Novo BioPower Gets Some Breathing Room

Novo BioPower CEO Brad Worsley says the Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service have signed contracts through 2033 to buy electricity generated by burning biomass. Snowflake biomass plant is the only one in the state large enough to take significant volumes of low grade wood, hog fuel and biomass.

The plant had taken a hit during the pandemic as costs increased, and recent inclement weather had led to low inventories with uncertainty of operations before the contracts were renewed. The facility has also been affected by the slow implementation of forest health projects due to a lack of forest industry infrastructure and logging capacity, and also the Forest Service taking a big “swing and a miss” at trying to develop a massive 10-year forest stewardship contract to cover several million acres under the Four Forest Restoration Initiative.

The federal wildfire mitigation strategy in the state is now more of a traditional process of smaller stewardship projects and timber sales focused on forest restoration. Even with the new contracts, the Forest Service needs to continue funding to ensure that thinning work can continue, Worsley says, adding that Novo BioPower is selling approximately 220,000 MW hours annually. 

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