By Naomi Hatch
“There have been a couple of requests for the paper mill site,” Snowflake Town Manager Paul Watson advised the town council Sept. 24.
He said they have responded to requests, noting that some requirements are heavy water usage, power usage, rail and highway access. “Our response met most of the qualifications,” he told the council.
Watson said they met with officials of NOVO Power, LLC, the firm that acquired the biomass plant along with the coal-fired power plant at the mill. NOVO is running the biomass plant at capacity, with material being delivered from the forest thinning protects that are currently operating under contract. Watson said that they have several options that they are reviewing for the coal-fired power plant, which includes a clean burning coal conversion with the assistance of Brigham Young University or a natural gas conversion. He noted that either option would provide additional jobs in the area.
Watson reported that the 4FRI (4 Forest Restoration Initiative) contract was recently turned over to a new company, Good Earth Power. He said the firm focuses on the use of power to generate sustainable economic development. Good Earth has focused on Africa, its officials believe that they can use innovative technology to produce power in the United States, as well as Europe and other areas. Watson said that after listening to their presentation in Show Low, he made sure that they were connected with NOVO Power because of the synergies that could be found between the two companies. Watson said that he knows that representatives of both companies have been in contact, because he has been copied emails sent between them. He added that they are working with the owners of the paper mill site, looking at possibilities there as well.
There was nothing new on the Apache Railway to report, according to Watson. He said the state loan was approved and the federal loan is still in the process of approval, which could take eight to 10 months.
“Because of all the things happening in this area or potentially happening,” Watson said he met with David Bentler and other members of Arizona Public Service Co.’s economic development staff the previous week. They are reportedly excited with the prospects that Snowflake has for new industry in the area, and offered their assistance in any way possible as projects move forward.
By Naomi Hatch