Tucson Electric Power Plans More Renewables, Less Coal
Tucson Electric Power (TEP), which provides electric service to nearly 420,000 customers in southern Arizona, has announced plans to expand the utility’s renewable energy portfolio and reduce its reliance on coal-fired generating resources.
TEP says its long-term strategy to build a more responsive, sustainable resource portfolio is described in its 2017 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which the utility has filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The plan describes TEP’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,” states David G. Hutchens, TEP’s president and CEO.
“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,” says Hutchens. “However, renewable energy, energy efficiency and cost-effective natural gas technologies will play an increasingly prominent role in our future resource plans.”
TEP says it will continue to diversify its generation portfolio by expanding solar and wind generation, with a goal of delivering at least 30% of its power from renewable resources by 2030 – twice the level required by 2025 under Arizona’s renewable portfolio standard.
The utility anticipates adding about 800 MW of new renewable energy capacity by 2030. TEP notes it recently signed an agreement with NextEra Energy Resources LLC to buy power from a new 100 MW wind facility, and the utility also is evaluating proposals for a new 100 MW solar facility that would be built and owned by a project partner.