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Bioenergy > United States > Minnesota

Information about biofuels and bioenergy in the state of Minnesota in the United States.

Minnesota, with a population of approximately 5,000,000, is a major producer of ethanol in the United States. In 2004, Governor Pawlenty referred to his plan for biofuels in the state as "making Minnesota the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy."







  • U.S. Ethanol Industry to Keep Subsidies Until End of 2011, 1 August 2011 by Bloomberg: "U.S. ethanol subsidies aren’t affected by a congressional agreement to lift the country’s debt limit that may be voted on by both chambers today, according to industry groups."
    • "The 45-cent tax credit for each gallon of the biofuel blended into gasoline and the 54-cent tariff on Brazilian imports, due to expire Dec. 31, will stay in place for now, according to the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy, Washington-based industry trade groups."
    • "Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, forged a July 7 deal with Senators Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, and John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, to eliminate the government supports and to include it as part of the deficit- reduction package. The agreement proposed to reduce federal deficit by $1.33 billion and to dedicate $668 million to biofuels and new technologies."
    • "The U.S. is required to use 12.6 billion gallons of ethanol this year and 15 billion gallons by 2015 under an energy law signed in 2007, known as the Renewable Fuels Standard."[1]
  • Senators Reach Deal on Ethanol Subsidy Repeal, Urge Swift Congressional Action for Maximum Benefit, 7 July 2011 by The New York Times: "Bipartisan Senate negotiators today reached a deal to save $1.3 billion through an early repeal of two major ethanol tax benefits, setting what could prove a precedent for more energy-sector tax changes as part of a sprawling deal to raise the nation's debt limit."
    • "The agreement released by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) would end the ethanol blenders' tax credit and the tariff on imported biofuels this month, routing most of the proceeds to deficit reduction while extending tax breaks for infrastructure as well as cellulosic and smaller producers."
    • "But without a House-side buy-in to the deal, its prospects of becoming law -- either as part of a larger measure to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling or as a stand-alone bill -- are slim."
    • "Klobuchar said today that she saw the ethanol accord as a template for a similar tax-benefit compromise with oil and gas companies."
    • "Ethanol interest groups largely hailed the terms of the Senate agreement, which would extend the tax credit for cellulosic production through 2015 with an expansion for algae-based fuels, extend tax incentives for infrastructure through 2014 and extend benefits for smaller ethanol producers through 2012."[2]
  • Franken, Klobuchar propose end to ethanol subsidies, 5 May 2011 by MPR News: "Minnesota's two U.S. senators, along with lawmakers from other corn-growing states, have introduced a bill that would gradually end tax subsidies for ethanol producers."
    • "Under the proposal, the tax credit for the corn-based fuel would drop from 45 cents a gallon today to 15 cents a gallon by 2013. After that, the size of the credit would be linked to the price of oil."
    • "The bill would maintain support for cellulosic ethanol to promote a transition to those fuels, which don't use corn as a feedstock."
    • "The bill comes as deficit hawks have zeroed in on tax breaks for ethanol as a sign of special interest influence over the federal tax code."
    • "Minnesota produced about 1.1 billion gallons of ethanol least year, about 8 percent of all production in the U.S."[3]
  • It’s Time We Break Down the Blend Wall – For Good, 15 April 2011 by Biofuels Digest: "There is no greater hurdle to the expansion of the American biofuels industry than the artificial barriers to the market. Through flawed policy and outdated regulation, these barriers serve as a mandate for the American people that 90 percent of our fuel must be gasoline."
    • "And without a market, we will continue to see private capital sidelines instead of being invested into commercializing the great innovations of our industry."
    • "Last year, Growth Energy proposed the Fueling Freedom Plan. This proposal seeks to reform tax policy in order to encourage the installation of as many as 200,000 Flex Fuel pumps, and see every auto sold in the U.S. be a Flex Fuel vehicles."
    • "In March, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., introduced legislation they called 'Securing America’s Future with Energy and Sustainable Technologies,' or SAFEST. Their bill would not only establish a tax-credit for ethanol and biodiesel, but it would use tax incentives to encourage greater production of flex-fuel vehicles and the build-out of infrastructure to deliver ethanol."[4]
Change in Corn Plantings as Percent of County Area, 2004-2007 in the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region.
  • Corn’s biofuel role in question, 10 April 2011 by Star Tribune: "Attempts to dethrone King Corn in the renewable fuels market are more frequent and forceful than they used to be. Corn ethanol no longer qualifies as an innovative technology that garners broad federal subsidies."
    • "Al Franken, one of Minnesota's senators, said his bill safeguards the utility and availability of ethanol from any source. In fact, there is not enough productive capacity in corn ethanol to meet the country's long-term goals for renewable fuels."
    • "In the world of renewable energy, cellulose means whatever grows naturally in renewable supplies. Theoretically, this is the 50-state solution to American energy independence -- biorefineries that convert anything from sawdust to saw grass into alternatives to gasoline."
    • "The problem, say guys like Kelly Nixon, is turning theory into practice. 'We looked at the cost, and it was too expensive without millions from [the federal government],' Nixon said. 'I think the little guys are probably out [of the cellulosic conversion business].'"[5]
  • Midwest senators strike back with pro-biofuels bill, 11 March 2011 by Ethanol Producer Magazine: "Two Midwest senators proposed legislation March 10 favoring the build-out of biofuels infrastructure and continued federal support of ethanol and biodiesel. The Securing America’s Future with Energy and Sustainable Technologies Act, introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., would establish incentives for biofuels infrastructure and deployment, develop a 'more cost-effective' tax credit program for ethanol and biodiesel, establish a renewable energy standard and encourage greater production of hybrid, electric and flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs)."
    • "The bill immediately received widespread support from renewable fuels and agriculture groups."
    • "The 117-page SAFEST Act covers a wide spectrum of renewable fuels interests and contains several important provisions related to the ethanol industry. It amends the definition of 'advanced biofuel' to include corn starch-derived ethanol....It attempts to eliminate liability concerns related to the use of ethanol in combustion engines. It also provides subsidies for the installation of blender pumps and requires any entity that owns or manages 10 or more retail fueling stations to install a blender pump at each station."
    • "The legislation also includes text that would prevent the U.S. EPA from considering international indirect land use changes when calculating biofuels’ lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and calls for the National Academies of Science to conduct a review of methodologies used to project indirect GHG emissions relating to transportation fuels."[6]
  • Ethanol proposal may derail climate bill, 26 May 2009 by Politico: "Rural Democrats are threatening to vote against climate change legislation unless the Environmental Protection Agency halts new proposals that could hamper the development of corn ethanol."
    • "The debate [over ethanol] intensified recently when EPA released a draft decision ruling that 'indirect land use' issues must be considered when calculating the carbon footprint of corn-based ethanol. That decision raises the overall emissions of corn ethanol by including sometimes tenuously linked activities — critics say totally unrelated activities — in its carbon count."
    • "House Agricultural Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (R-Minn.)...and the 26 Democrats on his committee say they will vote against climate change legislation passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week unless it better addresses several concerns raised by farmers, including reversing the EPA decision."[11]



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