Bob Worsley developed the Plant and began commercial operations in 2008. The Plant has been through two ownership changes since its inception over the years. The first ownership change can be largely attributed to the tightening credit markets with a Plant CapEx of $80 million in 2010. The secondary change in ownership can be largely attributed to the shutdown of the neighboring Catalyst Snowflake coal plant in October 2012, that included shared resources and infrastructure.
The Plant is located on the site of a previously operating recycled paper manufacturing facility that was owned and operated by Catalyst Paper Corporation. Catalyst had provided Snowflake with a portion of their biomass fuel in the form of paper sludge at no cost. The Plant was designed to combust up to 30% paper sludge by weight on a bone-dry basis, with the balance of the fuel coming from traditional woody biomass. Catalyst Snowflake ceased operations in October 2012, and the assets were liquidated.
The Plant has access to traditional woody biomass because the surrounding region has plentiful resources that routinely need thinning to meet forest and woodland management initiatives. Within a 100-mile radius of the Plant, there are millions of acres of forestland. This land is populated primarily with ponderosa pine and pinyon-juniper species, and is owned, and managed by the United States Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Arizona State Lands, Fort Apache Indian Tribe, and private landowners. Programs and activities in the area provide the Plant with access to this biomass material.
In 2002, a portion of the region was devastated by the Rodeo-Chediski fire, which burned nearly 468,000 acres and forced the evacuation of many local communities. In 2011, the Wallow fire consumed over 500,000 acres, making it the largest in the state’s history. In 2013 Arizona lost 19 firefighters due to a Yardell Wildland fire outside of Prescott. Even with the massive devastation that has taken place, there are still millions of acres of untouched forest that need to be addressed. These fires have alerted regional and national authorities to the need for proper management and thinning of the forests. Regional authorities have now implemented programs to properly manage the forestlands, which produce hundreds of thousands of bone-dry tons of biomass annually through various thinning and stewardship activities.
In addition, Novo BioPower accesses biomass from timberland sale contracts, sawmills, green collection yards, and orchard operations in the region. Third-party studies indicate that as much as four times of Novo’s annual biomass fuel requirement can be sustainability procured from the immediate vicinity of the Plant.
The Plant currently sells 100% of its produced electricity and Renewable Energy Certificates under power purchase agreements with Arizona’s largest utilities through two fixed-price contracts.
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