April 11, 2021     

DATA DIVE: Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard Review

The wealth of information available to today’s energy professionals can seem overwhelming at times. With so much coming at you at once, where should you direct your attention? Each issue,’s Data Dive features one informational report, study or survey worthy of closer inspection.

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A new report projects liquid biofuels could reduce Massachusetts carbon emissions by nearly 90 million metric tons by 2030
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On October 30, 2020, Daymark Energy Advisors submitted its review of the Massachusetts Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (APS) to the state’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER). The APS is an incentive program that rewards the use of clean, high-efficiency energy technologies, including biofuel-blended heating oil. To be considered eligible for the program, a heating oil blend must contain at least 10 percent eligible liquid biofuel, such as biodiesel that comes from approved feedstocks like used cooking oil or animal fats.

The Daymark report finds that liquid biofuels have been one of the most widely utilized alternative energy technologies under the APS since they were introduced to the program in late 2017. For example, eligible liquid biofuels generated some 300,000 Alternative Energy Credits in 2018, approximately 16 percent of the total supply.  

“Given that liquid biofuels can be used in a customer’s existing boiler with no upfront investment, liquid biofuels could serve as a bridge to a low carbon future,” the report states. “Current oil system customers could reduce their emissions by switching to a biofuel blend that is more than the traditional B5 blend that is widely distributed in this region today.”

Under a projected scenario whereby the share of liquid biofuels in the APS program is ramped up to 20 percent, Daymark projects emission reductions of nearly 90 million metric tons of CO2 by 2030.

Currently, soybean oil-based biodiesel does not qualify for the APS program, and though the Daymark report does not explicitly mention expanding the program to include soybean oil as an approved feedstock, this is one such amendment that DOER may consider as it conducts its ongoing annual review.

In the meantime, biofuel industry stakeholders interested in learning about the Massachusetts APS can find more information on the program website. Additionally, DOER has shared a virtual seminar on the reporting procedure and best practices for eligible liquid biofuel suppliers, wholesalers and distributors.