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Local Feed-In Tariff (Local - FIT)

Generate Power and Revenue from Biomass and Small Hydro

Pioneer Community Energy is launching a local Feed-In Tariff (Local-FIT) program that offers developers incentives to build biomass and small hydro projects in our service territory.

For communities in the Sierra foothills, biomass energy provides many benefits — such as reducing wildfire risk and providing clean, renewable, baseload electricity that supports grid resiliency. The fuel for biomass energy is abundantly available right here in our communities rather than being shipped from around the world. Run-of-the-river hydroelectric generation is also a clean, renewable resource that is prevalent in the Sierras.

The Pioneer Local-FIT program advances our mission to be a community partner in reliable energy solutions and support the local economy. Our program is designed to incentivize the development of biomass and run-of-the-river hydroelectric generation facilities within our service territory. These generation types offer many positive local benefits as they address the specific needs of our local communities.

Program Requirements​

To qualify for participation in the Local-FIT program, the project must:

  • Be in Pioneer’s service territory. Please visit our Who We Serve page to see our service territory or call our local team at (916) 758-8969.  
  • Be between 1-3 MW capacity. 
  • Be biomass or small hydro. 
  • Use Pioneer’s pro-forma 20-year Power Purchase Agreement.

 

If you are interested in participating in Pioneer’s Local-FIT program:   

  1. Review the tariff. Before reaching out with any questions, please review the tariff first. You can review the tariff by downloading the Pioneer Local-FIT Tariff.
  2. Submit an application. If your project qualifies for the Pioneer Local-FIT program, apply for the program by filling out and submitting our Local-FIT application.  
  3. Be prepared to answer questions. Applications will be evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis. Any material deficiencies must be addressed within 10 business days, or the applicant will lose their placement. Applications are open until the Pioneer Board of Directors approved budget for this program has been fully awarded.

 

Once accepted, eligible Local-FIT participants will enter into a fixed, standard 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with Pioneer to supply renewable energy at the price set for the eligible resource.

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What is Biomass?

Biomass generation is the conversion of organic materials such as wood, forest waste, and agricultural waste into electricity. This generation type is especially impactful for Pioneer’s service territory since it has the potential to turn forest waste — something that would be fuel for wildfires – into energy sent to the power grid. 

Biomass can also convert agricultural waste — that would normally be sent to a landfill — into clean, renewable energy. This generation type is considered baseload, energy which means it is dispatchable 24 hours a day, seven days a week — a particularly useful generation category as it helps the grid stay resilient and helps avoid power outages.

A heap of windfall apples.
fit-small-hydro-1

What is Small Hydro?

Run-of-the-river hydroelectric (or small hydro) generation is a method of harnessing the energy of flowing water in rivers to generate electricity. Typically, this generation type utilizes the natural flow and elevation drop of rivers to drive turbines, converting the kinetic energy of moving water into electrical power. This approach minimizes environmental impact, as it avoids the need for large dams and reservoirs, preserving the natural flow patterns of rivers. 

Run-of-the-river hydro generation is considered a sustainable and eco-friendly renewable energy source. In California, small hydro generators are hydroelectric generators with less than 30 megawatts of capacity. However, to qualify for the Pioneer Local-FIT program, the generators must have a capacity between one and three megawatts.

Pioneer will purchase power from Local-FIT program participants at above-market rates as part of our efforts to support the local economy, provide enhanced electric grid stability and create economic opportunities that benefit our communities.

Frequently Asked Questions​

If you are interested in participating in Pioneer’s Local-FIT program:   

  1. Review the tariff. Before reaching out with any questions, please review the tariff first. You can review the tariff by downloading the Pioneer Local-FIT Tariff.
  2. Submit an application. If your project qualifies for the Pioneer Local-FIT program, apply for the program by filling out and submitting our Local-FIT application.  
  3. Be prepared to answer questions. Applications will be evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis. Any material deficiencies must be addressed within 10 business days, or the applicant will lose their placement. Applications are open until the Pioneer Board of Directors approved budget for this program has been fully awarded. 

Once accepted, eligible Local-FIT participants will enter into a fixed, standard 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with Pioneer to supply renewable energy at the price set for the eligible resource.

The Local Fit program began accepting applications in February of 2024.

Please review the tariff or reach out to localfit@pioneercommunityenergy.org with any questions.

Biomass converts organic materials such as wood, forest waste, and agricultural waste into electricity. Sources for biomass fuel include:

  • Agricultural crops and waste materials — these include crop and food processing residues
  • Wood and wood processing waste — materials such as firewood, wood pellets and chips, lumber sawdust, and waste 
  • Materials produced by living organisms and found in solid waste — paper, cotton and wool products, and food, yard, and wood wastes 

Biomass can be converted to fuel through a number of processes, including: 

  • Burning to produce heat 
  • Thermochemical conversion to produce solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels 
  • Chemical conversion to produce liquid fuels 

           

The fuel produced is used to generate electricity, utilizing steam turbines and other technologies.

Small Hydro (also known as run-of-the-river hydro) converts the kinetic energy found in running water into energy. It does this by utilizing the natural flow of rivers and strategically placing small reservoirs with turbines along the river path.

The flowing water of the river is used to drive turbines that convert the kinetic energy of the moving water into electricity.

Greenfield projects are new construction developments in a location not previously developed for electricity generation. Brownfield projects are developments or upgrades in a location previously used for electricity generation.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about FIT please contact our local team at (916) 758-8969 or email us at info@pioneercommunityenergy.org.

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