CPUC programs related to distributed generation resources.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The CPUC has taken an important step in reducing the cost uncertainties and variability facing bioenergy developers. In late June, the Commission adopted a “Cost Envelope Approach” to interconnection costs for distributed generation (electricity) projects that prevents utilities from increasing interconnection costs more than 25 percent between the initial estimate and final costs to interconnect. The Decision also requires greater transparency so that, over time, costs should begin to go down for distributed generation bioenergy projects. To learn more, click on the Final Decision, below.