Air Board Adopts Plan to Phase Out Open Burning of Agricultural Waste in San Joaquin Valley

In late February, the California Air Resources Board approved a plan to phase out the open burning of agricultural waste in the San Joaquin Valley, California’s largest agricultural region.  Open burning, which has increased nearly 500% in the past several years, is a major source of air and climate pollution in the Valley.  In fact, open burning of agricultural and forest waste is one of the largest sources of black carbon emissions – a powerful Short-Lived Climate Pollutant that is 3200 times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide and is also very harmful to public health, crops, forests, and more.

The Air Board’s plan calls specifically for:

  • A Clean Biomass/Bioenergy Collaborative across state agencies
  • Increased funding for bioenergy and other alternatives to open burning
  • Increased production of liquid and gaseous fuels from agricultural waste

See:  CARB Approved Plan to Phase Out Ag Burning (Feb2021)

Governor Proposes California’s 2021-22 Budget

Governor Newsom has released his budget proposal for the remainder of FY 2021 and the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.  The Governor has proposed increased funding for wildfire mitigation, including funding for the use of forest waste, and for heavy duty vehicles.  The proposed budget also includes funding for Healthy Soils, agricultural engine replacement, restoration of natural lands, and a Climate Catalyst Fund to provide low cost financing for clean energy development and other purposes.  Unfortunately, the proposed budget does not include funding for organic waste diversion or dairy digesters.

The Governor’s January budget proposal is available here.

CPUC Votes to Re-Authorize EPIC Program

The CPUC voted unanimously to re-authorize the Electricity Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program for another ten years.  EPIC has provided about $165 million per year for the past decade to a variety of clean energy research, development, deployment, and market facilitation projects.  Many small-scale bioenergy projects have received EPIC funding to demonstrate new technologies, better quantify greenhouse gas reductions and other environmental benefits, improve pollution controls, and more.  In the past, the California Energy Commission has administered 80% of the EPIC funds and the utilities have administered the other 20%.  The CPUC’s Proposed Decision only re-authorizes the 80% of funding administered by the Energy Commission.  It will consider what the major funding categories should be and whether to re-authorize the utilties’ portion of funding in the next phase of the proceeding.

See CPUC’s Proposed Decision on EPIC Reauthorization, which was adopted on August 28.

BAC Comments on EPIC Re-Authorization

The CPUC has launched a proceeding to consider whether to re-authorize the $165 million per year Electricity Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program.  The program was created by the CPUC in 2012 to replace the Public Goods Charge.  The California Energy Commission and electric utilities administer the program, which is focused on clean energy R&D, technology demonstration and deployment, and market facilitation.  EPIC funding has helped accelerate development of next generation bioenergy projects, using cleaner and more efficient technologies and producing beneficial byproducts like biochar.  EPIC funding has also helped to better quantify and reduce emissions from bioenergy facilities to continue to increase the benefits and minimize impacts.

See, R.19-10-005 BAC Comments on EPIC Scoping Memo

CEC Announces Funding Opportunity for Bioenergy

The California Energy Commission has announced $23 million in new funding opportunities for forest and food waste to energy projects.  As part of the Commission’s Electricity Program Investment Charge (EPIC), the CEC has just announced the availability of:

  • $10 million for forest waste to electricity projects (that take waste from High Hazard Zones)
  • $8 million for food waste to energy projects; and
  • $5 million for Applied R&D for woody biomass to energy projects.

The Deadline for Written Questions: July 29, 2016, 5:00 p.m.
Deadline to Submit Abstracts (Phase 1): August 29, 2016, by 3:00 p.m.
Deadline to Submit Applications (Phase 2): December 16, 2016, by 3:00 p.m.

To see the full funding announcement, click here.

Governor Proposes Big Increases in Bioenergy Funding

Governor Brown has released his proposed budget for 2016-17, including his plan for spending over $3 billion in cap and trade revenues.  The cap and trade investment plan includes nearly $200 million in funding for organic waste diversion, dairy digesters, healthy soils, biofuels, low carbon freight, forest biomass and other areas related to bioenergy.  If adopted by the Legislature these investments will provide an important boost to the growing bioenergy market in California.

To see the Governor’s proposed budget, click here.

EPIC Funding for Technology Deployment (Aug2014)

PON-14-305_00_Solicitation_Manual_Bioenergy

The purpose of this solicitation is to fund technology demonstration and deployment projects that demonstrate and appraise the operational and performance characteristics of pre-commercial biomass conversion technologies, generation systems, and development strategies.1
This solicitation builds on previous public and private research and seeks to address the issues limiting full-scale commercial deployment of biopower and biogas electricity generation technologies.  This solicitation focuses on biopower and biogas electricity generation demonstration and deployment activities that address the highest priority issues identified by stakeholders. Projects must fall within the following project groups:
Group 1: Advanced Pollution Control Equipment and Low Emission Generators;
Group 2: Fuel Handling and Delivery Systems or Technologies;
Group 3: Biochemical Conversion Technologies or Deployment Strategies;
Group 4: Thermochemical Conversion Technologies or Deployment Strategies.

EPIC Funding for R&D (Aug2014)

PON-14-303_00_Solicitation_Manual(2)

The purpose of this solicitation is to fund applied research and development activities to increase the technical performance and value of distributed biopower and photovoltaic technologies. Awards will support development, lab-scale, and pilot-scale demonstrations of pre-commercial technologies and strategies that are designed to solve specific problems in the electricity sector. This solicitation includes four distinct applied research and development (ARD) focus project groups, including two groups focused on bioenergy:
1) Modular Bioenergy Systems for Forest/Urban Interface Areas
2) Waste-to-Energy Bioenergy Systems