ABERDEEN, Wash. - The United States biodiesel industry reached a key milestone by producing more than one billion gallons of fuel in 2011, according to year-end numbers released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The total volume of nearly 1.1 billion gallons is by far a record for the industry and easily exceeded the 800 million gallon target required under the EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The previous record for biodiesel production was about 690 million gallons in 2008.
Imperium Renewables operates a 100 million gallon per year biodiesel facility that is located in Aberdeen, Wash. The facility produces high quality biodiesel from canola oil for the domestic and global marketplace. “We are succeeding thanks in a major part to strong federal energy policy that is stimulating growth of green jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign fuels. RFS2 is a key policy driver that creates demand and success for our company,” said Imperium Renewables CEO John Plaza. “2011 will be the best year that we ever had with respect to volume and profitability — and we are feeling very confident that 2012 will be an even better year.”
We've been seeing a lot of stories about setbacks in the renewable energy sector recently, and I think our success in 2011 reflects the bigger picture reality, which is that strong energy policy is working to stimulate production of clean, American-made energy - Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB)
"Specifically, our success clearly demonstrates that the biodiesel tax incentive and the Renewable Fuel Standard are working just as Congress envisioned," Steckel added. "Our industry is creating jobs, reducing our dependence on imported fuel, and improving the environment."
A recent economic study commissioned by NBB found that biodiesel production of one billion gallons supports 39,027 jobs across the country and more than $2.1 billion in household income. An additional 11,698 jobs could be added between 2012 and 2013 alone under continued growth in the RFS and with an extension of the biodiesel tax incentive.
Imperium Grays Harbor is the second largest biodiesel facility in the U.S. and Imperium Renewables employs 50 people between their Seattle headquarters and production facility in Aberdeen.
"Second-guessing the RFS or reducing the growth of the industry would be harmful to growing U.S. jobs and damaging to our national security," Plaza said. "The production milestone of 2011 proves that these policies work, and that innovation and competitiveness can reduce America’s dangerous dependence on imported fuel. Just as President Obama said in his most recent State of the Union address, we need to stay the course to continue creating jobs and building America's energy capacity. Maintaining the intent of RFS2 as authorized in 2007 by President Bush is paramount to providing stable long-term policy for this industry.”
The biodiesel industry is calling on the EPA and the Obama Administration to finalize the EPA's proposal to boost the biodiesel volume requirement under the RFS to 1.28 billion gallons in 2013. Industry leaders say this is critical policy to continue to support the biodiesel industry and the jobs that exist today and in the future.
Biodiesel is the first and only commercial-scale fuel used across the U.S. to meet the Environmental Protection Agency's definition as an Advanced Biofuel. It is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines and meets a strict ASTM fuel specification. Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as agricultural oils, recycled cooking oil and animal fats, it is produced in nearly every state in the country.
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To view the EPA's numbers, visit http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/rfsdata/2011emts.htm.
For more information about Imperium Renewables, please visit www.ImperiumRenewables.com. For more details on biodiesel's success story, visit www.biodiesel.org.