New Hampshire delegation urges EPA to open RFS to renewable power

By Erin Voegele | November 01, 2019

The New Hampshire congressional delegation sent a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Oct. 28 urging the agency to allow renewable electricity producers to participate in the Renewable Fuel Standard, starting in 2020.

“More must be down to ensure that biofuels producers have access to the markets,” the delegation wrote. “Congress intended electricity to be part of the program when it passed the RFS2 in 2007 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act. Congress mandated a renewable volume obligation of 8.5 billion gallons for 2019 for the cellulosic fuel category, where most electricity would qualify. However EPA has achieved only 418 million gallons for this year. It is well past time for the EPA to included electricity in the renewable volume obligations.”

The delegation said failing to include electricity in the RFS has resulted in dire consequences for electricity producers who cannot participate in the program and the supply chains that rely on them. “Biomass, biogas and waste-to-energy producers are making biofuels available for transportation but are receiving no credit under the RFS for doing so,” they wrote. “This puts rural jobs and local government infrastructure at risk in vital sectors of our economy, including farming, forestry, logging and waste-to-energy.”

The letter is signed by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Margaret Wood Hassan, D-N.H., and by Reps. Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H.,and Chris Pappas, D-N.H.

“We are tremendously grateful to Sen. Shaheen, Sen. Hassan, Rep. Kuster and Rep. Pappas for continuing to shed light on the EPA’s failure to include electricity in its RFS program,” said Bob Cleaves, president and CEO of Biomass Power Association, one of three founding organizations of the RFS Power Coalition. “Unfortunately, New Hampshire has firsthand experience in biomass plant shutdowns as a result of the EPA’s abdication of its duty to process eRIN pathways and applications. As of today, it’s been 11 years and 317 days since Congress passed RFS2, which included electricity.”

“New Hampshire farmers who use waste efficiently in a grid-connected anaerobic digester should not be denied the opportunity to participate in the RFS,” said Patrick Serfass, executive director of American Biogas Council. “Thank you to Sen. Shaheen and the New Hampshire delegation for fighting for your constituents by urging the EPA to act on this issue.”

“We appreciate Sen. Shaheen, Sen. Hassan, Rep. Kuster and Rep. Pappas for keeping front and center the EPA’s egregious failure to include electricity in the RFS,” said Ted Michaels, president of the Energy Recovery Council. “The ability to generate eRINs would ensure a return on investment for local governments in New England and across the country.”

 A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from Shaheen’s website.