USDA Reopens HBIIP Program

The USDA opened a new, 30-day application period Dec. 21 to provide retailers one more opportunity to apply for grant money still available under its Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP). These funds provide a second chance for retailers who got started during the original 90-day timeframe but couldn’t complete their grant applications before that window closed. Approximately $22 million is being made available for fueling stations, convenience stores, hypermarket fueling stations, and fleet facilities to add higher ethanol blends.

“Investing in infrastructure just makes sense for a retailer to keep their equipment up-to-date, and grant assistance makes it economical,” said Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “These funds are a great opportunity for all retailers to invest in higher blends of ethanol like E15 and E30 to provide a healthier fuel choice to all our Nebraska communities. We appreciate the USDA re-opening this program and helping support our mission of making ethanol more widely available.”

Through this program, transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities will be able to apply for grants to help install, retrofit, and/or upgrade fuel storage, dispenser pumps, related equipment and infrastructure to be able to sell ethanol and biodiesel. Cost-share grants and/or incentives will be made available for fuel ethanol/biodiesel blends such as E15 or higher. In October, USDA announced several recipients of the up to $100 million in matching grants to increase ethanol and biodiesel sales.

The purpose of the HBIIP is to significantly increase the sales and use of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products. The program is also intended to encourage a more comprehensive approach to market higher blends by sharing the costs related to building out biofuel-related infrastructure.

Awards to successful applicants will be in the form of cost-share grants for up to 50 percent of total eligible project costs, but not to exceed $3 million, whichever is less. To learn about eligibility requirements, visit the HBIIP website here. The deadline is Jan. 19, 2021.

Resources have been made available to make the process easier. Links to these resources below can be found on the Nebraska Ethanol Board here.

  • USDA will offer free education webinars on Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 1 p.m. CST or Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. CST.
  • American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) launched a series of short, fuel marketer-focused videos breaking down the HBIIP application process into manageable pieces to encourage retailers to apply. The videos were produced in coordination with USDA. ACE also offers a Flex Check tool helping retailers understand they may already have the equipment they need to add E15.
  • Renewable Fuels Association again will serve as a technical resource to interested retailers.
  • Have questions? Retailers in Nebraska can contact Jeff Carpenter, USDA Energy Coordinator/Rural Development, at jeff.carpenter@usda.gov or 402-437-5554.

Nebraska Ethanol Board to hold virtual board meeting on Dec. 22

Under guidance of Gov. Pete Ricketts’ Executive Order No. 20-36, which is effective Dec. 1, 2020, through Jan. 31, 2021, and allows public meetings to be conducted by video or teleconference, the Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet virtually at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 22. To request the call-in information, please contact the Nebraska Ethanol Board office at 402-471-2941 or email the request to Jessica.Sodeke@nebraska.gov. The agenda is as follows:

  1. Call Meeting to Order
  2. Approval of Agenda
  3. Approval of Sept. 10, 2020, Board Meeting Minutes
  4. Public Opportunity for Questions, Comments or Concerns
  5. Budget Report
  6. Fuel Retailer Update
  7. E30 Demonstration Update
  8. Renewable Fuels Nebraska Update
  9. Nebraska Corn Board Update
  10. Lowering Ethanol’s Carbon Intensity Study
  11. Economic Impact Study of Corn Basis
  12. Dues & Memberships
  13. Marketing Programs
  14. Environmental, Health & Safety Summit Review/Upcoming NEB-hosted Conferences
  15. State and Federal Legislation
  16. Ethanol Plant Reports
  17. Chair’s Report
  18. Administrator’s Report
  19. New Per Diem and Expense Reimbursement Rules via LB381
  20. Travel Reports and Authorization
  21. Personnel
  22. Staff Tuition Reimbursement
  23. Executive Session, if deemed necessary
  24. Election of Board Officers for 2021
  25. Next Meeting Date
  26. Adjourn

This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.

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