California recognises bioenergy in effort to prevent wildfires

On 10 May California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an executive order designed to address the state’s spate of record-breaking forest fires. The measures included long-term use of small bioenergy generators.

Combatting dangerous tree mortality, increasing the ability of forests to capture carbon and systematically improving forest management are among the order’s goals. It also asks the California Public Utilities Commission to review and update its procurement programs for ‘small bioenergy renewable generators’. This is meant to ‘ensure long-term programmatic certainty for investor-owned utilities and project developers, as well as benefits to taxpayers.’

“Devastating forest fires are a profound challenge to California,” said Governor Brown. “I intend to mobilise the resources of the state to protect our forests and ensure they absorb carbon to the maximum degree.”

Eight of the twenty most destructive wildfires in the states’ history have occurred in the last four years. Other directives in the order include doubling the land actively managed through vegetation thinning, controlled fires and reforestation from 250,000 acres to 500,000 acres, and boosting education and outreach to landowners on the most effective ways to reduce vegetation and other forest-fire fuel sources on private lands.

A revised budget plan by the Governor released on 11 May includes $96 million (€81.4 million) to support these activities.

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