[NEWS] Arizona Studying Bioenergy for Wildfire Management
– by Anna Simet, August 23, 2017, Biomass Magazine
The Arizona Corporation Commission has ordered Arizona Public Service to evaluate forest bioenergy as part of its resource portfolio.
A May memorandum from Commissioner Boyd Dunn instructed the opening of a docket to explore forest bioenergy, and its current role and impact in Arizona. The memo emphasized the important role forest bioenergy serves in maintaining Arizona’s forests, woodlands, and watersheds while creating energy for the grid. “Our history is riddled with examples of the devastating economic, cultural, and ecological impact of Arizona wildfires,” it stated. “In addition, state watersheds, including streams, lakes and reservoirs are at risk of contamination from hazardous runoff coming from the burned areas. Maintaining healthy forests and woodlands through on-the-ground restoration activities reduces the risk and severity of these wildfires.”
It also pointed out that the 2017 federal spending bill directs the U.S. DOE, USDA and the U.S. EPA to develop clear, consistent and simple federal policies relating to forest bioenergy that recognize the full benefits of the use of forest biomass for energy, conservation, and responsible forest management, and that also reflects the carbon-neutral and renewable nature of forest bioenergy. “These efforts should be mirrored in Arizona,” Dunn said.