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Investment in Cellulosic Biofuel Refineries: Do Renewable Identification Numbers Matter?

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A floor and trade policy in Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) is the market mechanism by which U.S. biofuel consumption mandates are met. A conceptual model is developed to study the impact of RINs on stimulating investment in cellulosic biofuel refineries. In a two-period framework, we compare the first-period investment level (FIL) in three scenarios: (1) laissez-faire, (2) RINs under a nonwaivable mandate (NWM) policy, and (3) RINs under a waivable mandate (WM) policy. Results show that when firm-level marginal costs are constants, then RINs under WM policy do not stimulate FIL but they do increase the expected profit of more efficient investors. When firm-level marginal costs are not constants, however, RINs under WM policy stimulate FIL. RINs under NWM policy may or may not stimulate FIL, depending on the distribution of second-period cellulosic biofuel prices and on firm-level marginal costs. Key words: cellulosic biofuels, investment, Renewable Identification Numbers, waivable mandate

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Paper provided by Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University in its series Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications with number 10-wp514.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:10-wp514

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  1. Harry de Gorter & David R. Just, 2008. "The Economics of a Blend Mandate for Biofuels," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(3), pages 738-750.
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  1. Wang, Xiaolei & Ouyang, Yanfeng & Yang, Hai & Bai, Yun, 2013. "Optimal biofuel supply chain design under consumption mandates with renewable identification numbers," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 158-171.

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