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Arizona’s Power Companies Are Starting To Look To Biomass For Cleaner Energy Production

Arizona’s power companies are starting to look at alternative ways to create power without having to use coal. Arizona Public Service recently notified the Arizona Corporation Commission they were going to evaluate the feasibility and the cost of converting a unit at Cholla Power Plant in Joseph City to burn biomass by using trees, branches and debris from the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, or 4FRI, project. The project is ongoing forest management projects on the Coconino, Kaibab, Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto national forests. Salt River Project starting a biomass test burn in 2016 at Coronado Generating Station outside St. Johns using small forest debris from 4FRI. Officials say they are still evaluating the potential of using forest debris at the plant. SRP conducted two independent studies during the test that came back mostly favorable, but are still evaluating the results with key determinations still to be made, including long-term costs of the project. SRP says they are also working with the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Reclamation to help the future of forest thinning projects. Their intent is to support existing industry and attract new sustainable industry to significantly increase the pace and scale of restoration, while creating jobs, restoring forests and protecting communities and downstream water supplies.

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