US EPA Releases Renewable Fuel Volume Obligations under RFS2 for 2014, 2015, 2016

By the Coalition For Renewable Natural Gas.

This morning US EPA, upon approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), released their Proposed Rulemaking to establish Renewable Fuel Volume Obligations (RVO) under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) for the past year (2014), current year (2015) and next year (2016). The 2017 RVO is not due until November, 2016 and has not yet been determined.

As of July 2014, renewable natural gas produced at landfills, separated MSW digesters, municipal wastewater treatment facilities, agricultural digesters, and biogas from cellulosic components of biomass processed in other waste digesters qualifies under the RFS2's Cellulosic Biofuel category. Each gallon of cellulosic biofuel is eligible to generate a D3 Renewable Identification Number (RIN). The Cellulosic Biofuel RVOs for 2014, 2015 and 2016 are listed below in ethanol gallon equivalents (EGE):

2014: 33 million RINs (EGE)

2015: 106 million RINs (EGE)

2016: 206 million RINs (EGE)

According to the Fact Sheet released today by EPA, the 2014 RVO is based on actual production. EPA is seeking comment on any new data to inform setting the final RVO for 2015 and 2016, and will host a public hearing on June 25 in Kansas City, Kansas. Written comments on the Proposed Rulemaking will be accepted until July 27.

The RNG Coalition provided EPA with a full-year 2015 cellulosic biofuel production estimate of 157 million EGE. The RNG Coalition also estimated that 295 million EGE of renewable natural gas will be dedicated for transportation fuel use in 2016. 

"Avoidable consequences occur each day that RVOs are delayed. Cellulosic biofuel production is postponed, producers lose revenue and the RFS2 program is undermined as a result of its own inefficiency. As a result, the United States is deprived of renewable fuels that would have otherwise incrementally displaced our dependence on foreign oil" said Johannes Escudero, Executive Director of the Coalition For Renewable Natural Gas. "Fortunately, with the proposed rulemaking, EPA has demonstrated a commitment to getting the RFS2 back on track. If administered as intended, and if annual RVOs are established on schedule, we believe the program will work and incentivize the increased production and utilization of renewable fuels."

"The renewable natural gas industry will supply the cellulosic biofuel needed to meet these RVOs," said David Cox, Director of Operations and General Counsel for the Coalition For Renewable Natural Gas. "This is an industry that is growing - in size, capability and credibility. And now, for the first time since gaining recognition as a cellulosic biofuel, renewable natural gas is positioned to deliver the clean and renewable, ultra-low carbon fuel envisioned when RFS2 was enacted. RNG will be the succes story of the RFS2."

CLICK HERE to view EPA's Fact Sheet for the Proposed Rulemaking (4 pp).

CLICK HERE to view the full text of EPA's Proposed Rulemaking (121 pp). 

US EPA intends to finalize the proposed RVOs by November 30, 2015.