New Law Promotes the Use of Biomass Power
SACRAMENTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 1109 by Senator Anna Caballero, which extends requirements on electric investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to procure energy from biomass generating electric facilities by five years.
“CBEA applauds the Legislature and the Governor for their work to promote healthy forests and renewable energy by passing and signing Senate Bill 1109,” said Julee Malinowski-Ball, Executive Director of the California Biomass Energy Alliance. “We are especially grateful for Senator Anna Caballero’s hard work in support of the biomass industry and its thousands of direct and ancillary jobs.”
This law calls on the IOUs to extend existing contracts or procure 125 megawatts (MWs) of sustainable and renewable power from biomass generating facilities.
“SB 1109 is the right bill at the right time supporting California forest, energy, and climate policy,” added Malinowski-Ball.
Over the past 16 months, millions of California’s 33 million acres of forestland have burned. At this rate, much of California’s forests may be lost forever by mid-century. The clean water, fresh air, carbon sequestration, forest products, recreation, and biodiversity these forests make possible will disappear.
Leaving excess forest waste and overgrowth material in the state’s ecologically stressed forests leaves the forests at high risk of massively destructive wildfires, impedes the function of watersheds, diminishes wildlife habitat, and has other adverse effects on the forests. Undisturbed mature forests in California typically had a canopy-closure density in the neighborhood of 60 percent. Some of the state’s overgrown forests today have canopy closures above 90 percent. These forests are being choked, and, as a result, they cannot provide the level of ecosystem services they should be able to.
Existing biomass facilities consumed almost 1.3 million bone dry tons of wood waste last year alone, with most of that coming in as forest waste. The biomass facilities are taking the forest waste and cutting criteria pollutant emissions by up to 98% with highly controlled emissions technologies compared with open burning.
“The biomass industry will continue to be an essential tool in reducing greenhouse emissions by providing clean, green, sustainable renewable energy,” said Julee Malinowski-Ball.
The California Biomass Energy Alliance (CBEA) promotes biomass energy to reach California’s environmental and economic goals. CBEA represents biomass facilities as well as providers of fuel, equipment, and services for the facilities. There are currently 23 operating solid fuel biomass power plants in 17 counties throughout California.