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CA Board of Forestry Adopts Biomass Utilization Plan

On November 4, the California Board of Forestry adopted a forest biomass utilization plan that recommends many actions to put California’s extensive forest waste to beneficial re-use, including numerous bioenergy recommendations.  Some of the most important recommendations related to bioenergy are:

  • Consolidated permitting
  • State procurement of bioenergy
  • Inclusion of forest biomass in microgrid tariffs
  • Allocating 20% of electricity and gas R&D funding (EPIC and PIER) to forest biomass, including biomass to hydrogen projects
  • Adopting pipeline standards for biomass and hydrogen
  • Incentivizing both electricity and pipeline interconnection for forest biomass projects
  • Incentivizing use of forest biomass under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard
  • Increasing BioMAT category 3 (forest waste) to 250 MW and allowing Community Choice Aggregators (CCA’s) and publicly owned utilities to participate in the program
  • Requiring a portion of new RPS power to be baseload and flexible generation

Read:  Joint Institute Wood and Biomass Utilization Recommendations

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.

CPUC Decision on EPIC (Phase 2)

Click to view the complete PUC Decision pdf

This decision sets up a framework for Commission oversight of the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) established by Decision (D.) 11-12-035 in Phase 1 of this proceeding. The purpose of the funding is to provide public interest investments in applied research and development, technology demonstration and deployment, market support, and market facilitation, of clean energy technologies and approaches for the benefit of electricity ratepayers of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E), and Southern California Edison (SCE), the three large investor-owned utilities (IOUs).

EPIC funding is initially authorized in the areas of applied research and development, technology demonstration and deployment, and market facilitation, as further defined in this decision.

CEC First Triennial Investment Plan Development

Click to view the complete CEC First Triennial Investment Plan Development pdf

Energy Research and Development Division Efficiency and Renewable Energy Division California Energy Commission

  • In its EPIC Phase 2 decision, the CPUC designated the Energy Commission as one of four administrators of the program.
  • The Energy Commission’s development work on the EPIC investment plan is being conducted in accordance with recent legislation, Senate Bill 1018 (Chapter 39, Statutes of 2012), and overlaps significantly with the Energy Commission’s broad authority under Public Resources Code Sections 25216 (c) and 25401.
  • All funds will be administered under CPUC oversight.
  • Energy Commission staff developed the draft EPIC investment plan with input and guidance from Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller, in his capacity as the lead commissioner on research, development, and demonstration matters, and with input and guidance from Commissioner Carla Peterman, in her capacity as lead commissioner on renewable energy matters.