CPUC to Consider Revising Pipeline Biogas Standards

California has some of the strictest pipeline biogas requirements in the country, which can add significantly to the costs of pipeline biogas projects.  As a result, the state enacted legislation in 2016 requiring the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) to review the standards for the heating value (BTU) and siloxanes.  The CCST report recommends that the CPUC consider reducing the BTU requirement to as low as 970.  CCST recommends further study on the siloxanes standard and suggests that monitoring requirements be reduced for biogas sources that are unlikely to have siloxanes (diverted organic waste, dairy, forest and agricultural waste).

Click here to see the CCST study and executive summary.

Governor, Legislature Agree on $1.4 Billion Cap & Trade Investment Plan

The Governor and Legislature have reached agreement on how to spend $1.4 billion in Cap & Trade auction revenues.  The bioenergy related funding allocations in the Cap & Trade Investment Plan are:

  • $175 million for clean vehicle rebate program
  • $180 million for clean trucks, buses and offroad vehicles
  • $112 million for agricultural diesel engine replacement
  • $12.5 million for low carbon fuel production
  • $5 million for Healthy Soils
  • $210 million for healthy forests and forest carbon
  • $99 million for dairy methane reduction
  • $25 million for waste diversion
  • $40 million for transformative climate communities/research

This is the full Cap & Trade Investment Plan 2018-19

CPUC Orders Utilities to Execute BioMAT Contracts

Despite numerous Orders and direction from CPUC staff, PG&E and the other utilities were delaying executing a dozen BioMAT contracts that have been pending since last fall.  The CPUC rejected a motion by PG&E to suspend the BioMAT program, but then PG&E claimed that a federal court decision on the ReMAT program justified the utility’s continuing refusal to sign BioMAT contracts.  After reviewing the Winding Creek decision and parties’ comments on it, the CPUC ordered the utilities – yet again – to continue BioMAT contract execution.  The CPUC issued Resolution E-4922 on March 22, ordering PG&E and other utilities to continue BioMAT procurement and contract execution.

See CPUC’s Revised BioMAT Resolution (E-4992)

BAC Comments on Proposed LCFS Changes

BAC provided comments on several of the proposed changes to the LCFS that would adversely affect the instate biomethane industry, including a proposed reduction in the 2020 target, proposed change to biomethane that would require it to meet pipeline standards whether or not it will be injected into a utility pipeline, carbon intensities for temporary fuel pathways that are much higher than the actual carbon intensities for biomethane projects, and other changes.

See BAC Comments on Proposed LCFS changes

Air Resources Board Proposes LCFS Amendments

Thee California Air Resources Board has proposed major changes to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, including changes to the 2020 and 2030 targets for carbon intensity, changes to the definition of “biomethane,” temporary carbon intensity levels for various types of fuels, and other changes that could have major impacts on biomethane development in California.

See ARB Proposed Amends to LCFS Rules

BAC Supports Phoenix Energy Motion to Compel PG&E

Despite repeated orders from the CPUC telling PG&E that it does not have the authority to suspend BioMAT procurement, PG&E has tried yet again by announcing that it will not sign BioMAT contracts until a federal court case involving the ReMAT has been resolved.  That could be years.  Meanwhile, the CPUC has ordered PG&E to continue BioMAT procurement, but PG&E will not sign any new BioMAT contracts until the CPUC orders it – yet again – to do so.

Fortunately, Phoenix Energy filed a motion to compel PG&E to execute BioMAT contracts.  BAC filed this joint response with the California Association of Sanitation Agencies, Placer County Air Pollution Control District, and Aries Clean Energy in support of Phoenix Energy’s motion.

R. 11-05-005 Joint Response to Phoenix Motion to Compel

PG&E’s Motion to Suspend BioMAT

In the early days of the BioMAT proceeding, PG&E asked the California Public Utilities Commission for the authority to suspend the BioMAT if PG&E suspected market manipulation or other problems with the program.  The CPUC rejected PG&E’s request in no uncertain terms, saying that to give PG&E that authority would remove the Commission’s own responsibility for oversight of the program (and the utility).  Despite the Commission’s clear reject of PG&E’s proposal, PG&E announced on December 1, 2017 that it would suspend BioMAT procurement effective December 31.

Read the PG&E MotiontoSuspendBioMAT

BAC Petitions CPUC to Revise BioMAT Program

BAC has petitioned the CPUC to modify the BioMAT program to meet the requirement of SB 1122 to procure 250 MW of bioenergy from new, small-scale bioenergy facilities.  BAC has asked the CPUC to remove or extend the BioMAT program end date, since SB 1122 contained no end date or offramp of any kind.   BAC also asked the CPUC to make changes to the BioMAT decision that will help to reduce interconnection costs and timelines.

To read BAC’s Petition to the CPUC and its reply to comments on the Petition, click below.

BAC Petition to Modify BioMAT Decision

BAC’s Reply to Responses to its Petition to Modify BioMAT Decision