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California to Invest $319 Million in Renewable Natural Gas Projects

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced funding for six pilot projects in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys designed to demonstrate the collection of biomethane from dairy digesters and its injection into natural gas pipelines. The production of biomethane from organic waste products, including animal manure, eliminates significant emissions of methane to the atmosphere.

The selected project locations and developers are:

  • South Tulare: California Bioenergy
  • North Visalia: California Bioenergy
  • Buttonwillow: California Bioenergy
  • Merced (CEE): Maas Energy Works
  • Lakeside: Maas Energy Works
  • Weststeyn: DVO, Inc.

The CPUC created the dairy biomethane pilot program as part of the state’s s strategy to reduce

emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, including methane, which is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Legislation adopted in 2016 requires the state to reduce methane emissions from the dairy and other livestock sectors by 40 percent by 2030. Emissions from dairy manure account for approximately 25 percent of the State’s overall methane emissions. The interagency committee that selected the projects consisted of representative from the CPUC, CARB, and CDFA.

Forty-five dairies will participate in the pilot projects, which will significantly reduce greenhouse

gas emissions from animal manure by putting dairy methane waste to beneficial use as a renewable transportation fuel. The six projects will receive approximately $319 million in infrastructure investments and operation expenses over the next 20 years.

The dairy biomethane projects were mandated in Senate Bill 1383 (Lara, 2016) and implemented in a CPUC decision available here.

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