BAC and CASA filed joint comments fully supporting the CPUC’s Proposed Decision on changes to pipeline biogas standards and urged the Commission to begin a new phase to consider additional incentives for pipeline biogas and a biogas procurement program that includes all sources and conversion technologies.
BAC sponsored legislation in 2016 that required the CPUC to hire the California Council on Science and Technology to review California’s pipeline biogas standards for heating value (BTU) and siloxanes. CCST has recommended several changes, which the CPUC is now proposing to adopt:
- Reduce the heating value requirement from 990 to 970 BTU.
- Maintain the siloxanes requirement.
- Reducing the siloxanes monitoring and reporting requirements for biogas sources that are unlikely to contain siloxanes.
- Allow blending in certain locations where lower BTU biogas would not present safety risks.
BAC’s Comments on the CPUC’s BioMAT staff proposal focus on the need to accelerate BioMAT implementation to reduce climate pollution, landfilling, and burning of organic waste. BAC also recommends streamlining interconnection and adopting additional incentives to accelerate BioMAT project development.
CPUC staff has proposed some major changes to the BioMT program, including a five-year extension of the program from 2021 to 2026, changes to the pricing mechanism, fuel requirements in the forest BioMAT category, contract changes due to interconnection delays, and more. Comments on the Staff Proposal are due to the CPUC on November 29.
In recent amendments to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, the California Air Resources Board has proposed giving Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credit to hydrogen and electric vehicle fueling stations, whether or not they provide low carbon fuels and regardless of the carbon intensity of the hydrogen or power provided. BAC and other biofuels producers submitted a joint letter objecting to this proposal as it would undercut the core strength of the LCFS program, which is based solely on the lifecycle carbon intensity of fuels. Picking technology winners and losers takes away the performance (science) based foundation of the LCFS program and makes if far less likely to achieve the state’s carbon and petroleum reduction goals.
In late August, the California Legislature passed SB 100 (de Leon), which increases California’s renewable electricity (RPS) requirement from 50 to 60 percent by 2030. SB 100 also requires the California Public Utilities Commission to plan for 100 percent of the state’s electricity to come from RPS eligible or zero carbon power by 2045. These two provisions will help to keep renewable power growing in California and will force the CPUC to plan for a more diverse portfolio of resources to meet the 100 percent target in 2045.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has reopened its proceeding on pipeline biomethane to reconsider the current standards and incentive programs for pipeline biomethane. Legislation that BAC sponsored in 2016 required the CPUC to hire the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) to review pipeline standards for heating value (BTU) and siloxanes. CCST issued its report earlier this summer recommending a number of changes and the CPUC then asked parties to comment on CCST’s recommendations as well as a number of other issues related to incentives for biomethane. The CPUC is expected to rule on these issues before the end the year. BAC’s Reply Comments on Pipeline Biomethane focus on several key issues:
- Need to adopt a biomethane procurement requirement that focuses on instate biomethane production from all organic waste sectors and conversion technologies.
- Need to increase incentives for pipeline biomethane, including an allocation of the gas utilities’ Cap & Trade revenues and an increase in R&D for biomethane.
- Support for the California Council on Science and Technology’s recommendations to revise the standards and monitoring requirements for BTU and siloxanes.
See BAC’s Comments on proposed changes to pipeline biomethane standards, opportunities for additional funding for pipeline biomethane, and the need for a biomethane procurement program. These were filed with the CPUC in late July 2018.
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.