The CPUC Decision requires utilities to procure 73 billion cubic feet of biomethane annually by 2030.
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
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.
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 BAC’s groundbreaking report on how to decarbonize California’s gas sector. The report describes the role of natural gas in California, the potential for renewable gas to generate power and fuels, and the need for a Renewable Gas Standard to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs and increase energy security. Download BAC Report on Renewable Gas Standard. The report finds that:
- California imports more than 90 percent of the natural gas it uses, costing the state thousands of jobs and billions of dollars per year.
- Natural gas causes more than a quarter of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and is a significant source of air and water pollution.
- Organic waste alone can produce enough renewable gas to replace ¾ of all the diesel used by motor vehicles in California or enough electricity to power 2 to 3 million homes.
- Renewable gas produces two to six times as many jobs per megawatt as fossil fuel gas.
- Replacing just 10 percent of California’s gas supply with renewable gas would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by tens of millions of metric tons per year, while cutting wildfire, air pollution and landfilling.
The CPUC issued new standards in January 2014 for biomethane to be injected into common carrier pipelines in California. The standards address the testing, monitoring and conditioning requirements for 17 constituents of concern. The standards apply to landfill, dairy and wastewater treatment gas, with other forms of biogas required to meet the standards for wastewater biogas.