Minneapolis, Jan 26- This week, Gov. Tim Walz announced a budget proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2024 and 2025, which includes Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association (MN Bio-Fuels) priorities related to expanding biofuel infrastructure and incentivizing the production of advanced biofuels.
In the proposal, the governor recommends an increase of $1.5 million per year in FY2024 and 2025 for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) program for biofuels infrastructure to increase the availability of E15 in the state.
The proposal also recommends additional funding for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s AGRI’s Bioincentive program to spur commercial-scale production of advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals and biomass thermal energy over both fiscal years.
“We are pleased that Gov. Walz has proposed funding for Minnesota’s bio-based economy in his budget recommendations for the next biennium. The strong investments for biofuel infrastructure and advanced biofuel production will lead to fewer greenhouse gas emissions, lower prices at the pump, and more economic opportunity for farmers and rural communities. We look forward to working with legislators in both parties and the Walz administration to see these critical resources advance through the budget process,” said Brian Werner, executive director at MN Bio-Fuels.
The proposed $3 million for biofuels infrastructure in the governor’s budget is in addition to $6 million in grant funding proposed for the AGRI program for FY2024 and 2025. These grants are to assist fuel retailers in upgrading their equipment to be able to sell E15 and higher blends of ethanol.
In FY2022 and 2023, the AGRI program allocated $6 million for biofuel infrastructure funding. An additional $1 million in funding for the program was provided by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. MN Bio-Fuels provided assistance in the application process for 15 of the 44 retailers that received the grants.
“E15/Unleaded 88 appears to be on its way to becoming the “new normal” and most of the retail fuel stations in Minnesota have incompatible infrastructure,” the proposal said.
From January to November 2022, 95.85 million gallons of E15 was sold in Minnesota, 10 percent higher than the 87.11 million gallons sold for the whole of 2021.