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AB-322 Energy: Electric Program Investment Charge program: biomass.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 04/12/2021 09:00 PM

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 12, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 18, 2021


Assembly Bill
No. 322

Introduced by Assembly Member Salas
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Quirk Eduardo Garcia, Quirk, and Robert Rivas)

January 26, 2021

An act to add Section 25711.9 to the Public Resources Code, relating to energy.


AB 322, as amended, Salas. Energy: Electric Program Investment Charge program: biomass.
The California Constitution establishes the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), with jurisdiction over all public utilities, including electrical corporations. Existing decisions of the PUC institute an Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) to fund renewable energy and research, development, and demonstration programs.
Existing law creates in the State Treasury the Electric Program Investment Charge Fund to be administered by the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission (Energy Commission) and requires the PUC to forward to the Energy Commission, at least quarterly, moneys for those EPIC programs the PUC has determined should be administered by the Energy Commission for deposit in the fund.
Existing law requires the Energy Commission, in administering moneys in the fund for research, development, and demonstration programs, to develop and implement the EPIC program for the purpose of awarding funds to projects that may lead to technological advancement and breakthroughs to overcome barriers that prevent the achievement of the state’s statutory energy goals and that may result in a portfolio of projects that are strategically focused and sufficiently narrow to make advancement on the most significant technological challenges. Existing law, until January 1, 2023, requires the Energy Commission to expend certain percentages of the moneys appropriated from the fund for technology demonstration and deployment at sites that benefit certain communities.
This bill would require the Energy Commission to allocate not less than 20% of the funds appropriated consider, in the investment planning process for the EPIC program to program, bioenergy projects for biomass conversion, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Open burning of forest and agricultural waste is a significant source of air pollution and climate pollution, including short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon and methane.
(b) State policy to reduce wildfire risks and restore healthy forests and the Agreement for Shared Stewardship of California’s Forests and Rangelands between the State of California and the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region, require forest fuel removal on one million acres per year, which will generate millions of tons of forest waste annually.
(c) According to the 2017 Integrated Energy Policy Report, the majority of California’s organic landfill waste is cellulosic biomass that must be converted to energy or mulch to meet the requirements of Section 39730.6 of the Health and Safety Code.
(d) According to the California Forest Carbon Plan adopted by the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Natural Resources Agency, bioenergy cuts black carbon, methane, and particulate matter emissions by 98 percent compared to open burning.
(e) The State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Forest Biomass Utilization Plan and the State Air Resources Board’s plan to phase out open burning of agricultural waste in the San Joaquin Valley both call for increased funding for biomass conversion and investment in new and emerging technologies to maximize the benefits of biomass conversion.
(f) Investing Electric Program Investment Charge funding in new and emerging technologies to convert waste biomass to energy, as well as advanced technology emissions controls, will increase the ratepayer, environmental, and public safety benefits of biomass conversion.

SEC. 2.

 Section 25711.9 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

 (a)The commission shall allocate not less than 20 percent of funds appropriated to the commission consider, in the investment planning process for the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program to program, bioenergy projects for biomass conversion, as defined in Section 40106, using new and emerging technologies that maximize ratepayer and public benefits.

(b)The commission shall give preference to a bioenergy project that is any of the following:

(1)The project uses noncombustion conversion technology.

(2)The project converts biomass feedstock that would otherwise be burned.

(3)The project produces hydrogen or biogas for use in noncombustion generation technology.

(4)The project is carbon negative on a life-cycle basis.

(5)The project generates combined heat and power.

(6)The project uses advanced technology emissions controls.