BAC Comments on the CPUC’s Biomethane Procurement Proposal

BAC submitted comments on the CPUC’s Staff Proposal on Biomethane Procurement.  The Staff Proposal recommends requiring California’s gas utilities to procure 75 billion cubic feet of biomethane annually by 2030.  That only represents 4 percent of California’s total gas use.  By comparison, state law requires that 60 percent of California’s electricity come from renewable resources by 2030.  In comments on the Staff Proposal, BAC urges the Commission to:

  • Increase the biomethane procurement target to 150 BCF to help meet the state’s climate, clean energy, waste and wildfire reduction goals.
  • Include all eligible organic waste feedstocks.
  • Base program prices on the carbon intensity of the biomethane to prioritize the lowest carbon sources that help reduce climate super pollutants (Short-Lived Climate Pollutants).
  • Offer additional incentives to maximize the carbon reductions and other benefits of the program

To read BAC’s detailed comments, see R.13-02-008 BAC Comments on Phase 4A Staff Proposal

CPUC Proposes Biomethane Procurement Program

In June, the CPUC released a draft Staff Proposal on biomethane procurement.  The proposal recommends requiring the gas utilities to procure 75 billion cubic feet of biomethane annually by 2030, primarily from organic waste that is diverted from landfills and from landfill gas.  The Staff Proposal also recommends the inclusion of two pilot projects that convert forest waste to biomethane, which will help the state to meet its wildfire and black carbon reduction goals.  Unfortunately, the Staff Proposal excludes biomethane from dairy waste and does not address agricultural waste or urban wood waste at all.

See, CPUC’s Biomethane Procurement Staff Proposal

 

CPUC Issues Proposed Decision on Voluntary RNG Tariff

The CPUC has issued a Proposed Decision that would adopt a voluntary tariff for customers of SoCalGas and SDG&E to choose to purchase biomethane.  The tariff requires that at least half of the biomethane purchased by the utilities is generated in California and half of that portion must come from sources other than landfill gas to help California meet is Short-Lived Climate Pollutant and waste reduction goals.  The tariff will include biomethane generate from biomass conversion (gasification and pyrolysis) as well as the biomethane from anaerobic digestion of organic waste.  The Proposed Decision would approve the voluntary tariff as a three-year pilot program and will then assess whether to make it permanent or replace with a biomethane procurement program.

See:  Proposed Decision on voluntary RNG tariff

BAC-CASA Comments on CPUC’s Proposed Pipeline Biogas Decision

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.

See R.13-02-008 Joint BAC-CASA Comments on Proposed Decision

CPUC Proposes Revised Pipeline Biogas Standards

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:

  1. Reduce the heating value requirement from 990 to 970 BTU.
  2. Maintain the siloxanes requirement.
  3. Reducing the siloxanes monitoring and reporting requirements for biogas sources that are unlikely to contain siloxanes.
  4. Allow blending in certain locations where lower BTU biogas would not present safety risks.

Read the CPUC’s Proposed Decision on Pipeline Biogas Standards (Jan2019)

BAC’s Reply Comments on Pipeline Biomethane

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.

CPUC to Consider Revising Pipeline Biogas Standards

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.

BAC’s comments on 2014 Draft Integrated Energy Policy Report

The California Energy Commission adopts an Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) every two years and an update every other year.  CEC introduced the draft 2014 Integrated Energy Policy Report in November, 2014.

BAC submitted comments to the CEC supporting biofuels, biogas and issues addressed by the 2014 IEPR.  BAC makes specific recommendations to the CEC on how biofuels can provide immediate and significant GHG reductions, on the need to address pipeline access and cost issues for biogas, on the importance of leveraging funding for clean, low-carbon transportation, among other issues.

Read the Bioenergy Association of California comments here

 

Read the California Energy Commission 2014 draft IEPR here

Abstract to the IEPR Report:

The 2014 Integrated Energy Policy Report Update provides the results of the California Energy Commission’s assessments of a variety of energy issues currently facing California. These issues include the role of transportation in meeting state climate, air quality, and energy goals; the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program; current and potential funding mechanisms to advance transportation policy; the status of statewide plug-in electric vehicle infrastructure; challenges and opportunities for electric vehicle infrastructure deployment; measuring success and defining metrics within the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program; market transformation benefits resulting from Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program investments; the state of hydrogen, zero-emission vehicle, biofuels, and natural gas technologies over the next ten years; transportation linkages with natural gas infrastructure; evaluation of methane emissions from the natural gas system and implications for the transportation system; changing trends in California’s sources of crude oil; the increasing use of crude-by-rail in California; the integration of environmental information in renewable energy planning processes; an update on electricity reliability planning for Southern California energy infrastructure; and an update to the electricity demand forecast.