CPUC Opens Process To Consider Staff Recommendations For Modification Of BioMAT Feed-In Tariff

On October 30, 2018 the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Energy Division staff issued the Bioenergy Market Adjusting Tariff (BioMAT) Program Review and Staff Proposal, offering observations about the program’s performance to date and recommendations for program changes to address identified issues. Stakeholders are encouraged to participate in this program review and modification process.

After reviewing BioMAT program performance, CPUC staff offered a number of observations about the program to date, including:

  • BioMAT program participation has remained low and it is unclear whether the current program design will facilitate market transformation as initially intended.
  • BioMAT facilities are not the only end use for eligible feedstock, but they are potentially the most stable end use because of the availability of long-term contracts.
  • BioMAT is a tool to address wildfire threats and tree mortality.
  • Closer coordination between programs and agencies could enable economic efficiencies in meeting California’s renewable and climate goals.

To simplify the BioMAT program and better align it with state goals, the CPUC staff proposes a number of program modifications, including:

  • Pricing Mechanism – reduce the market depth requirement from 5 to 3 unaffiliated applicants and revise the pricing mechanism to more easily move up and down.
  • Program Administration – set a 30-day deadline to execute contracts after acceptance of offered price and information submission, extend program end date by 5 years, extend the guaranteed commercial operation date in contracts by 12 months due to interconnection delays.
  • Program Eligibility – Remove cap on payments for facilities larger than 3 MW up to 5 MW, allow incremental generation from existing units if rated capacity does not exceed 5 MW, establish temporary 80% high hazard zone fuel requirement for Category 3 as long as Emergency Proclamation on Tree Mortality is in effect.
  • Other – allocate future program costs through a non-bypassable charge to all California ratepayers in each IOU’s service territory.

The CPUC invites comments by any interested party on the staff’s proposals and on questions raised in the October 31 Program Review. Opening comments are due by November 29, 2018 and reply comments are due by December 14, 2018. Page limits apply.

For more information on the BioMAT program review and staff proposals, or about the BioMAT program feed-in tariff program, contact Lynn Haug or Brian Biering.