Bioenergy Feed-in Tariff Program (SB 1122)

The Bioenergy Feed-in Tariff Program or the Bioenergy Market Adjusting Tariff (BioMAT) is a feed-in tariff program for small bioenergy renewable generators less than 5 MW in size. (other small renewable generators are procured through the Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff). The BioMAT program offers up to 250 MW to eligible projects through a fixed-price standard contract to export electricity to California’s three large investor owned utilities (IOUs). Electricity generated as part of the BioMAT program counts towards the utilities’ RPS targets. Small-scale bioenergy projects can be procured in three categories:

  • Category 1: Biogas from wastewater treatment, municipal organic waste diversion, food processing, and co-digestion - 110 MW
  • Category 2: Dairy and other agricultural bioenergy - 90 MW
  • Category 3: Bioenergy using byproducts of sustainable forest management (including fuels from high hazard zones effective February 1, 2017) - 50 MW 

Program History

On December 1, 2015 the IOUs launched the BioMAT Program by accepting applications for Program Period 1 (February 1 – March 31, 2016). Program Periods occur every two months for Categories 1 and 2, and monthly for Category 3. The offered contract price within each program category adjusts independently at the start of each program period.

The Commission is planning a workshop on third party verification of fuel sources. The timeframe and other details are not available at this time. As information becomes available it will be submitted to the Rulemaking R.18-07-003  service list.

The CPUC implemented AB 1923 (Wood, 2016) regarding increased BioMAT facility capacity eligibility in Decision 17-08-021, issued on August 28, 2017.

The Commission implemented AB 1923's changes to interconnection rules for BioMAT through Decision 18-11-004 issued on November 13, 2018. The decision determines that a facility may participate in BioMAT if it interconnects to an existing transmission line owned by a utility, revises the definition of "strategically located" facilities, confirms that the cap on interconnection upgrades applies to existing transmission lines, and adopts a program deposit amount for facilities that drop out of the CAISO interconnection queue.

BioMAT Program Review

In November 2017, in accordance with the program rules established by the Commission in 2014, Energy Division initiated a BioMAT program review and capped the Forest Category 3 offer price at the them current level of $199.72/MWh unless a seller is committed to using a least 60% high hazard zone fuel. This program review and temporary price cap do not affect other aspects of the program, and the IOUs will continue to offer their proportionate share of remaining BioMAT capacity within each technology category and execute contracts according to existing program rules. The temporary price cap was ordered to remain in effect during the BioMAT program review, which will assess program performance to date and recommend programmatic and procedural changes to simplify the BioMAT procurement process, enable expanded program participation, reduce ratepayer expenditures; and help achieve statewide goals.

In October 2018, Energy Division issued its draft BioMAT Program Review and Staff Proposal. This document describes Energy Division staff's key observations about program performance to-date, sets a timeline for the program review, lays out Energy Division's straw proposal for program changes, and poses questions to stakeholders.

Stakeholders submitted opening comments on December 7, 2018 and reply comments on January 4, 2019. Energy Division staff will host a workshop on Friday, July 19th, 2019 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm at the CalEPA Headquarters Building in Sacramento to discuss potential BioMAT program changes raised in the staff proposal and stakeholder comments. Topics will include BioMAT contract production requirements and facility operations, BioMAT pricing modification options, and BioMAT eligibility and emissions modeling potential.

Energy Division staff will use stakeholder comments and reply comments and workshop discussions to inform the straw proposal that the Commission can consider in the RPS proceeding.

Please note that Energy Division staff is opening the opportunity to participate in this process to any interested stakeholders, and not just parties to this proceeding. Any stakeholder that wishes to file informal comments or participate in workshops may do so and does not have to be a party to this proceeding.

To receive updates about the program review process, please join the service list for the RPS proceeding (R.18-07-003), follow the instructions found here, and complete the Addition/Change to Service List Form. 

 

For more information, please contact James McGarry (james.mcgarry@cpuc.ca.gov).

More Information on the BioMat Program


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