RFS needs reform with modified mandates, blend wall limitations

25 April 2013 02:37  [Source: ICIS news]

CHICAGO (ICIS)--The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should exercise its administrative options to achieve substantial and meaningful reform of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a law professor said on Wednesday.

Recommendations include modifying current cellulosic mandates and dealing with the E10 blend wall limitations, said Jay Kesan, a professor at the College of Law at the University of Illinois.

“The RFS is increasing the subject of legislative reform proposals in Congress,” he said during a forum at the Bio International Convention.

“Our national commitment to a robust renewable energy portfolio, that includes a well-developed second-generation biofuels industry, is at stake and must be a part of our guiding principles of RFS reform,” he added.

Kesan said it is important to understand who the key stakeholders are in the process and to weigh their preferences and bargaining power.

Key stakeholders include the oil and gas industry, the food industry, environmental groups and those in the bio-fuels industry.

Kesan said the industry’s investment-based reliance on the current regime should be protected because current build-out of cellulosic and advanced biofuels refining infrastructure is being executed on the existing regime.

“First-generation biofuels’ ability to satisfy mandates should remain capped, but not eliminated in the short term,” he said.

“Emphasis should continue to be placed on incentivising increased production of second-generation biofuels,” he added.

As legislative reform options are more susceptible to the influence of stakeholders with the greatest political power, administrative options are preferable, Kesan said.

The RFS was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to establish a fuel volume mandate to boost ethanol, biodiesel and other renewable resources in the US. It was expanded in 2007 and finalised in 2010.

The Bio International Convention runs through 25 April.

By: Tracy Dang
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