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Senator Alvarado-Gil’s Biomass Bill Fails To Advance

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Sacramento, CA — Mother Lode Democratic Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil authored legislation, Senate Bill 488, that would have expanded a state biomass program.

Specifically, it proposed that the Bioenergy Renewable Auction Mechanism program, currently available to large energy providers, also be open to community choice aggregation (CCA) organizations.

It failed to pass the Senate’s Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Communications.

CCA’s are existing local non-profit programs that allow communities to purchase electricity on behalf of residents and businesses in place of investor-owned utilities like PG&E.

The state has an existing BioRam program that allows contracted facilities to remove forest fuels and turn them into renewable energy. Last year, BioRAM contractors took in nearly 1.3 million acres of dry fuel and produced 190 megawatts of electricity. She feels that CCA’s should have the same opportunities.

Senator Alvarado-Gil says, “Rural counties stand together against the complete arrogance and incompetence of PG&E. Bills like SB 488 stand up against the Goliath utility company and for consumers and ratepayers. In addition, SB 488 would have helped with wildfire mitigation that we so desperately need.”

Alvarado-Gil’s bill was backed by groups like the California Farm Bureau, the California Forestry Association, and the Association of California Water Agencies.

She adds, “Regardless of the bill’s failure, I am committed to pursuing different avenues of bioenergy procurement to ensure our constituents, the ratepayers, are no longer subject to the ineptitude of PG&E’s outdated practices.”

Alvarado-Gil notes that an existing CCA in the greater region that would have benefited is Pioneer Energy, which provides electricity in the Sierra Foothills to communities like Placerville and around El Dorado County.


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