Shocking new report: $600+ million in DOE next-gen biofuels funding falls flat
posted at 9:21 pm on September 12, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
Regular readers know that neither Jazz nor myself are exactly what you’d call “fans” of the Renewable Fuel Standard, the epically stupid federal requirement wherein refiners must blend an ever-increasing volume of regulators’ preferred biofuels, or else purchase credits to be excused from the requirement. Through the RFS and various other means, the federal government subsidizes and creates artificial market signals for biofuels — and the fact that biofuels, as everyone involved is perfectly well aware, are absolutely not environmentally friendly, not good for car engines, and jack up world food prices, is not a deterrent. The Big Ethanol lobby, too, much have its due.
Some of the most galling instances of government overreach coming out of the Renewable Fuel Standard Follies has been the EPA’s insistence on promoting so-called advanced biofuels production, i.e. cellulosic ethanol. The EPA even went ahead to try and punish fuel companies for their noncompliance — that these cellulosic ethanol blends were not actually for sale in anywhere approaching the sufficient quantities was evidently not relevant to them. An appeals court fortunately beat back the rabid regulators for the moment, but the Obama administration proceeded to expand the requirement even further, confident in their miraculous abilities to force their dreams into a state of reality.
And here’s another truly rich part of the tale, courtesy of the DOE Inspector General. Via The Hill:
A years-long Energy Department program to help spur industry production of next-generation biofuels has fallen short, the department’s inspector general concludes in a new report.
“Despite over 7 years of effort and the expenditure of about $603 million, the Department had not yet achieved its biorefinery development and production goals,” states the report made public Thursday.
“Specifically, the [Energy Policy Act of 2005] mandate to demonstrate the commercial application of integrated biorefineries had not been met and the Department was not on target to meet its biofuels production capacity goal,” it states.
Icing, meet cake.