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#61. Brendan Jordan of Great Plains Institute on the Midwest Clean Fuels Policy

05.24.21 | Podcast | By:

For this video podcast, I spoke to Brendan Jordan, Vice President Transportation and Fuels at the Great Plains Institute (GPI). We spoke about GPI’s work in developing the Midwest Clean Fuels Policy and how he sees low carbon fuels evolving in the Midwestern states. Following are a couple of excerpts from our discussion, which you can view or download below, or listen to in ITunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts or TuneIn.

On the Stakeholder Engagement Process for the Clean Fuels Policy Whitepaper:

“There’s this feeling that the Midwestern states have shown a lot of leadership on clean fuel policies, and here’s an opportunity for us to step up and show some more leadership, and really design a program that’s tailored to the Midwest. So, that’s what led to that whitepaper. It was released in January of 2020 after a literally two-year stakeholder engagement process that included the American Coalition for Ethanol, one of the co-founders of the process. We also had the Renewable Fuels Association, a number of individual biofuel producers, the National Biodiesel Board, National Corn and a number of state ag commodity groups. We also had groups like ChargePoint, a variety of groups in the electric utility sector, in the electric vehicle industry and automakers. We had this interesting broad coalition of groups that aren’t always working together.”

On the Potential for Legislatures to Adopt Clean Fuel Policies:

“I would say under the radar, there is interest and momentum in a number of states. We’ve seen clean fuel policies show up in governor-convened climate and energy taskforce reports in Wisconsin, in Illinois, and there’s similar processes taking place in other states, and there’s also sort of stakeholder-led initiatives. So, nothing’s turned into legislation yet, but I would be shocked if there aren’t multiple states with clean fuels legislation in 2022, just given the level of interest we’re seeing around the region.”

On What the Modeling Underlying the Policy Whitepaper Revealed:

“First, the modeling strongly endorses this idea that it’s going to take a portfolio approach. So, we modeled different carbon intensity targets. We modeled 10%, 15%, and 20% carbon intensity reduction by 2035. We found that all of those scenarios were feasible. Twenty percent might be a bit of a stretch, but it’s doable, and sort of the further you do, the more you need to draw on not just increase biofuel blending, but carbon intensity reductions from the biofuel producers, so it’s not just more ethanol, but lower-carbon ethanol. You do need some pretty optimistic assumptions, but I’m an optimist about electric vehicle adoption.


One of the things we found too, is that we didn’t really find that the sectors were in competition with each other, and really, the key here is we can have pretty high-level electric vehicle adoption. Even though that results in shrinking of the gasoline and diesel pool, as long as you can stay ahead of that with increasing blends, then you can still have a growing biofuels sector alongside growing EV adoption.”


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