California Biomass Energy Alliance supports new legislation

California is feeling the effects of shuttered biomass plants. Six biomass plants have shut down in the last two years which has left millions of dead trees from drought with no place to go but landfills.

During its August 2016 legislative session, the California State Legislature passed measures that will require utilities to use biomass.

According to Julee Malinowski-Ball, executive director of the California Biomass Energy Alliance (CBEA), the new legislation is a “big win” for the biomass industry.

A few days before the end of the legislative session, language was put into California Senate Bill 859, which would require the state’s largest utilities, both public and private, to procure 125 megawatts of biomass power from mostly the forested zones deemed high hazard zones, in addition to a 50-megawatt requirement the California Public Utilities Commission placed on the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities.

She notes the legislation is more focused than the industry was hoping for as it did not address agriculture waste and urban organic waste.

“It really needs to be the beginning, not the end, of the conversation of biomass infrastructure as part of organics management in California,” she notes.

California Gov. Edmund Brown has approved the measure. Utilities will have until Dec. 1 to meet the requirement.