more available to consumers. What is the status of this program?
Answer: Following an announcement by USDA on May 29, 2015 the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) on June 12 announced that all 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. may now apply for up to $100 million in grants under the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP). The funding is to support the infrastructure needed to make more renewable fuel options available to American consumers. USDA's Farm Service Agency will administer the BIP program.
Program seeks to double number of blender pumps
"This is the kind of pump every American driver should see when they fill up their car or truck," says Vilsack.
USDA continues to aggressively pursue investments in American-grown renewable energy, says U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The objectives are to create new markets for U.S. farmers and ranchers, help Americans save money on their energy bills, support America's clean energy economy, cut carbon pollution and reduce dependence on foreign oil and costly fossil fuels. A typical gas pump delivers fuel with 10% ethanol, which limits the amount of renewable energy most consumers can purchase at the pump.
Through BIP, USDA will award competitive grants, matched by states, to expand the infrastructure for distribution of higher blends of renewable fuel. These competitive grants are available to assist states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. with infrastructure funding. States that offer funding equal to or greater than that provided by the federal government will receive higher consideration for grant funds. States may work with private entities to enhance their offer.
Deadline for states to apply for funding July 15
CCC funds must be used to pay a portion of the costs related to installation of fuel pumps and related infrastructure dedicated to distribution of higher ethanol blends, for example E15 and E85, at vehicle fueling locations. The matching contributions may be used for these items or for related costs such as additional infrastructure to support pumps, marketing, education, data collection, program evaluation and administrative costs.
This new investment seeks to double the number of fuel pumps capable of supplying higher blends of renewable fuel to consumers. This will expand markets for farmers, support rural economic growth and the jobs that come with it, and ultimately give consumers more choices at the pump.
Applications must be submitted by July 15, 2015, using grants.gov. To locate, search by funding opportunity number "USDA-FSA-2015-22."