On, May 5, 2009, President Obama announced federal efforts to increase investment and use of advanced biofuels. The President signed a Presidential Directive establishing the Biofuels Interagency Working Group, ordering the Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) to implement financing opportunities from the Food Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (“FCEA”), and announcing additional Recovery Act funds for renewable fuel projects.

The Biofuels Interagency Working Group will be co-chaired by the Secretaries of Agriculture and Energy and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The Biofuels Interagency Working Group will coordinate existing policies and identify new policies to support the development of sustainable next-generation biofuels production. 

President Obama has directed the USDA to immediately begin restructuring existing renewable fuels investments in order to preserve industry employment and develop a comprehensive approach to accelerate the production of American biofuels. Further, the USDA has 30 days to begin deployment of renewable energy financing opportunities from the FCEA. Financing opportunities under the FCEA include loan guarantees and grants for research, development, construction and retrofitting of demonstration and commercial scale biorefineries. 

President Obama also announced that $786.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (for more information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act please see Show Me the Money: The Law of the Stimulus) will be used to expand commercial biorefineries and jumpstart advanced biofuels research and development. The money will be divided as follows:

  • $480 million for integrated pilot and demonstration scale biorefinery projects
  • $176.5 million for commercial-scale biorefinery projects
  • $110 million for fundamental research
  • $20 million for ethanol research