Bioenergy, Geothermal, Wind Power

Biomass will Power 10 MW for Arizona Utility

Power from the Snowflake White Mountain Power (SWMP) biomass facility may not come online until 2008, but the Salt River Project (SRP) in Phoenix, Arizona has already added 10 MW from the wood-fired facility to their renewable-energy portfolio. The 10-year contract, which will begin when the plant is completed, will mark SRP’s entry into the biomass-generation market, and will be the newest addition to SRP’s EarthWise Energy Program.

SRP’s EarthWise Energy Program is electricity generated from clean energy sources such as solar, landfill gas, low-impact hydro, wind, geothermal and now biomass. In the last 16 months, SRP has added wind, geothermal and now biomass into its mix of renewable energy sources. Under the proposed agreement, SWMP will construct and operate a 15 to 20 MW wood-fired power plant near Snowflake, Arizona. At least 80 percent of the energy sold to SRP will be generated through the burning of forest thinnings, which supports the state’s Healthy Forest initiative. Surplus biomass available from thinning the unnaturally, overgrown forest areas is a large renewable energy resource, SRP stated in their press release. Carefully planned forest thinning activities can preserve wildlife habitat and minimize soil erosion so that the use of forest biomass can be done in a sustainable manner. “We are pleased to be part of a process that will benefit not only SRP’s renewable energy supply, but also responds to the state’s forest management challenges,” said Richard Hayslip, manager of SRP’s Environmental, Land and Risk Management departments. In April 2004, SRP’s Board of Directors adopted the Sustainable Portfolio Principles. Those principles adopted a goal for SRP to meet a minimum of 2 percent of its expected retail energy requirements through the implementation of sustainable resources by 2010. SRP will have to obtain approximately 610,000 MWh from sustainable resources each year in order to meet that goal.