USDA clarifies information on eligible applicants for HBIIP

By Erin Voegele | November 16, 2022

The USDA on Nov. 15 published a notice clarifying information regarding eligible applicants for the current funding cycle for its Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program, which opened in August. Applications for this round of HBIIP funds are due Nov. 21.

According to the notice, the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) issued Aug. 23 omitted clarifying information regarding eligible applicants for the funding. The FOA is being updated to clarify that hybrid applications, or those including transportation fueling facility implementation activities and fuel distribution facilities implementation activities, are ineligible. The notice clarifies that applicants can only apply for one of the two applicant types and those successful applicants will only receive the funding associated with one applicant type.

The HBIIP is a competitive grant program that aims to significantly increase the sales and use of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products. Investments made under HBIIP aim to help transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities convert to higher ethanol and biodiesel blends by sharing the costs related to the installation of fuel pumps, related equipment and infrastructure. Under the program, higher blends include ethanol blends of greater than 10 percent and biodiesel blends of greater than 5 percent.

Grants made under the program can cover up to 50 percent of total eligible project costs, up to $5 million. According to the notice, the USDA has set a targeted assistance goal that aims to make approximately 40 percent of funds available to applicants that own 10 or fewer fueling stations/locations. The USDA may also target applicants located in markets that are currently underserved by higher blends and give preference to first time applicants to the HBIIP program, according to the notice.

The USDA has already made three rounds of awards through the HBIIP. The agency awarded $22 million under the program to 40 recipients in 14 states in October 2020, $18.4 million to 23 recipients in 20 states in April 2021, and $26 million to support 34 projects located in 23 states in August 2021.

A full copy of the Nov. 15 notice is available on the Federal Register website


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