The Bioenergy Association of California (BAC) applauds the CPUC for its decision today to advance community scale bioenergy development.  The decision launches a 250 megawatt feed-in tariff program for small-scale bioenergy projects, which convert organic waste to energy.  The decision, which is required by Senate Bill 1122 (Rubio, 2012), will help California to meet its clean energy, greenhouse gas reduction and landfill diversion goals.  It will also increase jobs, energy security and economic development in California. SB 1122 requires 250 MW of electricity generated from organic waste, including:

  • 110 MW generated from organic waste that would otherwise be landfilled, wastewater treatment, co-digestion and food processing;
  • 90 MW from dairy and agricultural waste; and
  • 50 MW from forestry waste from high wildfire hazard zones.

The decision adopted by the CPUC today adopts many of BAC’s recommendations to ensure that the program will meet the goals of SB 1122 to commercialize the small-scale bioenergy industry and to ensure that all waste sectors in the program can participate.  Doing so will provide many benefits to California, including:

  • Providing renewable electricity that is available 24/7 and can be used to complement wind and solar power;
  • Helping California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, methane emissions from dairies and wastewater treatment facilities, and black carbon emissions from wildfire;
  • Helping California to meet its waste diversion goals, including recently enacted legislation (AB 1826, Chesbro) requiring diversion of commercial organic waste;
  • Reducing the risks and impacts of wildfire by increasing forest fuel treatments in high wildfire hazard zones;
  • Reducing air pollution from power plants, wildfires and dairies; and
  • Producing 2 to 6 times as many jobs per megawatt as fossil fuel power.

“This is a great step for bioenergy development in California,” said BAC’s Executive Director, Julia Levin.  “It will boost clean energy, create jobs and protect our environment.” California produces enough organic waste to generate 5,000 to 6,000 megawatts of renewable electricity, about 10 percent of California’s total electricity demand.  Doing so would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by tens of millions of metric tons per year.  The decision adopted by the CPUC today is a great first step to commercialize small-scale bioenergy and provide the many benefits described above.

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