California energy plan could benefit biodiesel

By Kris Bevill | October 14, 2008
Web exclusive posted Oct. 22, 2008 at 10:14 a.m. CST

The California Air Resources Board recently unveiled its Proposed Scoping Plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The plan is the result of a draft that was released in June for public input and received more than 42,000 comments; the final version is scheduled to be approved by the board Dec. 11.

The principle of the plan is to include a variety of strategies to reduce emissions, including a solar initiative and a range of regulations meant to reduce emissions from trucks and ships docked in state ports. The plan also includes a cap-and-trade GHG emissions reduction program which will be linked to the Western Climate Initiative to create a regional market system for carbon emissions.

The plan, which may be implemented as early as 2009, could provide a significant boost for biodiesel demand, particularly for biodiesel produced in-state through the use of sustainable feedstocks. Joe Gershen, vice president of marketing for California's Tellurian Biodiesel Inc., said state officials are "pretty bullish" on the use of renewable diesel to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The only "renewable" diesel that is widely available now is biodiesel, so it can be assumed that greater percentage mandates for renewable diesel would equal more demand for biodiesel.

Gershen warned that while it looks good for now, he's only cautiously optimistic about the plan helping California's biodiesel industry, adding that the current volatile economic situation could impact the outcome of the plan in unknown ways.

CARB was required to prepare the scoping plan as part of Assembly Bill 32, formally known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The bill was signed into law in 2006 and required the state to reduce its GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

The Proposed Scoping Plan can be viewed in its entirety at
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