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Tucson Electric Power Proposes Arizona to Be Powered by Renewables

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) plans to provide more than 70 percent of its power from wind and solar resources as part of a cleaner energy portfolio reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent until 2035.

Image: PixabayImage: Pixabay

Tucson Electric Power has filed its energy plans for the next 15 years with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The utility plans to dramatically expand its wind and solar power resources, supported by efficient natural gas fired generators and energy storage systems. It also proposes the retirement of TEP’s remaining coal-fired power plants over the next 12 years.

“We’re accelerating our transition to cleaner energy resources through a cost-effective plan that supports reliable and affordable service from increasingly sustainable resources,” TEP CEO David G. Hutchens said in a press statement. “We’ll be reducing carbon emissions at a pace that places us at the forefront of global efforts to combat climate change.”

The company plans to build 2,457 megawatts of new wind and solar power systems, including 457 MW that will be coming online over the next year, and 1,400 MW of new energy storage systems.

“Our goal is ambitious but realistic, reflecting what we can achieve using existing technology during the 15-year time period covered by our IRP,” Hutchens said. TEP’s future resource planning efforts will continue to focus on providing cleaner energy, supported by technological advancements that could allow even greater carbon reductions without compromising reliability and affordability.

TEP’s plan proposes reducing and ultimately eliminating its use of coal-fired resources, which produce about twice as much CO2 as natural gas generation, meaning that TEP’s two units at the coal fired Springerville Generating Station (SGS) will retire in 2027 and 2032. The timeline would allow TEP to reduce the plant’s workforce through attrition rather than layoffs while providing time for the company to help the local community mitigate the impact of the units’ retirement.

TEP’s plan also calls for a dramatic expansion of renewable energy resources, including some systems that are already underway. The company is working to complete two large, New Mexico wind farms and a local solar plus storage project that will more than double its community-scale clean energy resources by next year.

And that’s just the beginning. The IRP calls for enough new wind and solar generating capacity to provide more than 40 percent of the company’s power in 2030, more than 60 percent by 2033 and more than 70 percent by 2035. The expansions coincide with the planned addition of energy storage systems, which are projected to cost significantly less after 2030 than they do today.

“Maintaining reliable service with higher levels of wind and solar power requires responsive, efficient natural gas resources as well as storage, which is projected to become much more affordable over the next decade,” Hutchens said. “Our plan is designed to capitalize on those price reductions to achieve ambitious carbon emission reductions without compromising on cost-effectiveness or affordability.”

Tucson Electric Power
Windfair Editors
Tucson Electric Power, TEP, wind, solar, utility, ramp up, renewable, coal, gas, power plant, carbon emission, Arizona, USA, wind farm

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