Arizona biomass solutions support praised

Published on April 16, 2019 by Douglas Clark

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An Arizona Corporation Commission member is extending gratitude to the City of Flagstaff for its support of pending biomass solutions to aid in reducing wildfires.

The City of Flagstaff recently submitted a letter to the Corporation Commission’s biomass docket requesting the Corporation Commission act to change the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) rule mandating the generation and procurement of 60 megawatt (MW) of bioelectricity and allow utilities to adapt their tariff to rate-payers to reflect the additional cost of biomass electricity.

“As we head into another potentially devastating fire season, we must act now to clear our forests and reduce the fuel for these catastrophic wildfires,” Commissioner Andy Tobin said. “My Energy Modernization Plan calls for 60 megawatts of bioenergy capacity to clear one million acres of high-risk forest every 20 years. I proposed this plan over a year ago and have failed to get a vote from my fellow Commissioners to take action before we miss another fire season.”

Within its letter, Flagstaff officials outlined how the city has experienced several large wildfires over the past 21 years while detailing efforts to curtail the spread of wildfires.

“I hear the city’s plight,” Tobin said. “Flagstaff is one of many Arizona municipalities that have suffered from no action and that could benefit from energy-spurred forest restoration. I encourage more cities, towns and rural areas to support the biomass process I proposed to save our rural residents from the effects of devastating wildfires.”