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  1. Should Burning Trash Count as Renewable Energy?

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration has already tackled the question of whether municipal solid waste (MSW, aka trash) should be considered a renewable energy source. The EIA decided that MSW counts as renewable energy “only to the extent that the energy content of the municipal solid waste source stream is biogenic.”

    Clearly Arizona’s utilities can, and should, leverage a variety of sources (renewable and non-renewable) for power generation. But when a utility is trying to decide between, say, solar and wind or solar and trash, that utility must maximize its ROI. As the CEO of Mohave Electric is quoted, “We are trying to meet our (renewable-energy) requirements with the most cost-effective methods, period.”

    And when the government is going to pony up tax dollars to help defray capital costs for the new plant, I want to be sure that we understand the ROI, too – and that we’re making the most efficient decisions among all the energy-resource choices.

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