Ag Waste Fuels Cleaner Arizona Energy

Electricity via renewable energy is good, but electricity via a green waste stream is even better. According to a recent release, a new power plant slated for Arizona’s Maricopa County by Pinal Power, LLC will generate 30 megawatts of electric power using nothing but landscape and agricultural waste.

The new biomass facility will be located along the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, near the existing Pinal Energy Ethanol Plant in an area designated for industrial development and employment per the City of Maricopa’s General Plan. Pinal Power will be investing approximately $92 million in the project, creating up to 120 construction jobs during 2011 and 2012, directly employing 20-25 workers on site at full build-out, and spurring the creation of up to 100 or more induced jobs due to the need for fuels delivery, maintenance and other spin off activities.

Maricopa Biofuel

image via City of Maricopa

Bob Buckingham, the leader of the project’s development team, Western Bio-Energy, Inc, explained, in a statement, that “Maricopa’s central location is perfect for transportation logistics, there was ample land available for our needs, and co-locating with Pinal Energy Ethanol Plant to create a ‘Renewable Energy Zone’ made it a home run.” The project is fully capitalized and ready to move forward, with permitting and development planned through the end of 2010, construction from mid-2011 through 2012 and full operation prior to New Year’s Day, 2013.

The main fuel sources for the facility will be landscape waste (currently destined for local landfills), as well as farm crop agricultural waste high in BTU’s (British Thermal Units) from surrounding Pinal County areas. Upon completion, the facility will also be able to make electricity out of  harvested bio-crops such as sorghum crops currently growing in the Ak-Chin Indian Community and Tohono O’Odham Farms. The plant is likely to prove a popular destination with landscapers (and anyone else accustomed to taking landscape waste to the dump) as it will dispose of green waste for free.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.