The Renewable Fuels Association today welcomed the passage of the Omnibus Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief Package, which explicitly includes renewable fuel producers as entities eligible to receive COVID-19 emergency relief aid. The bill also extends key tax provisions that support innovation and expansion in the renewable fuels industry, including the Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit, Alternative Fuel Refueling Property Credit, and the Section 45Q tax credit for carbon sequestration.
The legislation provides $13 billion in agricultural assistance and programs and specifies that the funding may be used to “make payments to producers of advanced biofuel, biomass-based diesel, cellulosic biofuel, conventional biofuel, or renewable fuel…produced in the United States, for unexpected market losses as a result of COVID–19.”
“Today’s passage of this landmark legislation is great news for America’s ethanol producers, who have struggled through the most difficult and trying year in the industry’s history,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “More than half of the ethanol industry shut down during the extraordinary demand collapse in the spring, and producers across the country still have not fully recovered from that market shock. The pandemic has cost the industry nearly $4 billion in lost revenue to date, with losses expected to continue well into 2021. The legislation passed today provides a ray of hope for the industry and provides decisive direction to the Secretary regarding the eligibility of renewable fuel producers to receive assistance from USDA.”
While the economic relief package provisions could provide a near-term shot in the arm for the ethanol industry, the bill’s tax extender measures will help spur longer-term innovation and expansion in the industry. Specifically, the bill extends through 2021 the $1.01 per gallon nonrefundable income tax credit for second-generation biofuel sales. It also extends through 2021 the credit for the installation of alternative fuel vehicle refueling property, including property that dispenses ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas, hydrogen, and electricity. The credit is capped at $30,000 per location.
“While the industry would prefer multi-year certainty for key tax provisions, we are pleased to see these important credits extended for another year,” Cooper said. “These measures are critical to the future of the renewable fuels industry. They help stimulate the commercialization of new feedstocks and fuels, while at the same time encouraging the build-out of the infrastructure needed to distribute low-carbon renewable fuels more broadly across the nation.”
The bill provides an extension of the 45Q carbon oxide sequestration credit, allowing the credit to be claimed by facilities that begin construction by the end of 2025.