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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Clean Energy Jobs Act bill includes low carbon fuel standard

From a question-and-answer summary of the Low Carbon Fuels Standard included in the Clean Energy Jobs Act bill written by Peter Taglia, Staff Scientist, for Clean Wisconsin:

The Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB 450 and AB 649), announced recently by Governor Doyle, has been introduced by both houses of the Wisconsin legislature. The bill incorporates many of the recommendations made by the governor's Climate Change Task Force. The Clean Energy Jobs Act, if adopted, will increase Wisconsin's use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, cleaner fuels and cleaner cars. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in the bill would be established based on recommendations currently under development by a broad stakeholder group of the Midwestern Governors Association (MGA).

Below are a series of answers to frequently asked question about how an LCFS will impact biofuels and oil sands (compiled by Pete Taglia of Clean Wisconsin and member of the Midwestern Governors Association’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Advisory Group). If you have questions about the LCFS you can contact Pete Taglia at ptaglia@cleanwisconsin.org.

Question: What is a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS)?

A LCFS is a fuel policy that will help break our dependence on foreign sources of oil and promote energy independence by gradually moving Wisconsin toward the cleanest and most efficient sources of transportation fuels. A LCFS rates different types of transportation fuels by their efficiency and carbon footprint and allows fuel providers to choose what mix of fuels will be used to meet the requirement.

Question: What types of fuels qualify for an LCFS?

An LCFS policy is unique in that all transportation fuels are able to compete in the fuel market, including the following resources:
• Ethanol: Alcohol fuel made from corn or cellulose (wood, plant stalks, harvest residues, etc.). Wisconsin has 8 corn ethanol plants producing almost 500 million gallons per year.
• Biodiesel: A diesel substitute (mono alkl ester) made from vegetable and animal oils that is then mixed with petroleum diesel (e.g., B20 is 20% biodiesel). Wisconsin has 8 biodiesel plants that use soybean oil, waste animal fats, and waste grease feedstocks.
• Renewable diesel: A fuel chemically similar to petroleum diesel (a hydrocarbon fuel) but made with renewable resources such as wood waste. Flambeau River Biofuels in Park Falls and New Page in Wisconsin Rapids both received Department of Energy grants to produce renewable diesel from wood waste.
• Compressed Natural Gas (CNG): Wisconsin has approximately 20 CNG fueling stations and two school district bus systems that use natural gas. ANGI Energy Systems of Milton is a leading manufacturer of CNG fueling systems and Wisconsin leads the nation in the production of biogas from dairy manure and food wastes.
• Electricity: Wisconsin has numerous electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles as part of state, utility and private car fleets. Wisconsin’s largest corporation, Johnson Controls, is a leading battery manufacturer that won a recent contract to supply batteries to Ford’s new electric van and Columbia Parcar of Reedsburg manufacturers a line of electric utility vehicles in WI.

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