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Bioenergy and the Dairy Sector

California is the largest dairy state in the United States, providing a large share of the country’s milk and dairy products.  Unfortunately, dairies are also California’s largest source of methane emissions, a climate super pollutant.  Dairy manure can, however, be converted to carbon negative energy, eliminating methane emissions and providing negative carbon emissions instead.   According to the California Air Resources Board, investments in dairy digesters, which convert dairy waste to energy,  are the most effective and the most cost-effective of all of the state’s investments in carbon reductions.

California’s dairy cows produce enough waste to generate 550 megawatts of renewable electricity or more than 100 million gallons per year of carbon negative transportation fuels. Biomethane generated from dairy waste is the lowest carbon fuel of any in existence, more than 500 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline or diesel.  Dairy waste can also be used to generate flexible generation renewable power, which is critical to complement wind and solar power because it’s available 24/7 and can be stored and used as needed.  In addition to cutting methane emissions and producing renewable energy, converting dairy waste to energy reduces air and water pollution from dairies, cuts odors, and can provide revenue and onsite energy supplies to dairy farms.

To learn more, see Bioenergy and Dairies

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

 

Bioenergy Critical to Climate

Bioenergy is critical to slow global warming right away and to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century.  That’s because bioenergy can reduce the most damaging climate pollutants known as Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs).  Climate scientists agree that we have less than a decade left to avert catastrophic – and largely irreversible – climate change.  The most effective tool we have – the last lever we have left – is to reduce SLCP emissions.  And bioenergy can do that more effectively than other tools because it cuts methane and black carbon emissions – two of the most damaging SLCPs – from organic waste, including landfills and dairies, agricultural waste, and forest waste or other vegetation removed to reduce wildfire risks.  Bioenergy can also provide carbon negative emissions needed to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century.  And, according to the California Air Resources Board, it provides the most cost-effective of all carbon emissions.

Read more about Bioenergy and Climate

Raven SR Announces Joint Venture to Build Hydrogen Fueling Hubs Across US

Raven SR LLC, a renewable fuels company, and Hyzon Motors Inc., a leading global supplier of zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell-powered commercial vehicles, today announced a joint venture to build up to 100 hydrogen hubs across the United States and globally. The first hubs will be built in the San Francisco Bay Area and are expected to commission in 2022 before expanding into the rest of the US and globally. At the hubs, which can be built at or near landfills, Raven SR will convert mixed and multiple organic wastes, including municipal solid waste, greenwaste, food waste, medical, paper, etc. into locally produced, renewable hydrogen for Hyzon’s fleet of zero-emission commercial vehicles.

Raven SR’s patented, Steam/CO2 Reformation process enables it to be one of the only combustion-free, waste-to-hydrogen processes in the world. Unlike alternative approaches to waste disposal, such as incineration or gasification, Raven SR’s process involves no combustion, as confirmed by the State of California EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances. This avoids the creation of toxic pollutants and particulates.

To learn more, see Raven Hyzon Hub Release FINAL

 

SoCalGas Announces Zero-Carbon Goal by 2045

SoCalGas has set a goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its operations and energy deliveries by 2045.  The utility’s commitment makes it the largest North American gas distribution utility to set a net-zero target that includes the company’s direct emissions and those generated by its customers. The goal is net zero emissions from SoCalGas trucks, buildings, and pipelines, as well as the fuel it delivers to customers.

SoCalGas supports California’s goal of carbon neutrality and the goals of the Paris Climate Accord, while ensuring that energy remain reliable and affordable for all Californians. No energy company is more dedicated to achieving this than SoCalGas.  SoCalGas’ commitment to net zero 2045 is a natural extension of its decades-long industry leadership.  Since the passage of California’s landmark California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), SoCalGas’ decarbonization, diversification, and digitalization efforts have supported the reduction of over 7 million metric tons of CO2e below our 1990 levels – the equivalent of removing 1.5 million cars from the road for a year.

Read about SoCalGas’ Climate Commitment here and its press release announcing the news here.

Air Board Prepares for New Climate Change Scoping Plan

At the Air Board’s April hearing, Air Board staff provided an overview of the next Climate Change Scoping Plan update, including the timeline to develop the plan and some major new areas it will include. The Scoping Plan provides the framework for achieving California’s climate goals.  Air Board staff proposed several new focus areas for the next Scoping Plan that are directly related to bioenergy, including:

  • Consideration of a renewable gas procurement requirement
  • A plan for achieving carbon neutrality by mid-century
  • Incorporating Natural and Working Lands into the Scoping Plan

See:  ARB presentation on Climate Scoping Plan (4.23.20)

GNA Article on Need for Biogas to Reduce Vehicle Emissions

California announced recently that it has met its 2020 climate target two years ahead of schedule.  Buried in the announcement, however, is the disturbing news that greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector are continuing to go up.  This important article by Cliff Gladstein of Gladstein, Neandross & Associates explains that the state’s nearly exclusive focus on electric vehicles puts the state’s long-term climate goals at risk and ignores the near-term opportunities to reduce climate and air pollution by using biogas in low-emission natural gas vehicles.

Read the full article here.

Governor, Legislature Agree on $1.4 Billion Cap & Trade Investment Plan

The Governor and Legislature have reached agreement on how to spend $1.4 billion in Cap & Trade auction revenues.  The bioenergy related funding allocations in the Cap & Trade Investment Plan are:

  • $175 million for clean vehicle rebate program
  • $180 million for clean trucks, buses and offroad vehicles
  • $112 million for agricultural diesel engine replacement
  • $12.5 million for low carbon fuel production
  • $5 million for Healthy Soils
  • $210 million for healthy forests and forest carbon
  • $99 million for dairy methane reduction
  • $25 million for waste diversion
  • $40 million for transformative climate communities/research

This is the full Cap & Trade Investment Plan 2018-19

The Climate Trust Issues Report on Clean Energy Jobs

The Climate Trust, a BAC member, has assessed job growth and losses by energy sector, state and region of the country.  Its findings make clear that states with clean energy requirements and carbon policies are creating large numbers of new jobs – far more than are being lost in the coal industry, which has been shrinking for decades.  Nationwide, clean energy jobs have increased more than 400 percent just since 2010, from 175,000 jobs then to 800,000 jobs now, with the biggest gains in rural areas of the country.

Read the full article here.