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Biodiesel lives, thrives, in Minnesota

Minnesota proves once again it's on the cutting edge of renewables with the move to 10 percent biodiesel
By Ron Kotrba | October 09, 2013

Last week, we reported on the Minnesota agriculture department’s recommendation to move forward with doubling the state’s biodiesel mandate from 5 to 10 percent. Four statutory criteria involving federal standards for blend specifications, the production capacity of biodiesel in Minnesota, the amount of infrastructure and regulatory protocol for biodiesel blending, and the source of feedstocks, have all been met, according to the state agriculture department.

Granted, the move won’t actually double biodiesel usage in the state, given that B10 will only be required during the warmer months—and being a resident of Minnesota, I can tell you there aren’t many of those. The winter blends will revert back to B5. But still, the move is heralded as the future of biodiesel.

With all of the attacks on the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) program from Big Oil and Big Food, avant-garde state policies like Minnesota’s provides assurance that biodiesel will always have a place to call home in our domestic energy portfolio.

Minnesota has long been on the cutting edge of renewable fuels. It was the first state to mandate 10 percent ethanol. Upwards of 60 percent of my power comes from renewable resources, according to my electric cooperative. That includes hydro, wind and more. Minnesota was also the first state to implement a biodiesel mandate, which began at 2 percent and moved up to 5 percent not long after. Sure, the delay in moving to B10 caused some concerns, but the state was only doing its due diligence before pulling the trigger. In a few years, 20 percent biodiesel will be the norm in Minnesota, and I can’t tell you how proud I am to live in this great land of 10,000 lakes.