CARB votes to approve several changes to LCFS program

By Erin Voegele | October 01, 2018

On Sept. 27, the California Air Resources Board approved several amendments to the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, including one that sets a new carbon intensity target for fuel sold within the state. The changes also create additional incentives for zero-emissions vehicles and establish protocol for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).

The LCFS currently requires a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity of California’s transportation fuels by 2020. The amendments approved by CAEB on Sept. 27 will require a 20 percent reduction in carbon intensity by 2030. CARB said the new requirement aligns with California’s overall target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

According to CARB, the amendments incentivize the development of additional zero emission vehicle infrastructure and the sale of electric and hydrogen vehicles. The amendments also restructure various utility rebate programs into a single pool so application and payment processes are uniform regardless of which utility is involved, and so the rebates can be made available through small utilities as well as large ones.

In addition, the amendments put in place stringent regulatory protocol to set requirements for CCS, which is a process that collects carbon emission before they reach the atmosphere and injects them into permanent underground storage sites. “This process should be particularly useful to ethanol producers, as it has the potential to reduce their carbon intensity by up to an additional 40 percent,” CARB said in a statement.

The amendments will also allow alternative, or renewable, aviation fuels to generate LCFS credits. Producers of those fuels will also be permitted to voluntarily opt into the LCFS program.

According to CARB, the LCFS program will also begin using CARB-trained and accredited third-party verifiers to provide additional verification of reported reductions in carbon intensity. This process will be similar to the verification standards for emission reductions in the state’s cap-and-trade program.

The amendments will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Additional information is available on the CARB website.