BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 222
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 27, 2009

                                Felipe Fuentes, Chair
                     AB 222 (Adams) - As Amended:  April 14, 2009
          SUBJECT  :   Energy: biofuels

           SUMMARY  :   Allows facilities that covert solid waste into energy  
          or chemicals to count as a renewable electricity generation  
          facility for the purpose of California's Renewable Portfolio  
          Standard (RPS) and for renewable grant programs administered by  
          the by the California Energy Commission (CEC).   Allows local  
          governments to count solid waste that is converted into energy  
          toward their recycling diversion goals. 

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Requires retail sellers of electricity, except local publicly  
            owned electric utilities, to increase their existing level of  
            renewable resources by 1% of sales per year such that 20% of  
            their retail sales are procured from eligible renewable  
            resources by 2017.

          2)Defines eligible renewable resources to include all generation  
            from an in-state renewable electricity generation facility  
            that uses biomass, solar thermal, photovoltaic, wind,  
            geothermal, fuel cells using renewable fuels, small  
            hydroelectric generation of 30 megawatts or less, digester  
            gas, municipal solid waste conversion, landfill gas, ocean  
            wave, ocean thermal, or tidal current, and any additions or  
            enhancements to the facility using that technology.

          3)Requires cities, counties and regional agencies to divert at  
            least 50% of their solid waste from landfills. 

          4)Permits a city, county, or regional agency to count up to 10 %  
            of their 50 % mandated solid waste diversion from  
            transformation or biomass conversion under limited  

          5)Defines "transformation" as incineration, pyrolysis,  
            distillation, or biological conversion other than composting.   
            "Transformation" does not include composting, gasification, or  


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            biomass conversion.

          6)Defines "gasification"  as a technology that uses a  
            noncombustion thermal process to convert solid waste to a  
            clean burning fuel for the purpose of generating electricity,  
            and that, at minimum, meets all the following criteria:

             a)   The technology does not use air or oxygen in the  
               conversion process, except ambient air to maintain  
               temperature control.

             b)   The technology produces no discharges of air  
               contaminants or emissions, including greenhouse gases.

             c)   The technology produces no discharges to surface or  
               groundwaters of the state.

             d)   The technology produces no hazardous waste.

             e)   To the maximum extent feasible, the technology removes  
               all recyclable materials and marketable green waste  
               compostable materials from the solid waste stream prior to  
               the conversion process and the owner or operator of the  
               facility certifies that those materials will be recycled or  

             f)   The facility where the technology is used is in  
               compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and  

             g)   The facility certifies to California Integrated Waste  
               Management Board (CIWMB) that any local agency sending  
               solid waste to the facility is in compliance with this  
               division and has reduced, recycled, or composted solid  
               waste to the maximum extent feasible, and CIWMB makes a  
               finding that the local agency has diverted at least 30  
               percent of all solid waste through source reduction,  
               recycling, and composting.

           THIS BILL  :  

          1)Allows conversion at a biorefinery to count toward a utility's  
            RPS obligation and to potentially participate in CEC grant  


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          2)Defines "biorefinery" to mean a facility that uses a  
            noncombustion thermal, chemical, biological or mechanical  
            conversion process to produce marketable produces, including  
            but not limited to renewable fuels, chemicals, and  

          3)Repeals the definition of "gasification".  

          4)Adds "biorefinery" to the definition of a solid waste facility  
            in the CIWMA, and eliminates "gasification facility" from the  
            same definition.  This allows biorefinery to count waste sent  
            to a biorefinery toward a local agencies diversion goals. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown. 

          COMMENTS  :   According to the author, the purpose of this bill is  
          to encourage the production of low-cost biofuels and green power  
          from California's own sustainable resources, and thereby  
          contribute to economic stimulus, local job creation, national  
          security, energy independence and a cleaner environment.  The  
          author believes these goals can be achieved by clarifying that  
          solid waste conversion facilities that convert municipal solid  
          waste into electricity count toward a utility's RPS and by  
          creating incentives for local governments to provide the  
          conversion facilities with the solid waste fuel stocks. 

          1)  Background  : The term "conversion technologies" refers to a  
          wide variety of different technologies that heat or "cook" solid  
          waste in order to reduce its volume, using the byproduct to  
          produce energy or other new products. 

          Conversion technologies include pyrolysis and gasification.   
          These technologies heat solid waste at extremely high  
          temperatures (over 1300F in gasification) to produce gas and  
          liquid residues that are typically burned to produce energy.   
          Biochemical conversion processes use acid or enzymatic processes  
          to split the chemical bonds of the feedstock (in this case solid  
          waste).  Resulting sugars can be fermented to make ethanol for  
          fuel, and acids for industrial uses.  All of these technologies  
          produce toxic air pollutants.  

          2)  The Renewable Portfolio Standard  :  The RPS requires  
          investor-owned utilities and certain other retail sellers to  
          achieve a 20% renewable portfolio by 2010.  The RPS defines  
          renewable resources to include, among other technologies, a  


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          municipal solid waste conversion facility that meets specific  
          environmental standards.  These standards include requirements  
             a)   The technology does not use air or oxygen in the  
               conversion process, 
             b)   The technology produces no discharge of air  
              c)   The technology produces no discharges to surface or  
               ground water,  
              d)   The technology produces no hazardous waste, and  
              e)   To the extent feasible, the technology removes all  
               recyclable, materials from the solid waste.  
          This bill would change the term for a "municipal solid waste  
          conversion" to "biorefinery." It would also change the  
          definition so that instead of meeting the specific restriction  
          above, the biorefinery would be allowed to have discharges of  
          air contaminants, water, and hazardous waste provided the  
          facility was in full compliance with the standards set by the  
          California Air Resources Board (ARB), and the California Water  
          Resources Control Board (Water Board) that apply to any other  
          manufacturing processes. 

          This bill could also be read to allow a biorefinery that uses a  
          fuel stock other than solid waste to not have to comply with ARB  
          or Water Board regulations.  The committee and the author may  
          wish to consider amending the bill to require that the  
          biorefinery meet or exceed standards set by ARB, WRCB, and the  
          local air quality districts irrespective of fuel source used.  

          4)  Other renewable programs  : The CEC oversees grant programs for  
          renewable research and development. These programs spend over  
          $135 million per year on renewable energy projects. The  
          legislative goals of Renewable R&D program are to increase the  
          amount of electricity generated from eligible renewable energy  
          resources per year. 

          This bill would allow biorefineries to participate in the grant  
          programs. However, the definition of biorefineries includes  
          facilities that "produce marketable products" and do not produce  
          electricity or a renewable fuel. Consequently, this bill could  
          allow grant funds that are intended to be spent on developing  
          sources of renewable electricity on projects that do not meet  
          that goal.  The committee and the author may wish to consider  


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          amending the bill to provide that a biorefinery must produce  
          electricity or a renewable fuel  .

          5)  Diversion credit for conversion technologies  : This bill  
          removes "conversion technology" from the definition of  
          transformation.  This change will result in the material  
          processed by conversion technology to "count" towards a  
          jurisdiction's 50% recycling rate.  Opponents of this bill  
          believe that this change in statute could result in an actual  
          decrease in recycling in California since the conversion  
          technologies do not recycle material for reuse, but instead  
          consume them. They believe that most conversion technologies can  
          only operate using goods that are recyclable today as the fuel  

           To ensure that the bill does not result in reducing recycling  
          rates in California the author and the committee may wish to  
          consider amending the bill to remove the provision allowing  
          solid waste consumed in a biorefinery to count toward a city's  
          diversion requirements, but still allow biorefineries to count  
          toward the RPS. 


           AB 64 (Krekorian/Bass) increase California's RPS to 33% by 2020  
          and changes the definition of eligible renewable resources to  
          allow solid waste conversion facilities to count toward the RPS  
          if they have no emissions of air pollutants or groundwater or  
          surface water discharges. 
           SB 14 (Simitian) increase California's RPS to 33% by 2020.


          Agricultural Council of California
          Alternative Resources, Inc. (ARI)
          BioEnergy Producers Association
          Biomass Coordinating Council (BCC)
          Blue Line Transfer, Inc.
          Card Construction
          Clean Cities Coalition


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          Clements Environmental
          Commercial Industrial Waste Applications, Inc.
          County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles
          Desert Valley Disposal Services
          Global Energy, Inc.
          ICM, Inc.
          Inland Empire Disposal Association (IEDA)
          Innovative Logistics Solutions, Inc. (ILS)
          Interstate Waste Technologies, Inc.
          Los Angeles City Councilmember Greig Smith
          Los Angeles County Solid Waste Management Committee
          Los Angeles County Solid Waste Management Task Force
          Marin Resource Recovery
          Marin Sanitary Service
          Mid State Solid Waste & Recycling
          Miller De Wulf Corporation
          North Valley Coalition of Concerned Citizens Inc.
          Palm Springs Disposal Services
          Pena's Disposal, Inc.
          Rainbow Disposal Co., Inc.
          Redwood City Planning Commission
          San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors
          Sempra Energy
          Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA)
          Solid Waste Association of Orange County (SWAOC)
          ThermoChem Recovery International, Inc. (TRI)
          UCLA Recycling and Municipal Solid Waste Management Certificate  
          Training Program
          Waste To Energy, LLC

          California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA)
          Californians Against Waste
          Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)
          Sierra Club California

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Edward Randolph / U. & C. / (916)