SF Chronicle: Reduce Super Pollutants

Reduce super pollutants

The authors of “Carbon neutral not good enough” (Open Forum, July 31) are correct that we need to accelerate our climate goals, but they miss two critical issues: Reductions in carbon dioxide do not benefit the climate for several decades and there are much more urgent steps to cool the climate right away. It is far more urgent to focus on measures that begin to reverse climate change now.

Reducing climate super pollutants methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons benefits the climate and public health right away. These pollutants are tens to thousands of times more damaging to the climate than the carbon dioxide emitted by fossil fuel burning, but they only stay in the atmosphere a short time, so cutting their emissions benefits the climate immediately. We can cut these super pollutants by eliminating diesel use, converting organic waste to energy, and reducing wildfires and open burning of agricultural waste. We absolutely should phase out fossil fuels. But to avert the crisis that is already upon us, we need to focus much more on reducing methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons. Climate scientists agree that reducing these climate super pollutants is the last lever we have left to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Julia Levin, Kensington

The Letter to the Editor is available online (second letter) here.


New Fact Sheet Highlights Job Benefits of Bioenergy

See the new Bioenergy and Jobs Fact Sheet developed by Gladstein, Neandross & Associates for BAC and CNGVP.  The fact sheet highlights the jobs and other economic benefits that bioenergy provides from a range of organic waste sources and bioenergy end uses, including electricity generation, pipeline biogas, carbon negative vehicle fuels, and more.

Bakersfield Californian: Bioenergy Interest Heats up in Kern County

The Bakersfield Californian article highlights the many benefits of bioenergy production, from job creation to reduce air and climate pollution.  It highlights the growth of bioenergy projects in Kern County and the opportunities for bioenergy from all organic waste sectors.

Read the article here.

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.