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For Immediate Release: April 10, 2006
Media Contact: Susanne Garfield - 916-654-4989

Bioenergy Recommendations Released

Report Could Guide State Policy on Alternative Energy

SACRAMENTO - The Bioenergy Working Group today released, Recommendations for a Bioenergy Plan for California, a step to accelerate biomass activity for energy production and alternative fuels. The recommendations are being sent to Governor Schwarzenegger for his consideration and could be used to guide state policy.

"Bioenergy is critical to California's energy supply and vital to its waste and resource management efforts, including reducing petroleum dependence and achieving climate protection goals," commented Energy Commission Chairman Joseph Desmond. "The plan lays the foundation for state action to address challenges facing the industry and increase biomass energy use."

Last summer, Governor Schwarzenegger requested the group's recommendations to help him develop an integrated and comprehensive state policy on biomass. Consistent with the Governor's direction, the recommendations are intended to create the institutional and regulatory changes that could significantly increase bioenergy use in the state.

The 10-agency Working Group based their assertive and cutting-edge recommendations on four policy objectives:

  • Establish bioenergy production and consumption targets, while creating a positive environment for investment in new facilities,

  • Enhance and accelerate California research, development and demonstration programs to promote biomass production and use,

  • Increase state agency coordination to enhance bioenergy production, and

  • Reduce impediments to bioenergy by promoting public awareness of its importance and benefits.

As California aggressively pursues its goal of increased renewable energy, bioenergy as electricity generation (biopower) and transportation fuels (biofuel) will be important contributors. The report noted that although California is a national leader in using biomass to generate electricity, the state's current use represents just a small fraction of what is technically feasible. In 2005, two percent of California's electricity supplies were generated using solid waste and landfill/biogas. It is estimated that biomass could provide 20 percent of California's in-state electricity by 2020.

California leads the nation in ethanol consumption. Ethanol is an important oxygenate used in the state's clean transportation fuels. In 2004, California produced almost 900 million gallons of ethanol. This accounted for consumption of almost 25 percent of all ethanol produced in the United States. California produces less than five percent of that consumption. Increased production of biomass-based fuels would continue the state's quest for reducing petroleum-based fuels.

The Bioenergy Interagency Working Group is composed of the California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Resources Agency, California Department of Food & Agriculture, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Department of General Services, Integrated Waste Management Board, the Public Utilities Commission and the Water Resources Control Board.


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