USDA extends higher blends grant programme

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The US Department of Agriculture has opened a new 30-day application period to provide retailers one more opportunity to apply for grants available under its Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Programme (HBIIP).
In October, the USDA announced several recipients of up to $100 million (€82 million) in matching grants to increase ethanol and biodiesel sales.
American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) senior vice president and market development director Ron Lamberty hoped this “re-opening” would provide a second chance for retailers who got started during the original 90-day timeframe, but could not complete their grant applications.
“We got feedback on the application process from marketers we worked with saying it took too long to gather the information they needed and get the ‘registrations’ they had to complete before they could even apply,” Lamberty said. “Those things are required to do business with the government, and most retailers weren’t expecting that.
“Although 30 days seems like an impossibly short window, it can be an opportunity for station owners who started the process this summer, to finish their applications realistically, someone just jumping in right now is going to have a challenge rounding up the necessary permissions and information in that timeframe.”
Following USDA’s rollout of HBIIP, ACE is also helping retailers understand they may already have the equipment they need to add E15 by encouraging them to try the Flex Check E15 compatibility tool.
“Making sure station owners know what their equipment can do right now and helping more of them start to sell higher blends as soon as they can is the lowest cost way for us to sell a lot more ethanol in a short period of time,” Lamberty added. “If we are going to move significant new volumes of ethanol in E15, it's going to be because massive numbers of retail units are converted at little or no cost, on top of whatever stations are able to add new fueling infrastructure with HBIIP dollars.”