April 5, 2006

WASHINGTON: Washington State Approves New Biofuels Requirement

The U.S. Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) website announced the passage of two bills showing Washington State's commitment to biofuels (see below). Said Governor Gregoire:

“We are moving Washington forward as a leader of a dynamic, 21st century industry,” said Governor Gregoire. “Alternative fuels will help bridge the rural and urban divide in Washington: we can grow these crops in eastern Washington, crush the seeds in places like Moses Lake and ship them across the Cascades for use in busses in Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia.”

For the "energy freedom program" the state commissioned a comprehensive Biomass Inventory and Bioenergy Assessment - is a detailed accounting of all the biomass and bioenergy potential in the state.

Washington State Approves New Biofuels Requirement

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire signed a bill last week that will require fuel suppliers to ensure that ethanol provides 2 percent of the gasoline they sell, and that biodiesel provides 2 percent of the diesel fuel they sell. Senate Bill 6508 sets different timetables for the two biofuels. For ethanol, the 2-percent requirement takes effect on December 1st, 2008. The ethanol requirement could eventually increase to as much as 10 percent of the gasoline sold, so long as sufficient agricultural sources are available in the state and burning the ethanol-rich fuel isn't hurting the state's air quality.

For biodiesel, the requirement goes into effect on November 30th, 2008, or when in-state agricultural sources can meet the 2-percent requirement, whichever comes first. The biodiesel requirement will increase to 5 percent of the diesel fuel sold once the state has enough agricultural supply and seed-crushing ability to meet a 3-percent requirement. In addition, beginning on June 1st, 2009, all Washington state agencies are required to use diesel blends containing at least 20 percent biodiesel. According to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), the law is expected to create demand for 20 million gallons of biodiesel annually in the first year.

Governor Gregoire also recently signed a bill to encourage biomass energy development in the state. House Bill 2939 establishes the energy freedom program to promote research and development in bioenergy and to stimulate the construction of biomass energy facilities in the state. A recent report from the Washington Department of Ecology concluded that underutilized biomass in the state could produce about half of the state's power needs.


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