New Taskforce Developed to Address Alternative Uses for Biomass, Hulls, and Shells
One result of the strategic planning earlier this year was a movement of all research related activities conducted by the Almond Alliance to the Almond Board. The Almond Board working closely with the Almond Alliance has established a task force to look at alternative uses for almond biomass (sticks, orchard removals, etc.),
hulls, and shells. With the crop production expected to increase 30% by 2020 finding alternatives uses is a priority for both organizations. The Alliance and some of our members will serve on the task force which will build on research previously funded by the Alliance as well as explore completely new avenues. There are three general avenues of research being pursued; new uses, exports, and orchard reuse.
To view the New Task Force press release provided by Almond Board of California, Click HERE.
On midnight, August 31, 2016 the legislature gaveled down the 2015-16 Legislative Session. The legislature worked to send a host of critical bills to the Governor for consideration by September 30th, the deadline for approving or vetoing legislation.
The 2015-16 legislative session will be known as one marked with historic progressive measures being passed – an increase in minimum wage, ag overtime and climate change were among the many bills signed into law. With this progressive legislative leadership and focus, the Almond Alliance worked tirelessly with coalitions on key issues throughout the session. The Alliance tracked 72 bills and took positions on 22 this year.
Biomass Relief – Support
The Almond Alliance, working with Assemblymembers Dahle and Gordon and a coalition representing various interests was successful in getting SB 859 passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor. This measure includes an important but modest proposal to ensure biomass facilities continue to operate as an integral piece of the state’s management of wood waste for the next five years. SB 859 requires the State’s utilities to procure 125 MWs of biomass power annually for the next five years; twenty percent of the biomass feedstock can be supplied from ag and urban sources. 125 MW’s is the annual equivalent of the power generated by an estimated 4-5 biomass plants. A very important element of the bill is that closed plants will have access to the bidding process as longs as they were operational prior to June 1, 2013.
This bill will certainly provide some short term relief to biomass plants, which is a positive for the almond industry since it relies on biomass for orchard removals, huller/sheller sticks, and other woody byproducts.
Almond Alliance Biomass Coalition Efforts Continue – Multi Industry Coalition Letter Sent to Gov. Brown
Almond Alliance hosted a coalition meeting of biomass producers, forestry professionals, urban waste collectors, agricultural entities and city sanitation district advocates to develop a strategy to address the immediate crisis as well as build a model for a sustainable biomass industry. The biomass industry has had significant challenges over the past few years and this has created a crisis for almond hullers, processors and growers. With five biomass plants having shut down in the last two years, and Mendota Biomass closing last month, chipping rates have increased from $350 per acre to over $1200.
Almond Alliance has helped form a coalition in Sacramento to address the problem. Members of the coalition also attended a meeting at CDFA to discuss the impact on ag and possible solutions.
The Almond Alliance coalition consisting of biomass producers, forestry professionals, urban waste collectors, agricultural entities and city sanitation district advocates submitted a letter Governor Brown as part of a comprehensive strategy to address the immediate crisis as well as build a model for a sustainable biomass industry.
- A letter was sent from a broad coalition of ag, urban waste entities, forestry industry and others to the PUC, Governor Brown and various other agencies including Cal EPA, CDFA, Natural Resources Agency, Air Resources Board, and CalRecycle encouraging sustainable longer term contracts for biomass producers.
- A letter from a broad section of legislators has been submitted to the Public Utilities Commission asking for immediate action to require utilities to implement sustainable contracts with biomass plants.
By bringing all the diverse interests together with our traditional ag allies, Almond Alliance has provided a path for a broad coalition to maximize effectiveness and outreach to offer the greatest opportunity for a successful short term and long term solution to the crisis impacting almond hullers, shellers and growers.
Almond Alliance Comments on Proposed State Composting Regulation
Almond Alliance recently submitted comment to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) regarding their proposed composting regulations.
While we’ve concluded that CalRecycle and local enforcement agencies (LEAs) shouldn’t be regulating AHPA members as composters or hull and shell as compostable materials due to the majority of our product going to animal feed and other non-composting beneficial uses – we felt it was important to make that point loud-and-clear and to request explicit exclusion of our feed and other beneficial use activities from the composting rules.