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TEMPE, AZ-Renergy Holdings Inc.’s Snowflake White Mountain Biomass Power Plant has begun providing commercial electricity to Phoenix-based Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project customers. The local company’s flagship plant is paving the way for similar plants, which will be bought and built throughout North America.

Located on 40 acres in Snowflake, AZ, the biomass power plant kicks out 24-megawatts of power to more than 9,000 homes in Arizona. Electricity is generated through a wood-burning boiler that uses wood-waste material from the area’s forest industry and waste-recycled paper fibers from Catalyst Paper Corp., which is next door to the plant. The standard biomass plant costs between $25,000 to $35,000 per megawatt to build.

The high cost is why Renergy Holdings’ management would prefer to acquire existing plants for its biomass efforts, though it isn’t ruling out ground-up efforts. “When we acquire an existing or idle plant, that costs us less than $1,000 per kilowatt,” explains Megan Meloni, Renergy’s director of investor relations. One-thousand kilowatts equals a megawatt.

Meloni tells GlobeSt.com that Renergy is looking at various opportunities for acquisition and design-build. She says LOIs have been signed for acquisition of two biomass plants in Northern California. “We look to acquire those plants by mid-year,” she comments. “One is operating today, and by acquiring that plant, it would become an immediate source or revenue.” Renergy is also examining two potential greenfield projects in northern Arizona that would involve ground-up construction of facilities similar to the Snowflake operation.

“Our strategy is to grow our business to become the leading independent power producer of biomass electricity in North America,” Meloni says. “Snowflake is the first, and our flagship.”

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