Misinformation and lack of understanding about the costs and benefits of biofuels hinder market growth in many states. The industry requires strong leadership to bring stakeholders together, provide critical information about costs, and facilitate large-scale deployment throughout a state. Creating a state-based biofuel association would help cultivate strong leadership, educate policymakers, foster strategic public-private relationships, and identify opportunities for growth. State policymakers could look to Iowa and Nebraska for examples of effective biofuel state associations.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) has successfully overcome the information barrier in Iowa. IRFA’s mission is to “foster the development and growth of the state’s renewable fuels industry through education, promotion, and infrastructure development.” Although the organization is funded by membership fees, its extensive online resources are available to the public. Relevant resources are provided for producers, retailers, and current or potential consumers. By sharing information with all stakeholders, IRFA contributes to a well-integrated economy with a high level of demand and supply. With more than 3 billion gallons produced in 2015, Iowa leads the nation in ethanol production. Nebraska—ranked second in the country in ethanol production—has created a similar one-stop shop for information on biofuels. The Nebraska Renewable Energy Association (NeREA) provides startup process overviews, state regulatory and tax information, and a biodiesel feasibility study calculator.
A dedicated biofuels association could stimulate the state’s biofuel sector by helping businesses gain a more comprehensive understanding of the industry. The association could manage online resources, trainings, and conferences, which would inform interested parties about the potential of biofuels within the state and connect companies with other industry leaders.