CalMatters: CA Needs Bioenergy and Green Hydrogen for Reliability

CalMatters has published an opinion piece by BAC’s Executive Director that highlights the need for bioenergy and green hydrogen to maintain a reliable and renewable power grid.  The piece underscores the importance of bioenergy and green hydrogen to complement solar, wind and batteries, to provide long duration energy storage and flexible generation power, and to provide renewable fuel for microgrids and backup generators.  The piece makes clear that California can have a 100 percent renewably powered grid, but needs both bioenergy and green hydrogen to ensure that power supplies remain reliable.

See the CalMatters piece here.

Environmental Law News Article on Importance of Bioenergy

BAC’s Executive Director, Julia Levin, wrote an article on why bioenergy is so important for California, published this spring in the Environmental Law News, a twice yearly publication of the California Lawyers Association.  The article describes the importance of bioenergy for meeting California’s climate, air quality, and clean energy goals, the history of bioenergy in California, the obstacles, and what needs to be done to accelerate development of sustainable bioenergy.

Download the article here:

Environmental Law News, Vol. 28, No. 1

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.