Michigan bill would incentivize SAF production

Legislation proposed in Michigan could expedite the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

During a recent Senate Energy and Environment committee hearing, Delta Airlines chief sustainability officer Amelia DeLuca says the future of the aviation industry depends on a decarbonization plan.

“I do not think electrification will power an aircraft anywhere in the next 100 years,” she says. “Sustainable aviation fuel is the solution and will be the solution for quite some time.”

She says Delta alone is expected to increase usage from three million gallons of the fuel to four billion gallons over the next two decades.

State Senator Sam Singh is the bill sponsor.

“States like Washington, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Montana have already adopted such tax credit programs and we think that Michigan should be one of the next states to do that,” he says.

Senate Bill 447 provides a $1.50 per gallon tax credit for those who buy, produce, or blend sustainable aviation fuel. The credit would increase to $2 per gallon with additional greenhouse gas reductions.

Kent Hartwig with the sustainable aviation fuel producer Gevo says proximity to end users reduces the fuel’s carbon intensity score and incentives in the bill would set Michigan apart.

“With abundant Michigan corn, the likelihood of a facility being built here is substantial,” he says. “Other programs in Illinois and Minnesota do not give additional credit for proximity. Because the bill will require the direct use of SAF at Michigan airports, you will see air pollution reductions.”

John Delmotte serves on the National Corn Growers Association’s market development committee and as the Michigan Corn Growers Association vice president.  He says farmers need additional markets to stay competitive.

“We have some major cash flow challenges kind of looking us in the face,” he shares. “We’ve had a 35% reduction in our price of corn from a year ago.”

He says an idle ethanol plant in Riga, less than an hour from the Detroit Metro Airport, has the potential to produce SAF and benefit rural communities while meeting the state’s climate goals.

The Michigan Agri-Business Association, Michigan Farm Bureau, and Growth Energy were also among groups supporting the measure.

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