Iowa renewable fuel recovery program introduced

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig recently introduced the Renewable Fuel Retailer Recovery Program to help gas stations, truck stops and other fuel retailers recover from lost demand caused by COVID-19. Iowa fuel retailers that dispense, or have plans to dispense, ethanol blends of E15 or higher or biodiesel blends of B11 or higher, and biodiesel terminal facilities are eligible to apply for the relief funds. Gov. Reynolds has allocated $7 million of CARES Act money to support the Renewable Fuel Retailer Recovery Program.

As Americans began spending more time at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, fuel demands dropped drastically. As a result, more than 70 ethanol plants across the country idled and 70 more cut production capacity, jeopardizing jobs in rural communities and further reducing commodity prices. As of April 10, national ethanol production had dropped 44% compared to the same time in 2019, according to a report by the Renewable Fuels Association.

To qualify, applicants must demonstrate a COVID-19-related business interruption or a loss of business income related to COVID-19. Projects considered may include, but are not limited to, expenses incurred for the construction, installation, upgrade and retrofit of equipment associated with the sale of renewable fuels. Replacement equipment must dispense a higher percentage blend of ethanol or biodiesel than the existing equipment, for example, dispense E15 instead of E10.

Retailers may be awarded up to a $30,000 grant per project and may submit applications for more than one project. Application forms can be downloaded at Applications should be submitted electronically to [email protected]. The department will begin reviewing applications on Sept. 14, 2020. Additional project applications will be accepted as long as funds remain.

Questions about the program should be directed to Paul Ovrom, the program administrator, at 515-242-6239 or [email protected].