Tucson Electric Power says it is working toward a goal of 30% renewable electricity by 2030 — twice the level called for by Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard. To reach that objective, it will invest in efficient, innovative technologies, expand renewable energy, and explore new ways to reduce reliance on coal fired generating resources such as the Navajo Generating Station, a coal fired plant that currently provides about 20% of local energy needs.
TEP this week filed its 2017 Integrated Resources Plan with the Arizona Corporation Commission. The plan outlines the company’s current resource portfolio, projects future energy needs, and outlines strategies the company will use to meet customers’ energy requirements over the next 15 years.
“We’re evolving from a traditional utility to a more technology and consumer focused provider of energy products and services while maintaining reliability, convenience and affordability for our customers,” said David G. Hutchens, TEP’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our plan recognizes the continued financial and operational benefits of owning Units 1 and 2 at the Springerville Generating Station, Arizona’s most efficient, cost-effective coal-fired power plant. However, renewable energy, energy efficiency and cost effective natural gas technologies will play an increasingly prominent role in our future resource plans.”
The company expects to add about 800 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity by 2030. It recently signed an agreement with NextEra Energy Resources to buy power from a new 100 MW wind facility. The company also is evaluating proposals for a new 100 MW solar facility built and owned by a project partner.
Energy storage systems will play a larger role in the company’s future because of their ability to to increase power output levels quickly. The company believes grid storage systems will decline rapidly in cost, allowing it to add up to 100 megawatts of storage capacity soon. TEP has recently completed three energy storage projects with a combined capacity of 22 MW that are designed to help balance the grid.
The company plans to retire some of its coal fired generating resources and replace them with cleaner technology, including renewables. Unit 2 at the San Juan Generating Station in New Mexico will be shut down at the end of this year. The Navajo Generating Station is scheduled to be closed in December of 2019.
Source and photo credit: Tucson Electric Power