SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill (AB) 843, authored by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) makes its way to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk after passing out of the Assembly with a 71-0 vote. The bill passed the State Senate earlier last week. AB 843 will make Community Choice Aggregators, like Marin Clean Energy and Valley Clean Energy, eligible for state green energy funding under the State’s BioMAT program, which supports the development of renewable bioenergy electricity projects.
The BioMAT program was created in 2012 through Senate Bill (SB) 1122 by Senator Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield), to support small-scale bioenergy projects, including wastewater treatment, agricultural bioenergy, and generation from byproducts of sustainable forest management. The program was only made available to investor-owned utilities (IOUs) because at the time there was only one CCA serving customers. Now, there are 23 CCAs, which serve more than 11 million customers across California.
“CCA customers are paying for these projects already through their electric bills. Their energy providers should be given the opportunity to buy their own green energy in the same way as electric corporations like PG&E can. CCAs are closer to their communities and are best equipped to make decisions on greening the energy grid,” said Assemblywoman Aguiar-Curry. “While the investor-owned utilities have left these green energy funds unused, our CCAs have aggressively pursued such opportunities. Access to these funds will make California greener.”
AB 843 will help CCAs access the benefits of biomass and enable them to deploy local renewable energy projects that meet state mandates and policy goals. For example, the BioMAT forest category has been underutilized and expanding the program to include CCAs will accelerate the implementation of projects to meet the goals of SB 1122, which is for California to lead the way in using clean technologies. The state’s wildfire mitigation efforts will benefit tremendously from this plan by providing a pathway for forest waste to be put to beneficial reuse. Furthermore, it will help the state with its forest health, decarbonization, and community resiliency efforts.
AB 843 will now be headed to the Governor’s desk to await his signature.
From the Co-sponsors:
Sam Kang, COO of Pioneer Community Energy and Shalini Swaroop, General Counsel at MCE:
‘We are so thankful for Assemblywoman Aguiar Curry’s leadership in ensuring CCA ratepayers will have access to a program they have been paying into for years, yet have not been able to share in any of the benefits. Not only does AB 843 enable local communities to economically develop biomass and biogas projects, it also helps reduce wildfire risk through the use of feedstock from sustainable forest management and brings communities closer to curbing methane emissions. Further, biomass and biogas provide greater energy reliability by providing baseload renewable power in an extremely tight energy market.”
Aguiar-Curry represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all of Lake and Napa Counties, parts of Colusa, Solano and Sonoma Counties, and all of Yolo County except West Sacramento. www.asm.ca.gov/aguiar-curry