Canadian Biomass Magazine

California bioenergy plan includes biomass

August 23, 2012
By California Natural Resources Agency

August 23, 2012, Sacramento, CA – California’s 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan calls for increasing "community-scale, forest-based biomass facilities" that would take leftover biomass from forest thinning and commercial logging operations and burn it to produce electricity.

The plan recommends that vegetation removed from transmission line corridors as a fire control measure also be burned to produce power. It also discusses options for using urban and agricultural biomass waste as a power source. All in all, says the plan, California creates enough biomass waste to generate at least 4,000 megawatts of power, but just 15% of that waste currently makes its way to energy production.

The 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan was developed by state agencies and outside experts under the leadership of the Governor’s Office. The state agencies responsible for developing and implementing the plan are the Natural Resources Agency, Department of Food and Agriculture, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), CalRecycle, and the State Water Resources Control Board.

The plan contains more than 50 recommended actions to increase the sustainable use of organic waste, expand research and development of bioenergy facilities, reduce permitting and regulatory challenges, and address economic barriers to bioenergy development. The plan will help facilitate the creation of more than 4,000 jobs and help California meet its clean energy, waste reduction and climate change goals.

Wildfire is an increasing threat in many parts of California, costing hundreds of millions of dollars per year in fire suppression and property losses, not to mention impacts on public health and safety. One of the most important and cost-effective ways to reduce forest fire hazards is to generate energy from forest biomass collected to reduce dangerous fuel loads. Using forest biomass to generate energy protects health, safety and property while providing jobs, income and local energy supplies.


California currently produces about 600 megawatts of electricity and 50 to 100 million gasoline gallon equivalents from organic waste each year. Bioenergy facilities employ about 5,000 people and contribute $575 million to the California economy. By reducing the economic and regulatory barriers to bioenergy development in California, the Bioenergy Action Plan will help to nearly double these numbers.

“The state of California has the most comprehensive and thoughtful bioenergy policies in the world,” said Michele Wong, Chief Executive Officer of Sacramento’s Clean World Partners. “By coordinating waste, energy and air quality, we are in the midst of a technology revolution that will dramatically reduce garbage and pollution while creating a clean energy future.”

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