ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSION — The Arizona Corporation Commission ordered Arizona Public Service Company (APS) to evaluate forest bioenergy as part of its resource portfolio. The topic was introduced during Tuesday’s APS rate application proceedings by Commissioner Boyd W. Dunn.
“Arizona has a long history that clearly shows the devastating impact of wildfires,” said Dunn. “Forest bioenergy can serve an important role in maintaining Arizona’s forests, woodlands, and watersheds while providing a viable renewable energy source.”
APS representatives agreed to conduct a 90-day study and report back to the Commission and staff. The report will include an examination of at least three scenarios for bioenergy that look at low, medium, and high use. Forest bioenergy is becoming increasingly important in Arizona and nationwide as a carbon-neutral, renewable source. The 2017 spending bill directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency to develop clear, consistent, and simple federal policies regarding forest bioenergy.
Commissioner Andy Tobin supported Dunn’s efforts and was quick to point out how critical it is to explore this topic further.
“We have consistently been addressing this topic with community leaders statewide. We don’t want to miss an opportunity to find real solutions,” said Tobin. “APS’s service territory covers the heart of the forests and grasslands most vulnerable to wildfires and has faced significant costs over the years in infrastructure repairs alone.”
“Two of the biggest infrastructure and safety issues facing Arizona are water and fire,” said Chairman Tom Forese. “The work being done by the Commission today is an elegant soluction to these challenges. I am proud of the work that is being done here to help move the needle for developing these resources.”
A separate docket has been opened which will continue to explore market development opportunities. The Commission will also hold workshops at a later date. The docket number is E-00000Q-17-0138. Go to www.azcc.gov and enter the number in eDocket.