Najafi Cos.-owned Snowflake biomass power plant in Arizona might benefit from new U.S. Forest Service program that will provide free access to wood on hundreds of thousands of acres of Arizona's forestlands in effort to thin forests, prevent wildfires

LOS ANGELES , September 9, 2011 () – The Snowflake Power LLC biomass power plant near Snowflake, Arizona, might soon secure the cheap wood feedstock that it says will help keep it financially viable, reported on Sept. 8.

A new program will open up hundreds of thousands of acres for the power plant to harvest wood without paying the U.S. Forest Service, which is seeking to have its forestlands thinned to reduce the risk of wildfires.

Currently, Snowflake Power pays the Forest Service to remove trees that fuel the biomass plant. The plant also uses wastepaper sludge from the nearby Catalyst Paper Corp. mill.

Approximately five companies are expected to apply for contracts in the first Four Forest Restoration Initiative, or 4FRI, said Dick Fleishman, assistant team leader for 4FRI in Flagstaff, Arizona, reported.

The 4FRI agreement was reached among Forest Services districts, environmentalists and other interested parties. It is intended to provide a cheap way for the Forest Service to thin out about 300,000 acres.

The area is too large for Snowflake Power to consume all of the cuttings itself, and it is thought that other interested companies will apply, reported

Snowflake Power’s 24-megawatt plant, which opened in 2008, belongs to Phoenix-based Najafi Cos., which acquired it last October for US$475 million, according to a Sept. 1 article in The Arizona Republic that was carried on the same day.

The primary source of this article is, Phoenix, Arizona, on Sept. 8, 2011.

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