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SRP plans biomass test burn at coal-fired generating station

Salt RiverProject is planning a test burn of forest debris at its 762-MWCoronadogenerating station in Arizona to explore the feasibility of using biomass as asupplemental fuel at the coal-fired plant. SRP said the test burn would be thefirst of its kind in the state.

"While there are many hurdles to overcome, if we aresuccessful in making CGS a potential receiver of forest­clearing materials, it wouldprovide significant assistance to keeping our forests healthy while reducingthe risk of catastrophic wildfires," said Dave Roberts, SRP chief waterresources executive, in a July 11 news release. SRP noted that forest waste isgenerally more expensive and less efficient than traditional fuel sources, andpotentially damaging to plant equipment, but added that the potential benefitsto Arizona's forests "could outweigh the challenges associated withburning tree and brush clippings" at Coronado.

Starting this fall or early winter, the public power utilitywill co-burn more than 2,600 tons of biomass with coal over a 20-day period.The U.S. Forest Service and Arizona are collaborating with SRP on the test burn.

According to SNL Energy data, Coronado's two steam turbinescame online in 1979 and 1980. SRP recently completed a $470 million project tocontrol SO2, NOx and mercury emissions at the facility.