USDA Grant To Add 620 E15 / E85 Pumps In Minnesota

  • Thursday, 10 September 2015 00:00

The USDA has announced that 21 states, including Minnesota, will receive grants through its Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program to add infrastructure to increase E15 and E85 pumps. Minnesota, specifically, will receive grants to add 620 fuel pumps to dispense higher ethanol blends such as E15 and E85.


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In a statement Sept 10, the USDA said the BIP program had a goal of adding 5,000 pumps in 1,400 stations across the country. Using that ratio, the USDA grants would translate to 173 new stations offering E15 or E85 in Minnesota. The agency said the exact amount of grant funds for each state will be announced at a later date.

The BIP was announced in May as a means to increase E15 and E85 availability and usage. Under the BIP, the USDA had allocated $100 million to be awarded as competitive grants to states to expand infrastructure to dispense E15 and or E85. The states, in return, would have to match the funding received from the USDA.

"The quality and geographic diversity of the applications, backed by supportive state and private partners, demonstrate the strong demand across the country for cleaner, more affordable fuel."

"The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is one approach the USDA is using to aggressively to pursue investments in American-grown renewable energy 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 fuels," said Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack.

The USDA said it received applications for over $130 million, above the $100 million available for the BIP program. Ultimately, the USDA said it will award grants to 21 states that will translate to the installation of 4,880 higher ethanol blended pumps.  

Through the grants, the USDA estimates it will more than double the number of stations offering E15 in the country.

Under the BIP program, the USDA said the grant funds must be used to pay a portion of the costs related to the installation of fuel pumps and related and related infrastructure dedicated to the distribution of higher ethanol blends such as E15 and E85.

The matching contributions from the states may be used for additional infrastructure to support pumps, marketing, education, data collection, program evaluation and administrative costs.

Besides Minnesota, the other states that will be awarded the grants are Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia - Maryland, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Among the states that were awarded the grants, Minnesota was the third highest in terms of the number of pumps to be installed after Florida (892 pumps) and Texas (763 pumps). For the full list, click here

The USDA's BIP was announced on May 29, the same day the EPA released its proposed targets for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 RFS. And many believe the BIP was launched to achieve the EPA's RFS target for 2016. In 2016, the EPA has set a target of 14 billion gallons of ethanol to be consumed, representing a 600 million gallon increase from its target of 13.4 billion gallons of ethanol for this year.

This target, while a billion gallons lower than the original volumes set by the RFS, is nevertheless one that required the EPA to abandon its fixation on the fictional blend wall. After all, to achieve a consumption of 14 billion gallons of ethanol in 2016, E15 and E85 usage would have to increase.