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CPUC Proposes Major BioMAT Changes

In early March, the CPUC released a revised Staff Proposal on the BioMAT program.  The Staff Proposal contains 15 separate and significant proposals to revise the BioMAT program.  Generally, the proposals are quite helpful and some – extending the program end date – are absolutely critical.  The most significant recommendations in the Staff Proposal would:

  • Extend the BioMAT program end date from December 31, 2020 to December 31, 2025;
  • Make the program statewide, allowing other purchasers of BioMAT power, instead of limiting it to the three investor-owned utilities;
  • Provide greater operational flexibility and reduce some of the excessive penalty provisions;
  • Extend the time allowed for projects to begin commercial operation;
  • Set deadlines for utilities to execute contracts; and
  • Require projects to provide lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions analyses

See CPUC’s BioMAT Staff Proposal (March2020)

CPUC Proposes Changes to BioMAT Program

CPUC staff has proposed some major changes to the BioMT program, including a five-year extension of the program from 2021 to 2026, changes to the pricing mechanism, fuel requirements in the forest BioMAT category, contract changes due to interconnection delays, and more.  Comments on the Staff Proposal are due to the CPUC on November 29.

Read BioMAT Program Review Staff Proposal

CPUC Orders Utilities to Execute BioMAT Contracts

Despite numerous Orders and direction from CPUC staff, PG&E and the other utilities were delaying executing a dozen BioMAT contracts that have been pending since last fall.  The CPUC rejected a motion by PG&E to suspend the BioMAT program, but then PG&E claimed that a federal court decision on the ReMAT program justified the utility’s continuing refusal to sign BioMAT contracts.  After reviewing the Winding Creek decision and parties’ comments on it, the CPUC ordered the utilities – yet again – to continue BioMAT contract execution.  The CPUC issued Resolution E-4922 on March 22, ordering PG&E and other utilities to continue BioMAT procurement and contract execution.

See CPUC’s Revised BioMAT Resolution (E-4992)

BAC Supports Phoenix Energy Motion to Compel PG&E

Despite repeated orders from the CPUC telling PG&E that it does not have the authority to suspend BioMAT procurement, PG&E has tried yet again by announcing that it will not sign BioMAT contracts until a federal court case involving the ReMAT has been resolved.  That could be years.  Meanwhile, the CPUC has ordered PG&E to continue BioMAT procurement, but PG&E will not sign any new BioMAT contracts until the CPUC orders it – yet again – to do so.

Fortunately, Phoenix Energy filed a motion to compel PG&E to execute BioMAT contracts.  BAC filed this joint response with the California Association of Sanitation Agencies, Placer County Air Pollution Control District, and Aries Clean Energy in support of Phoenix Energy’s motion.

R. 11-05-005 Joint Response to Phoenix Motion to Compel

PG&E’s Motion to Suspend BioMAT

In the early days of the BioMAT proceeding, PG&E asked the California Public Utilities Commission for the authority to suspend the BioMAT if PG&E suspected market manipulation or other problems with the program.  The CPUC rejected PG&E’s request in no uncertain terms, saying that to give PG&E that authority would remove the Commission’s own responsibility for oversight of the program (and the utility).  Despite the Commission’s clear reject of PG&E’s proposal, PG&E announced on December 1, 2017 that it would suspend BioMAT procurement effective December 31.

Read the PG&E MotiontoSuspendBioMAT