California Bioenergy Awarded $3 Million for Dairy Digester Cluster Project

BAC member California Bioenergy LLC (“CalBio”) announced today that The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved grant funding for CalBio’s facility that will turn dairy biogas into renewable natural gas (RNG) for transportation.

At its April meeting, the CEC approved a $3.05 million grant to assist CalBio construct its Kern Dairy Cluster Biomethane Upgrading Facility. Funding came from the CEC’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which invests in advanced alternative and renewable fuels and vehicle technologies.  According to the CEC, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) findings showed that the company’s proposed project presents no new significant or substantially more severe environmental impacts beyond those already considered and mitigated.

CalBio will build and operate a centralized biomethane upgrading facility, which will clean biogas from several existing and new dairy digesters located within CalBio’s Kern County dairy cluster and inject the biomethane into the SoCalGas pipeline.  The project is expected to initially produce 500,000 diesel gallon equivalents of RNG per year and will scale several fold over the next few years.  The dairy sourced biomethane will be used to fuel heavy-duty compressed natural gas trucks and buses.

“CalBio’s dairy digesters are proven in California.  With this upgrading facility dairy biomethane will be injected into the utility pipeline and sold as renewable compressed natural gas (R-CNG) vehicle fuel.  This will generate a significant new revenue stream for the dairy ” said Ross Buckenham, CalBio’s CEO.  “This financial support from the CEC is helping us, and our dairy farmer partners, build the first dairy R-CNG facility in the State.” he added.

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BAC Members Receive $32 of $35 Million for Dairy Digesters

In late October, the California Department of Food and Agriculture announced the recipients of $35 million in grants for dairy digester research and development.   Of the 16 projects that received CDFA funding, 15 are being developed by BAC members Anaergia, Calgren Dairy Fuels LLC, California Bioenergy, and Southern California Gas Company.  Congratulations to all !!

See CDFA’s announcement and the project descriptions.

CA Legislature Passes Bills to Reauthorize Cap & Trade, Low Carbon Fuel Standard

California’s Legislature has passed a package of bills to extend the state’s Cap & Trade program and Low Carbon Fuel Standard to 2030.  The bills passed with a 2/3 vote, which provides much greater legal certainty for the programs than they have had for the past decade.  Although California extended AB 32 with legislation – SB 32 – that passed in 2016, SB 32 passed with only a majority vote.  That was sufficient to extend regulatory programs to reduce climate pollution and to increase the required reduction to a 40 percent reduction by 2030.  The Governor wanted a 2/3 vote for extension of the Cap & Trade program, however, since it involves an optional fee to purchase allowances and could be subject to legal challenges without a 2/3 vote.

The three bills included in the 2/3 vote are:

1) AB 398 (E. Garcia) – extends Cap & Trade and the LCFS programs to 2030; states that the intent of the Legislature is that cap & Trade revenues will focus on reduction of short-lived climate pollutants and other air pollutants, healthy forests and sustainable agriculture, low and zero carbon fuels, and R&D related to clean energy and climate issues.

2) AB 617 (C. Garcia) – increases monitoring and penalty provisions for air quality protection.

3) ACA 1 – requires that an initiative be placed on the 2018 ballot that asks voters to require a 2/3 vote in 2024 to authorize expenditure of Cap & Trade revenues.

National Academy of Sciences Paper Underscores Need for Bioenergy

Some energy advocates and environmental groups have been claiming that the U.S. can meet all its energy needs with solar, wind and energy storage. The National Academy of Sciences has released a paper that criticizes that view as likely to be dangerously expensive if achievable at all. The NAS paper strongly recommends the inclusion of bioenergy in a low carbon portfolio to provide power that is easily dispatchable (available when needed) and that can be carbon negative.

Download the 6-page paper by the National Academy of Sciences:  NAS – Need for diverse portfolio to decarbonize

World Leaders in Bioenergy

The San Francisco Chronicle printed a Letter to the Editor by BAC’s Executive Director about the benefits of bioenergy for grid stability, to reduce landfilling and prevent burning of organic waste.  The LTE focuses on Germany and Denmark, where bioenergy provides a much larger share of the countries’ renewable power than in California.

See World Leaders in Bioenergy – SF Chronicle LTE

All Power Labs Featured in Sierra Magazine

Sierra Magazine, the magazine of the national Sierra Club, features an article about Tom Price, Director of Strategic Initiatives for All Power Labs.  In the article, Tom explains the many benefits of gasification of organic waste, how the technology works and why its starting to take off in California.

Read the article here.


Sacramento Bee OpEd – Why We Need Renewable Gas

George Minter, Senior Vice President of SoCalGas, explains that California needs to keep investing in its gas infrastructure and, especially, in renewable gas to meet the state’s climate goals. Capturing biomethane from landfills, dairies and wastewater treatment facilities, as well as new facilities to produce biogas from organic waste, is critical to provide the lowest carbon fuels, renewable pipeline gas and renewable power that is available when wind and solar are not.

Read the full Opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee.

CR&R, SoCalGas Near Completion of Pipeline Biogas Project

CR&R and Southern California Gas Company are nearing completion of a pipeline biogas project that will transmit carbon negative biogas from CR&R’s facility in Perris, Riverside County to SoCalGas customers.  The CR&R facility is converting food and yard waste to biogas that can be used as a transportation fuel, for power generation, heating, cooling, cooking and other purposes.  Since the gas is generated from organic waste that would otherwise be landfilled, it is reducing methane emissions from landfills and emissions from the fossil fuels that is replaces, making it carbon negative.  When used in ultra-low emissions trucks, like CR&R’s waste trucks, it can cut air pollution and toxic air contaminants by more than 90 percent and can cut climate pollution by more than 100 percent.

Read more about CR&R and SoCalGas Pipeline Biogas Project

The Climate Trust Issues Report on Clean Energy Jobs

The Climate Trust, a BAC member, has assessed job growth and losses by energy sector, state and region of the country.  Its findings make clear that states with clean energy requirements and carbon policies are creating large numbers of new jobs – far more than are being lost in the coal industry, which has been shrinking for decades.  Nationwide, clean energy jobs have increased more than 400 percent just since 2010, from 175,000 jobs then to 800,000 jobs now, with the biggest gains in rural areas of the country.

Read the full article here.

BAC Member Sierra Energy Wins Roddenberry Prize!!

Sierra Energy has been awarded a prestigious Roddenberry Prize for its innovative FastOx system that converts waste to energy.  Sierra Energy is building a new waste to energy facility on the U.S. Army’s Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County, which will be commissioned later this year, to help the Army meet its zero waste and zero net energy goals.  Sierra has several other waste to energy projects in development in California.

To learn more about the Roddenberry Prize and Sierra Energy, click here.

imageFHL Jan 2017