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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 Extends BioMAT Program, Adopts Important Changes

The CPUC voted 5-0 to extend the BioMAT program and make several critical changes to the program.  The CPUC’s Decision extends the program end date to the end of 2025.  This is critical since the utilities have only procured about 20 percent of the 250 megawatts required by the program.  The CPUC Decision also increases delivery flexibility for project developers, establishes deadlines for utilities to review project eligibility and approve contracts, and establishes a non-bypassable charge so that all rate-payers will share the costs of the program.  The CPUC proposed the non-bypassable charge in recognition of the fact that BioMAT projects provide important statewide benefits that all ratepayers should help to pay for, not just the purchasing utility’s customers.

See CPUC’s Proposed Decision on BioMAT (July 24, 2020), which was adopted by the Commission on August 28.

BAC Petitions CPUC to Revise BioMAT Program

BAC has petitioned the CPUC to modify the BioMAT program to meet the requirement of SB 1122 to procure 250 MW of bioenergy from new, small-scale bioenergy facilities.  BAC has asked the CPUC to remove or extend the BioMAT program end date, since SB 1122 contained no end date or offramp of any kind.   BAC also asked the CPUC to make changes to the BioMAT decision that will help to reduce interconnection costs and timelines.

To read BAC’s Petition to the CPUC and its reply to comments on the Petition, click below.

BAC Petition to Modify BioMAT Decision

BAC’s Reply to Responses to its Petition to Modify BioMAT Decision

Counties Urge CPUC to Support Biomass and Biogas

Fifteen California counties and the Rural County Representatives of California urge the CPUC to adopt policies to increase baseload and flexible generation power, including biomass and biogas, as part of California’s 50 percent renewable power requirement.  The counties lay out the many benefits of biomass and biogas for ratepayers and the public, including renewable power to complement wind and solar, provide grid stability, reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants, protect water and hydropower supplies, protect utility infrastructure from wildfire, and provide economic development in rural communities.

See the Counties’ letter to CPUC

 

CPUC Staff Proposal on SB 1122 Implementation

Click to view the complete Final Staff Proposal pdf

The CPUC Final Staff Proposal, issued in November 2013, makes recommendations on implementation of SB 1122 including:  interaction with the Feed-in Tariff, allocation by utility, pricing issues, definitions of eligible feedstock, multifuel facilities, determination and maintenance of bioenergy category, viability screens and definition of “strategically located.”