The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 10, 2018, Vivergo Fuels announced that it was re-opening its bioethanol plant following the passing of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). The Vivergo plant, the largest plant in the United Kingdom (UK) and the second largest producer of bioethanol in Europe, was originally shut down due to unfavorable trading conditions and uncertainty about the future of renewable fuel policies. RTFO will increase the use of renewable fuels in transport from current levels of 4.75 percent to 9.75 percent by 2020, but Vivergo is now calling for the introduction of E10 fuel by the end of 2018. E10 is widely used in the United States, as well as France, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Canada, and Australia. Vivergo argues that introducing E10 in the UK would provide an immediate impact on transport emissions, provide high quality employment in the region, and spur further investment in renewables.


 

On November 29, 2016, the United Kingdom (UK) Department of Transportation published proposed legislative changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), which is open for consultation until January 22, 2017.  Among the proposed changes is an increase in the blending mandates to 9.75 percent by volume for 2020.  The three main proposals outlined detail increasing the supply of waste derived fuels, encouraging the production of advanced renewable fuels, and setting a maximum cap for fuels from food crops.  The aim of the consultation is to determine whether further measures could be taken to minimize costs.
 
The RTFO was established to achieve the targets for renewable energy usage in the transportation sector set by the European Union by incentivizing fuel suppliers to provide biofuels at the lowest cost possible.  The objective is to encourage investment in renewable fuels so that the relative cost of biofuels decreases over time.


 

On February 4, 2015, the newly formed Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called for an update of the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that was put into place in 2007. The Coalition proposed a plan to create as many as 32,000 jobs annually by improving Illinois' energy economy. These improvements would be made through: (1) changes to the RPS to increase the use of renewable sources to create 35 percent of power by 2030; (2) improved energy efficiency standards so that overall electricity use declines by 20 percent by 2025; and (3) by encouraging market-based strategies to increase the production of cleaner energy while reducing carbon pollution.