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

BAC / TSS Consultants’ Article in “Biomass Monitor”

See the Opinion Piece in Biomass Monitor on “Forest Biomass Utilization Combatting Catastrophic Wildfires,” written by Julia Levin of BAC and Tad Mason of TSS Consultants.  The piece explains that catastrophic wildfires are not natural or good for California forests, emit huge quantities of black carbon and other pollutants and threaten California water supplies.  Forest fuel treatment and use of that biomass to produce energy can help restore healthy, more resilient forests and cut pollution from wildfires and fossil fuel power generation.

 

California Passes Major Bioenergy, Climate Legislation

2016 has been a huge year for bioenergy and climate legislation.  BAC and its members helped to pass several important bills to significantly increase renewable gas production and use, increase incentives and revise standards for pipeline biogas, remove barriers to interconnection for small-scale bioenergy projects, extend the state’s climate and low carbon fuels programs to 2030, and set targets for the reduction of methane, black carbon and other Short-Lived (Super) Climate Pollutants.

The bioenergy and climate bills that passed are:

  • SB 1383 (Lara) – A major amendment, based on legislation that BAC sponsored, requires adoption of policies and incentives to significantly increase renewable gas production and use. The bill also requires a 75% diversion of organic waste by 2025 and various measures to reduce methane emissions from dairies.
  • SB 32 (Pavley) – Requires a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and extends the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and other important climate programs.
  • AB 2313 (Williams) – BAC sponsored this important bill which increases the incentive for pipeline biogas interconnection from $1.5 to $3 million per project, and up to $5 million for a dairy digester cluster project. The bill also requires the CPUC to consider rate-basing and other options to promote pipeline biogas once the current incentive program expires.
  • SB 840 (Section 9) – Removes a fatal barrier to small- scale forest bioenergy projects, by revising the interconnection requirements for forest BioMAT projects (3 MW and smaller forest biomass to electricity projects). The bill removes the exorbitant deposits required to remain in the interconnection queue while forest BioMAT projects wait to obtain a contract with the utility.
  • SB 840 (Section 11) – Based on legislation that BAC sponsored, this provision addresses the pipeline biogas standards for BTU (heating value) and siloxanes. The bill requires the CPUC to hire the California Council on Science and Technology to review and make recommendations to revise the pipeline biogas standards for BTU and siloxanes.

Sacramento Bee Op-Ed on Governor’s Emergency Order

The Sacramento Bee published an opinion piece by BAC’s Executive Director and Tuolumne County Supervisor Hanvelt on the need for the CPUC to move more quickly on bioenergy development under the Governor’s Emergency Order.   The op-ed underscores the importance of forest biomass facilities to protect public safety and the many benefits to ratepayers and the public of converting California’s millions of dead trees to energy.  To see the opinion piece, click here.

More than 66 Million Dead Trees in Southern Sierras

The California Department of Forests and Fire (CalFire) now estimates that there are more than 66 million dead trees in the Southern Sierras alone, with many additional dead trees throughout California.  According to CalFire, the number of dead trees has increased from 3.3 million in 2014 to 29 million in 2015 and now more than 66 million in just six counties.  The huge increase in tree mortality is due to a combination of drought, climate change and bark beetles.  The Governor’s Emergency Proclamation on Tree Mortality calls for removal of dead and dying trees in High Hazard Zones and conversion to bioenergy and other beneficial uses.   To learn more, see CalFire’s news release.

BAC members receive more than $25 million in grants from the California Energy Commission!

Over the past few weeks, BAC members received more than $25 million in grants awarded from the California Energy Commission’s Electricity Program Investment Charge (EPIC).  The grants will help to fund bioenergy projects that convert dairy, forestry and urban organic waste to clean, renewable electricity.  BAC members that received grant funding include California Bioenergy, the City of San Jose, Clean World, Phoenix Energy, Recology, The Watershed Center, and West Biofuels.  Together, these grants will help to demonstrate a variety of bioenergy technologies and to commercialize  community scale- bioenergy projects.  These projects will also help California to meet its goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase recycling, protect air and water quality, and reduce wildfire hazards.

Inside Cal/EPA reports on Renewable Gas Standard

Bioenergy Industry Seeks Bill Requiring Renewable Natural Gas Standard appeared in Inside Cal/EPA and reports on BAC’s recent report proposing a renewable gas standard.

Excerpt from the article:  Bioenergy industry representatives are working on both administrative and legislative proposals that would require California to adopt a novel renewable natural gas standard (RGS), modeled on the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS), an approach the industry says would cut greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation and transportation fuels.

The industry is making its case in a new report that calls for California to adopt an RGS requiring 1 percent of the state’s natural gas to be renewable – derived from landfills, wastewater treatment plants and other sources – by 2020, rising to 10 percent in 2030.

Read the Inside Cal/EPA article here.

Read BAC’s report: Decarbonizing the Gas Sector: Why California Needs a Renewable Gas Standard.

 

Inside Cal/EPA is an exclusive weekly report on environmental legislation, regulation and litigation from the publishers of Inside EPA.