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.