USDA seeks input on IRA’s biofuel infrastructure, REAP funding

By Erin Voegele | October 27, 2022

The USDA has announced it will host a virtual listening session on Nov. 3 that focuses, in part, on biofuel infrastructure and Renewable Energy for America Program funding allocated by the Inflation Reduction Act. A 30-day public comment period is also being opened.

President Joe Biden on Aug. 16 signed the IRA. The expansive legislative package addresses a wide range of issues, including inflation reduction, domestic energy production and manufacturing, carbon emissions reductions, Medicare and health care costs, and tax loopholes.

The Nov. 3 listening session aims to provide an opportunity for stakeholder and other interested parties to offer their comments and input on Sections 22001, 22002, and 22003 of the IRA. Section 22002 of the IRA provides $2.025 billion for USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program. Biomass energy systems, including those utilizing anaerobic digesters and solid biomass fuels, are among projects eligible to apply for REAP funding. Section 22003 of IRA appropriates $500 million to support the development of biofuel infrastructure, including infrastructure improvements for blending, storing, supplying or distributing biofuels; installing, retrofitting or upgrading fuel dispensers to supply higher blends of biofuels; and for building and retrofitting home heating oil distribution centers to supply biofuels. The listening session will also focus on IRA Section 22001, which provides $1 billion in budget authority for loans and renewable energy infrastructure.

A separate listening session scheduled for Nov. 4 will focus on IRA Section 22004, which provides $9.7 billion in budget authority for loans, grants, loan modifications and other financial assistance to support purchase of renewable energy, renewable energy systems, zero-emissions, and carbon capture systems to deploy such systems or make energy efficiency improvements to generation and transmissions systems of eligible entities.

In addition to the listing sessions, the USDA is opening a 30-day public comment period regarding the implementation of IRA Sections 22001, 22002, 22003, and 22004. That public comment period is scheduled to open following the publication of a notice in the Federal Register. The USDA is scheduled to publish that notice on Oct. 28. A pre-publication version of the notice was made available on the Federal Register website on Oct. 27.