NBB, ABFA ask Congress to support Bioheat in upcoming bill

By Erin Voegele | October 27, 2021

The National Biodiesel Board and Advanced Biofuels Association joined with three other groups to send a letter to Democratic leadership on Oct. 27 asking them to support biodiesel and Bioheat fuel as they finalize clean energy provisions in the reconciliation package.

“Our industries and associations are working collectively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in American homes and businesses through the production, sale, and use of renewable liquid heating fuels,” the groups wrote. “Together, our organizations represent producers of renewable fuels, retail and wholesale marketers, manufacturers of home heating appliances and equipment designed to utilize these fuels, and the many thousands of hardworking professionals that sell, install, and service residential heating systems.”

The letter notes that approximately 90 percent of the 6 million U.S. households that use liquid fuels for heat are located in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Many retailers that serve those homes are now delivering Bioheat Fuel, which is heating oil blended with biodiesel. The letter estimates that 10 biodiesel producers in the Northeast alone support nearly 5,000 full-time jobs, $175 million in annual wages, and $1.2 billion in annual economic activity. Biodiesel also achieves 74 percent lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when compared to conventional petroleum.

The groups point out that other types of advanced biofuels can also be used to supplant conventional heating oil, including currently available renewable diesel and cellulosic biofuels that are under development.  

“Renewable liquid heating fuels support local economies and provide an immediate, low-cost, and low-carbon solution to consumers,” the groups wrote. “They provide small multi-generational family businesses, once referred to as ‘heating oil dealers,’ the opportunity to enhance their competitiveness while helping to address climate change. These fuels utilize existing storage and distribution infrastructure and, with minor modifications, work seamlessly in existing appliances to deliver immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions – all at little to no additional cost to the consumer.7 In other words, heating oil customers can help fight climate change without costly conversions of their entire home heating systems to other fuels.

“Many states now recognize the role renewable liquid heating fuels are playing to help meet ambitious carbon reduction goals,” they continued. “Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island have enacted laws requiring biodiesel blends in home heating oil.8 Massachusetts is working to strengthen its current incentive program that rewards heating oil distributors for delivering blends of at least 10 percent biodiesel. Other Northeast states are considering similar policies.”

The letter includes three specific actions Congress can take to support renewable liquid heating fuels. First, lawmakers are asked to establish long-term certainty for renewable fuel tax incentives to ensure continued growth and adoption of biofuels in the heating sector. Second, the groups urge lawmakers to allow modern and efficient biofuel-compatible heating appliances to qualify for the bolstered 25C tax incentive for installation of energy efficient residential property. Third, they ask Congress to support downstream biofuel infrastructure investments by including at least $1 billion for “Biofuel Infrastructure and Agriculture Product Market Expansion” in the House Agriculture Committee’s portion of the reconciliation package.

“Inclusion of these measures in the forthcoming reconciliation package will help Main Street heating fuel businesses compete in the new energy economy and support American farmers and renewable fuel producers,” the letter concludes. “The double-punch of more efficient appliances and greater adoption of renewable liquid heating fuels will deliver immediate and cost-effective solutions that can help achieve the president’s goal of a 50 percent reduction to economywide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.”

In addition to the NBB and ABFA, the letter is signed by the National Association of Oil and Energy Service Professionals, the National Energy and Fuels Institute, and the Oilheat Manufacturers Association.



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