Skor: New opportunities on the horizon for biofuels

By Growth Energy | January 26, 2021

This morning, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor delivered the keynote address at Iowa Renewable Fuels Association’s Annual Iowa Renewable Fuel Virtual Summit. In her speech, Skor reviewed the successes and challenges faced by the ethanol industry over the last year and outlined the opportunities ahead in 2021 for the biofuels industry to work with a new Administration in Washington as a key voice on President Biden’s climate initiatives and rebuilding the rural economy.

Highlights from Skor’s remarks are available below, and her full speech as prepared for delivery is available here:

On Working with the Biden Administration:

“…We look forward to working with this White House to ensure they keep those promises, and restore strength to the rural economy, while addressing our country’s climate goals. But President Biden will need to act swiftly and boldly to meet the current challenges facing rural communities.  If he is successful, it will send an unmistakable signal that we have a sincere partner in the White House.”  

On Upholding the RFS:

“…Make no mistake, we won a major battle at the end of the Trump administration against gap-year exemptions, but we haven’t yet won the war. There are still 65 small refinery exemptions sitting at the EPA…And we won’t let up until the SRE pipeline is shut down, just as the 10th Circuit Court intended…On this front, our aim remains simple – the RFS of tomorrow should be stronger and more forward-leaning than the RFS of the past…” 

On Higher Blends:

 “ Last year was the worst fuel market in 30 years. Retailers across the board suspended capital investment. But E15 sites actually grew 10 percent…. E15 is now available at nearly 2,300 locations…And I’m excited to announce that we’ve recently formed a new partnership that is uniquely positioned to help bring E15 to consumers in untapped markets from Colorado to the Pacific. So be sure to keep an eye out for more updates later this spring…To fast-track this progress, we also helped our retail partners secure nearly $30 million in grants under USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP)…” 

Ethanol as a Climate Solution:

“… Leaders need to know what we know – there is no silver bullet to decarbonizing the transportation sector…But growing the share of renewable biofuels in our fuel supply can and will accelerate our transition to a healthier, zero-emission future and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels…” 

In her remarks on ethanol’s climate benefits, Skor referenced a new report led by David MacIntosh, Chief Science Officer of Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc. (EH&E) and Adjunct Associate Professor of Environmental Health at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, that found that greenhouse gas emissions from corn ethanol are 46 percent lower than gasoline, up from the estimated 39 percent done by previous modeling. The same report also shows a 25-fold improvement on land use change:

“An effective climate strategy must recognize the critical role biofuels play in decarbonizing our transportation sector and bring our farmers into the fold in addressing the climate crisis. It must build on the success of the RFS, increase the use of low-carbon biofuels, and expand market access for higher blends. And the modeling behind that strategy must reflect the best available science.

“The latest landmark study – published days ago by an adjunct professor at Harvard – shows ethanol’s carbon intensity score is 46 percent lower than gasoline’s and importantly shows a 25-fold improvement on land use change.”