Governor signs bill to increase critical renewable fuel infrastructure funds

by | May 10, 2024 | 5 Ag Stories, News

The Iowa Biodiesel Board and the Iowa Soybean Association commended Governor Kim Reynolds and the state legislature for their decisive action in boosting funding for renewable fuels infrastructure. Reynolds signed legislation today that marks another significant step forward in Iowa’s commitment to expanding the use of renewable fuels like biodiesel.

Effective July 1, the Iowa Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Program will see an increase in annual funding from $10 million to $14 million. It is specifically allocated for biodiesel and ethanol projects.

Using grant incentives, the program helps retail operators of motor fuel dispensing sites or fueling stations modernize their equipment to better accommodate the expanded use of renewable fuels in Iowa.

“This continued significant IRFIP funding underscores Iowa’s dedication to fostering a sustainable and environmentally conscious energy landscape,” said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. “The more infrastructure we have available, the more biodiesel is accessible to consumers and utilized in the market.”

Kimberley highlighted that recipients of the infrastructure cost-share dollars must offer biodiesel blended fuel for a minimum of 5 years, demonstrating a long-term commitment to promoting renewable fuels.

The revised program guidelines include an increase in the cap for retail biodiesel projects, now set at $1.75 million compared to the previous $1.25 million. This adjustment results in an additional $500,000 annually allocated to retail biodiesel projects.

As of January, there were 35 biodiesel retail applications on hold totaling $1.7 million. These applications, if approved, would use almost all the FY25 funding at the new increased level, highlighting the demand for expanded infrastructure support.

“Increasing demand and accessibility for biodiesel is a top priority for Iowa farmers,” said Suzanne Shirbroun, Iowa Soybean Association president and farmer from Farmersburg. “With planting season well underway, we are encouraged by the continued support from lawmakers on this important program and look forward to seeing biodiesel have an even larger footprint in our cities and rural communities.”

The program offers reimbursement of up to 70% of a fuel retailer’s costs up to $50,000 for specific project components, with a 5-year commitment required for storing and selling biodiesel-blended fuels. Projects focused on heated biodiesel terminal equipment and infrastructure are eligible for a 50% grant up to $100,000 per project.

Iowa continues to lead the nation in both biodiesel production and comprehensive pro-biodiesel state policies, the groups said.

Biodiesel is an advanced biofuel made from agricultural byproducts and co-products, such as soybean oil.