December 5, 2017 | ACC News Release — PHOENIX — The Arizona Corporation Commission today completed its first workshop exploring the use of forest bioenergy as a renewable energy source to prevent devastating wildfires in Arizona.

The workshop, led by Commissioner Boyd Dunn, included presentations from state and federal agencies, environmental groups, stakeholders, the bioenergy industry, and local utilities. The workshop specifically addressed Arizona Public Service Company’s (APS) report on bioenergy, outlining scenarios that include costs and environmental impacts, that was produced at the request of the Commission. The Commission and stakeholders discussed and commented on the conclusions in that report.

“Forest bioenergy can serve an important role in maintaining Arizona’s forests, woodlands, and watersheds,” said Commissioner Dunn. “The importance of this energy source has been recognized at the federal level by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. We should mirror the efforts here in Arizona to create policies that reflect the benefits of bioenergy.”

The presentations addressed the benefits and the challenges of developing the bioenergy model, including current federal and state laws, costs of clearing the forests, the creation of jobs, and the need for more private investors to purchase biomass.

“This is a monumental undertaking,” said Commissioner Andy Tobin. “This is more than just a forest issue. Wildfires impact air quality, precious water resources, our economy, tourism, and lives. We need a model where the benefits to all the stakeholders are weighed evenly with any costs.”

To see the workshop, go to http://azcc.gov/livebroadcast. The workshop will be archived under “Workshops.” Commissioner Dunn opened a docket in May. Go to eDocket from the Commission’s home page and enter docket number E-00000Q-17-0138.  To hear a new podcast with Commissioner Dunn regarding the Commission’s efforts on bioenergy click here http://azcc.gov/podcast.