California goes green

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source: Governor Schwarzeneggers office

Touting the economic and environmental benefit’s of bioenergy, Gov. Schwarzenegger ordered the Bioenergy Action Plan which outlines ways for California to bring alternative energy into the mainstream and reduce dependency on foreign fossil fuels.

Biofuels, such as ethanol, can be developed from specially grown crops such as corn and sugar cane, to produce clean, renewable transportation fuels or electricity. Fuels can also be developed from naturally occurring waste, such as rice straw, animal waste and municipal solid waste. The Governor announced the action plan after touring the Pacific Ethanol plant in Madera County that will come online within the next few months to produce 35 million gallons of ethanol annually.

“Our state is a biomass goldmine with tremendous resources found in our agriculture, forestry and urban waste,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Taking full advantage of our resources will be a huge step towards energy independence and reducing pollution and greenhouse gases — while at the same time revitalizing many of our rural and agricultural areas.”

The Bioenergy Action Plan focuses on ways to create a positive environment for bioenergy development to help attract new facilities and investment in California. It commit’s state agencies to take detailed actions within a specific timeframe to advance the use of bioenergy in California. The plan is also designed to improve state agency coordination on bioenergy and expand and accelerate research and development, including partnerships with the federal government and private sector.

The Plan was compiled by an interagency task force established by the Governor last year. The task force, led by the California Energy Commission (CEC), held a public workshop on March 9, 2006 and gathered input from more than sixty stakeholders.

“New markets for agriculture and forest waste mean more jobs and opportunities throughout California communities. This is another perfect example of a healthy environment and a healthy economy going hand-in-hand,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.

In April, the Governor issued an executive order establishing targets for the use and production of bioenergy products as an integral part of Californias Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). To achieve these targets, he directed the California Energy Commission (CEC), the Resources Agency and other state agencies to collaborate, research, promote and identify funding to advance biomass programs in California. The executive order also formalizes the Governors directive for state agencies to meet specific goals, which are detailed in the Bioenergy Action Plan.

According to the executive order, California will produce a minimum of twenty percent of it’s own biofuels by 2010 and forty percent by 2020. Currently, of the 900 million gallons of ethanol consumed in California (which is 25 percent of the entire nations consumption), only five percent is produced in California. Reaching the new targets will help California achieve the accelerated RPS while signaling a long-term commitment to encourage investment.

The executive order also calls for the use of biomass for electricity to reach 20 percent within the states RPS goals for 2010 and 2020.

WHEREAS, abundant biomass resources from agriculture, forestry and urban wastes can be tapped to provide transportation fuels and electricity to satisfy Californias fuel and energy needs; and

WHEREAS, ethanol is a renewable transportation biofuel that California consumes more than 900 million gallons a year which is approximately 25 percent of all the ethanol produced in the United States; and

WHEREAS, California produces less than five percent of the ethanol it consumes; and

WHEREAS, biomass fuels, including ethanol produced from cellulose and bio-diesel produced from a variety of sources, can reduce the states reliance on petroleum fuels and work to lower fuel costs for consumers; and

WHEREAS, in the Hydrogen Highway plan, the state has invested $6.5 million to support a network of more than 16 filling stations and a growing fleet of cars and buses that run on this

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clean fuel of the future; andWHEREAS, biofuels can be a clean, renewable source for hydrogen; and

WHEREAS, biofuels offer greenhouse gas reduction benefit’s; and

WHEREAS, biomass as a source of energy has the potential to power more than three million homes or produce enough fuel to run more than two million automobiles on an annual basis; and

WHEREAS, biomass is a renewable resource which currently contributes two percent of the states electricity mix, or nearly 1,000 megawatts of the states generating capacity and is one of the options needed to achieve the State Renewables Portfolio Standard requirements; and

WHEREAS, improvements in the use of waste and residues from forests and farms for energy production can actually decrease the greenhouse gas emissions associated with biomass decomposition that otherwise would occur; and

WHEREAS, harnessing Californias biomass resources to produce energy and other products is good for the states economy and environment and contributes to local job creation; and

WHEREAS, the increased use of biomass resources contributes solutions to Californias critical waste disposal and environmental problems, including the risk of catastrophic wild fires, air pollution from open field burning, and greenhouse gas emissions from landfills; and

WHEREAS, sustained biomass development offers strategic energy, economic, social and environmental benefit’s to California, creating jobs through increased private investment within the state.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENGGER, Governor of the State of California, by virtue of the power invested in me by the Constitution and the statutes of the State of California, do hereby order effective immediately:

1. The following targets to increase the production and use of bioenergy, including ethanol and bio-diesel fuels made from renewable resources, are established for California:

a. Regarding biofuels, the state produce a minimum of 20 percent of it’s biofuels within California by 2010, 40 percent by 2020, and 75 percent by 2050;

b. Regarding the use of biomass for electricity, the state meet a 20 percent target within the established state goals for renewable generation for 2010 and 2020; and

2. The Secretary for the California Resources Agency and the Chair of the Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission (“Energy Commission”) shall coordinate oversight of efforts made by state agencies to promote the use of biomass resources; and

3. The Air Resources Board, Energy Commission, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Public Utilities Commission, Department of Food and Agriculture, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Department of General Services, Integrated Waste Management Board, and the State Water Resources Control Board shall continue to participate on the Bioenergy Interagency Working Group chaired by the Energy Commission; and

4. The Energy Commission shall coordinate with other responsible state agencies to identify and secure federal and state funding for research, development and demonstration projects to advance the use of biomass resources for electricity generation and biofuels for transportation; and

5. The Energy Commission shall report to the Governor and the State Legislature through it’s Integrated Energy Policy Report, and biannually thereafter, on progress made in achieving sustainable biomass development in California; and

6. The California Air Resources Board is urged to consider as part of it’s rulemaking the most flexible possible use of biofuels through it’s Rulemaking to Update the Predictive Model and Specification for Reformulated Gasoline, while preserving the full environmental benefit’s of Californias Reformulated Gasoline Programs; and

7. The California Public Utilities Commission is requested to initiate a new proceeding or build upon an existing proceeding to encourage sustainable use of biomass and other renewable resources by the states investor-owned utilities; and

8. As soon as hereafter possible, this Order shall be filed with the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given to this Order.

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About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.

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