Incinerator to count for renewable goals
The Arizona Corporation Commission has approved Mohave Electric Cooperative’s request to burn trash to make electricity and count the energy toward its renewable-energy goals.
The commission requires utilities to get 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and to additionally reduce their power demand by 22 percent by 2020 through conservation.
Mohave, a tiny, non-profit distribution utility in northwestern Arizona, asked for the waiver to burn trash because that type of incinerator was not included along with solar, wind and geothermal in the types of energy that could count toward the renewable goal.
The commission voted 3-2 last week, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.
Environmentalists and solar-energy companies opposed the waiver, saying it will displace other renewable energy because Mohave will spend the tariff money it collects from customers on the trash program rather than wind and solar.
“Municipal solid waste should not be considered a renewable resource and should not qualify for credits under Arizona’s renewable-energy standard,” said Sandy Bahr, director for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon chapter.
“Waste incinerators were specifically rejected when the renewable-energy standard was established because of the negative environmental impacts and the fact that the waste can include hazardous materials, tires and other non-renewable resources,” she said.
The commissioners voted to give the incinerator partial credit toward the standard because not all the trash is considered renewable, such as plastic.
‘Waste to energy’ facility
The “waste to energy” facility would be owned and operated by a company called Reclamation Power Group LLC, formed in 2008 by Gary Rogers of Peoria and Ron Blendu of Idaho, brother of former state Sen. Robert Blendu, R-Litchfield Park.
Robert Blendu testified in favor of the project at the commission hearing last week.
The facility would receive about 500 tons per day of trash – about 5 percent of the total generated in metro Phoenix – and about one-quarter of it could be recycled, according to the commission.
The facility would have a capacity of 11 megawatts, according to the commission, which is enough electricity to supply about 2,750 homes at once while the plant is running.