July 12, 2013

VIA E-MAIL

Air and Radiation Docket
Docket No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2012-0401
Environmental Protection Agency
Mailcode: 6406J
1200 Pennsylvania Ave.NW.
Washington, DC 20460.

Re:

Docket ID No. EP A-HQ-OAR-2012-0401
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 78 Fed. Reg. 36042
Regulation of Fuels and Fuel Additives: RFS Pathways II and Technical Amendments to the RFS2
Standards

Dear Madams and Sirs:
Vermont Energy Investment Corporation ("the Company") appreciates this opportunity to comment on the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency's ("EPA") proposed rule published June 14, 2013, entitled "Regulation of Fuels
and Fuel Additives: RFS Pathways II and Technical Amendments to the RFS2 Standards." The Company writes in
furtherance of the attached letter to EPA Acting Administrator Perciasepe from Vermont's delegation to the United
States Congress, dated June 27, 2013.
As with the Vennont Congressional delegation, the Company applauds the proposed approval of a RIN generation
pathway for renewable electricity from landfill biogas as a first step in bringing the Renewable Fuel Standard's
("RFS") goals in line with new technology developments and recognizing the substantial benefits of electrified
transportation. The Company, however, encourages EPA to also include woody biomass and biogas from waste
digesters as feedstocks for renewable electricity in generating Advanced (D5) RINs and compressed/liquefied
natural gas in generating Cellulosic (D3) RINs. EPA already recognizes the equivalency of biogas from landfills
and waste digesters in its existing pathway for Advanced RIN generation for compressed/liquefied natural gas. As
described below, restricting the renewable electricity pathway to only biogas from landfills is unnecessarily limiting
as biogas from waste digesters used to produce renewable electricity and liquefied/compressed natural gas and
woody biomass used to produce renewable electricity also can achieve the necessary greenhouse gas ("GHG")
reductions to qualify for Advanced and Cellulosic RIN generation.
Along with the growth in vehicles sales, electric charging infrastructure is expanding as well. Enabling renewable
electricity from sources EPA has already recognized in other contexts to generate RINs when used by electric
vehicles will reinforce the private sector's investment in charging infrastructure and accelerate the adoption of
electric transportation, which is essential to meeting national goals for reducing oil dependence and cutting GHG
emissions.
Business models that create a favorable return on investment are critical to the deployment of electric vehicle
charging infrastructure. Public and workplace charging are needed to expand electric vehicle deployment. By
enabling renewable electricity to generate RINs when used by electric vehicles, a new business model for electric
vehicle charging infrastructure providers can be established. This will lower the cost of electric vehicle charging and
enable a larger scale deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure powered by renewable electricity.

CREW FOIA 2014-006851-0002011

Facilitating widespread availability of electric vehicle charging infrastructure supports the President's goal of l
million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.
Developing these pathways and enabling the generation of RINs from these sources enable wider deployment of
electric vehicle charging infrastructure and promote integration of renewable power into transportation and into the
larger grid. When these sources of electricity are used to power our vehicles, the result is reduced reliance on
imported fossil fuel, stronger local and national economies and a cleaner enviromnent.
Specifically, the Company offers the following comments below.

I.

Description of the Company's Renewable Electricity and Biogas Activities and its Potential
Role in Powering Vermont's Transportation Network

The Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC, www.veic.org) is dedicated to reducing the economic and
enviromnental costs of energy use, and to finding cost-effective ways to offset greenhouse gas emissions.
Founded in 1986, VEIC employs more than 300 professionals, with an annual budget of $85 million. It is
internationally recognized for advancing energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy plans and projects
in 35 states, 6 Canadian provinces, and 6 countries in Europe and Asia.
VEIC provides analysis, planning, evaluation, policy development, program design, management, and technical
support for projects in energy efficiency and renewable energy; transportation efficiency and mobility research; and
community energy initiatives, cost-effectiveness screening, and building codes and standards.
Currently, Vermont has 15 farm based waste digesters that process and collect the biogas emanating from waste
generated on the farms. Presently, all of these facilities combust the biogas that is collected on farm to produce
approximately 18,000 MWh of electricity. The electricity is primarily used to power homes and businesses in
Vermont. This electricity could be used to renewably power 5,000 electric vehicles in the State of Vermont
annually. Furthermore, the potential RIN generation revenue could be used to help finance other biogas collection
projects. Vermont has a potential of generating more electricity from waste digester biogas with the addition of a
new revenue source generated from RINs.
The State also has four facilities that process and combust woody biomass to produce nearly 340,000 MWh of
electricity. This electricity could be used to renewably power approximately 95,000 electric vehicles in the State of
Vermont annually.

II.

Inclusion of a Pathway for Renewable Electricity from Waste Digester Biogas

In the proposed rnlemaking, EPA states that "We do not at this point have sufficient information to evaluate the
lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions for production of renewable electricity ... from biogas from ... waste digesters.
Accordingly, we invite cmrunents providing information about these potential pathways." To this end, the Company
would like to assist EPA in gathering this data so that EPA may include electricity derived from waste digester
biogas in its finalized pathway for renewable electricity.
In a memorandum drafted by EPA in support of the pathway for renewable electricity from landfill biogas, EPA
stated:
The proposed lifecycle analysis of renewable electricity produced from landfill biogas focused on
emissions associated with production of the fuel. We did not consider any emissions from
production of the feedstock because the biogas originates from municipal solid waste. Similarly,
there are no emissions associated with transportation of the renewable electricity (although losses
are accounted for), and no tailpipe emissions, so the only significant GHG emissions are derived
from fuel production. 1

1

U.S. Enviromnental Protection Agency, Memorandum to Air and Radiation Docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2012-0401,
Support for Classification of Biofuel Produced from Landfill Biogas as Cellulosic Biofuel and Summary of
Lifecycle Analysis Assumptions and Calculations for Biofuels Produced from Landfill Biogas (May 20, 2013).
VT

CREW FOIA 2014-006851-0002012

As with the renewable electricity from landfill biogas, waste digester biogas has no emissions from: (1) the
production of the feedstock (because the biogas originates from farm and food waste); (2) the transportation of the
renewable electricity; and (3) tailpipe emissions. EPA implicitly recognized the equivalency of the two sources
when it provided a pathway for RIN generation for renewable compressed/liquefied natural gas from both landfill
gas and waste digester gas. As a result, the only potential difference in GHG emissions between renewable
electricity from digester biogas and landfill biogas should be the emissions derived from production of the "fuel"
(i.e., combustion of the biogas and conversion into electricity). Any such differences should be very minor due to
the comparable processes used to convert landfill and waste digester biogas into electricity.
While the Company recognizes that there are some minor differences between the lifecycle emissions of converting
waste digester biogas and landfill biogas into electricity as well as the GHG baseline treatment between the two
sources, the Company urges EPA to conduct the very minor additional analysis that would be required to determine
that renewable electricity from digester biogas also meets the 50 percent and 60 percent GHG reductions necessary
to qualify for Advanced Biofuel and Cellulosic Biofuel RIN generation, respectively. The Company believes that
this should not be a difficult detennination to reach as EPA determined that the real GHG reductions resulting from
using renewable electricity from landfill biogas as a transportation fuel ranged between 96 percent (landfills that
flared biogas) to 765 percent (landfills that vented biogas). 2 Such GHG reductions are far in excess of the
reductions necessary to qualify for RIN generation.
For the minor additional analysis that is required to make such a determination, the Company is available to meet
with EPA to help resolve any outstanding questions EPA may have so that it can finalize a pathway for renewable
electricity from waste digester biogas alongside its finalization of a pathway for renewable electricity from landfill
biogas. To that end, the Company suggests that the EPA utilize the data available and models of the Argonne
National Laboratory GREET model (Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation)
and the CA-GREET model, used for the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard, updated in 2012 with new vehicle
models, as a template for recognizing the multiple sources ofrenewable electricity.
As a final point with respect to renewable electricity from waste digester biogas, as with landfill biogas, the
"feedstock" used to produce the biogas is primarily cellulosic in nature. Waste digesters typically use manure from
cows and other livestock as a primary feedstock, which is the result of diet of primarily cellulosic material (e.g., hay
and alfalfa). As a result, electricity from waste digester biogas should also qualify as Cellulosic Biofuel. The
Company is available to meet with EPA to discuss data that may aid EPA in reaching this determination.
Nonetheless, the Company recognizes that EPA may need additional time and resources to conduct an analysis of
whether waste digester biogas meets the definition of a cellulosic biomass. Therefore, if an analysis of the cellulosic
content of waste digester biogas will take longer than it will take to finalize the renewable electricity pathway
generally, the Company encourages EPA to move forward with finalizing a pathway for renewable electricity from
waste digester biogas as an Advanced Biofuel alongside its finalization of renewable electricity from landfill biogas
as a Cellulosic Biofuel.

III.

Inclusion of a Pathway for Renewable Electricity from Woody Biomass

Additionally, the Company strongly encourages broadening the definition of renewable electricity and the
development of pathways for all renewable sources, including responsibly generated woody biomass. Woody
biomass is undoubtedly cellulosic in nature, and the question as to whether renewable electricity resulting from the
combustion of woody biomass qualifies as a Cellulosic, Advanced or Total Renewable Fuel is only dependent on the
associated GHG reductions.
As with the pathway for renewable electricity from waste digester biogas, the Company encourages EPA to utilize
the data available and models of the Argonne National Laboratory GREET model (Greenhouse Gases, Regulated
Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation) and the CA-GREET model, used for the California Low Carbon Fuel
Standard, updated in 2012 with new vehicle models, as a template for quantifying the GHG reductions associated
with using renewable electricity generated from woody biomass. Furthermore, the Company is available to meet
with EPA to discuss potentially available data that may aid in this determination.

CREW FOIA 2014-006851-0002013

The Company recognizes that making such a pathway determination will take longer than it will take to finalize a
pathway for renewable electricity from landfill and waste digester biogas. Therefore, the Company encourages EPA
to move forward with finalizing a pathway for renewable electricity from waste digester gas alongside its
finalization of a pathway for renewable electricity from landfill biogas in the event that the woody biomass pathway
requires significant analysis.

*

*

*

As mentioned above, the Company is available to meet and discuss this issue in detail with EPA as the Company
believes that inclusion of RIN generation pathways for renewable electricity woody biomass and biogas from waste
digesters alongside EPA's finalization of a pathway for renewable electricity from landfill biogas would
significantly further the deployment of electric vehicles in Vermont and nationally, and help the United States meet
the mandates of the RFS.

Respectfully submitted,

Karen Glitman
Director of Transportation Efficiency
Vermont Energy Investment Corporation

CREW FOIA 2014-006851-0002014

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