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Snowflake White Mountain Power

Our 24 MW biomass electrical generation plant located in Snowflake, Arizona (the Snowflake plant) commenced commercial operations on June 10, 2008.  The Snowflake plant is selling its electrical power output to Arizona Public Service (APS) and Salt River Project (SRP), Arizona's two largest electric uility companies, under 20-year Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).

The plant is located at the site of a recycled newsprint mill owned and operated by Catalyst Paper Corp., a leading North American producer of mechanical printing papers.

Plant Facts and History:

On September 27, 2004, SRP notified SWMP that SWMP’s bid was selected as the result of their RFP to purchase 10 MW of biomass produced power. Negotiations with SRP were quickly completed and a 20-year PPA was signed. SRP will take 10 MW of the power for the first 15 years of the contract and the full 20 MW of production for the following five years.


Photos courtesy of Salt River Project

and the City of Show Low


















APS also agreed to take another 10 MW of biomass generated power from this plant and has signed a PPA to purchase this power for 15 years.

The plant was constructed with a new Babcock and Wilcox bubbling fluidized bed boiler being built specifically to meet the fuel makeup at Snowflake. The plant’s economics are also improved by taking advantage of an idled paper facility in Houston, Texas from where much of the Snowflake plant’s other components (conveyors, screw presses, etc.) were acquired.

Fuel for the biomass plant is derived from two primary sources:

  1. First is woody waste material from the surrounding National Forests. This work is being undertaken by Renegy's fuel sourcing and trucking businesses, which harvest, collect and transport fuel from green forest thinning activities, forest rehabilitation work on the burn area of the Rodeo-Chediski fire area and waste material from the region’s existing saw mills.
  2. Secondly, the Catalyst Paper Corp. mill, where the Snowflake plant is located, produces 250 bone dry tons of waste recycled paper fibers (paper sludge) each day which are currently being landfilled.  Once the Snowflake plant is operational, these paper fibers will be sent through an additional pressing facility to lower their moisture content and will become additional fuel for the Snowflake boiler. 

Woody waste material will provide approximatey 50% by weight (75% by BTUs) of the fuel to be used by our Snowflake plant.  The remaining 50% by weight (25% by BTUs) of the fuel to be used by the plant will come from Catalyst Paper Corp.'s recycled paper sludge. 


Download enlarged illustration of Snowflake plant, including footnote descriptions,
in .jpg format or .pdf format


Other significant benefits of locating the biomass facility adjacent to the Catalyst Paper Corp. (Catalyst) mill include:

  • Our ability to use Catayst's new 40+ MW state of the art digital substation with only 3-4 MW used by existing plant requirements. Interconnections, relays and switches are all less than 4 years old. Our interconnection agreement with APS, the local provider, is already in place.
  • 69KV dedicated line to APS’s Cholla Power Plant…the preferred delivery point for SRP’s power. Without further upgrades the line can take at least 25 MW of additional electricity to Cholla. The transmission agreement is already in place.
  • APS has confirmed that the White Mountain communities of Showlow, Pinetop, Lakeside, Heber, Snowflake, etc. all use this feeder line and it is overloaded from Cholla to the White Mountain area. By placing a generating source at Catalyst, this bottleneck is relieved for about 5 years and APS is greatly benefited. It is conceivable that much more power could be generated and delivered from this site due to the growth in the local market.
  • Enough paper sludge to power a 6 MW power plant annually with no other feedstock on a go forward basis without touching the 720,000 tons in a landfill today. The landfill will also serve as a place to dump ash from the biomass boilers.
  • Natural Gas is already available to the site for startup and if needed for drying feedstock, etc.
  • Catalyst's 75-person dedicated and experienced power plant team will also run our power plant.
  • State-of-the-art control room and monitoring equipment allows the Mill to more closely monitor power quality.
  • Up-time guarantee will exceed the SRP and APS PPA levels of compliance of 90%.
  • Land is available with plenty of space to work including a fire protected chip yard that was previously used for 35 years as the location to store chips.
  • ADEQ certified engineers at Catalyst will test air quality for compliance 24x7.
  • Boiler feed water supply is available with treatment for the highest pressure boilers.
  • Catalyst has company-owned rail service (Apache Railway), trucking contracts with Swift Trucking, truck traffic control, scaling facilities and personnel, security, maintenance (certified power plant mechanics, welders, etc.), spare parts warehousing, fire suppression teams, human resources, accounting, office space, management, abandoned chip yard and associated assets, etc.

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