A California Chamber of Commerce-supported bill that will incentivize sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production and utilization in California awaits action by the Governor.
The proposal, AB 1322 (Robert Rivas; D-Hollister), requires state agencies to develop a plan to incentivize the production of sustainable aviation fuel to no less than 1.5 billion gallons per year by 2030 and implement said plan by July 1, 2024.
Electrification of commercial aircraft is decades away, and SAF is the solution to meaningfully reduce emissions in the aviation sector to help California achieve its climate goals, the CalChamber said in a letter to legislators. SAF can reduce greenhouse (GHG) emissions by up to 80%, sulphur oxides (SOX) by nearly 100% and particulate matter by about 50%. This is especially impactful in communities around airports.
SAF is a drop-in fuel that can be made sustainably with a variety of feedstocks, many of which have multiple benefits beyond the significant reduction of GHG emissions in aircraft. For example, using woody biomass feedstock promotes the reduction of wildfire risk. Similarly, using municipal waste feedstocks is likely to help meet the state’s waste diversion goals, the CalChamber explained.
The aviation industry is eager to utilize SAF to meet its environmental goals and reduce aviation emissions, but there is not enough supply of SAF to meet demand. SAF is currently underutilized due to the price signals in the renewable fuel market. Incentives are higher for other renewable fuels, so renewable fuel producers choose to make these fuels instead of SAF. For more SAF production to occur, the CalChamber said, incentives similar to those for other renewable fuels need to be offered for SAF as well.
AB 1322 directs the California Air Resources Board to study the most appropriate incentive mechanisms and price signals to ensure SAF production increases.
“By incentivizing SAF production in the state, AB 1322 provides California the opportunity to both decarbonize the aviation sector and solidify our position as the global leader on SAF production, helping to ensure this green industry and the green jobs it produces flourishes in California,” the CalChamber said.
The CalChamber is urging businesses to contact the Governor and urge him to sign AB 1322.