Roadblocks to Implementation of S.B. 1122

As mentioned in the proceeding page, S.B. 1122 passed the Senate 38-0 and established the BioMAT program and the BioMAT queue for small-scale biomass plants to bid in an auction to sell electricity to utility companies. Up until this year however, Investor Owned Utility (IOU) companies were reluctant partners in the BioMAT and the other S.B. 1122 programs and put various roadblocks in place that stopped the auction processes from starting. This not only thwarted the efforts of the local groups, but also went against the clear bipartisan direction set by the State Legislature.

When the tree mortality crisis struck, with Mariposa County as ground zero, the Governor declared a State of Emergency and his proclamation had 19 action items, 5 of which were directly aimed at supporting and strengthening the BioMAT program and establishing a Tree Mortality Task Force. The Regulations Working Group that was part of the Governor’s Task Force then took on the task of removing these roadblocks, working with industry associations, the State Legislature and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to remove those barriers, both through new legislation and rulings from the Administrative Law Judge associated with the CPUC. In early 2018 the BioMAT auction started, and several local biomass projects joined the auction process and struck on an agreed pricing. While Southern California Edison then started honoring the auction process and issuing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), PG&E continued to refuse to cooperate with the requirements of S.B. 1122. Fortunately, after a dismissed lawsuit and multiple unanimous rulings from the CPUC, PG&E has relented and has now issued PPAs to several nearby biomass groups, including North Fork and Wilseyville.