Novo BioPower Extends Key Arizona Power Contracts

Novo Biopower

Arizona’s only major market for pulpwood and biomass and a key part of the state’s forest health solution, Novo BioPower in Snowflake recently signed new 10-year power off-take contracts that allow the company to continue operating. The contract renewals had taken some time and the plant was months away from running out of wood. At a recent stakeholders’ meeting, Novo BioPower CEO Brad Worsley said the Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service have now signed 10-year contracts 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 and solicit for a massive 10-year forest stewardship contract to cover several million acres under the 4-Forests Restoration Initiative. The federal wildfire mitigation strategy in the state is now more of a traditional and manageable 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.

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