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Arizona Public Service Adds to 100% Clean Energy Momentum

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Arizona Public Service adds to what is now irreversible momentum towards 100% clean energy.

Arizona Public Service (APS), the largest investor-owned utility in Arizona, announced a commitment to 100% clean energy today. The commitment adds to what is now irreversible momentum toward clean energy in the west and across the country. The low cost of clean energy and reduced pollution will bring cleaner air, a more stable climate, and more water availability.

The commitment from APS signals the rapid trend away from coal and toward lower cost renewable energy and energy efficiency. There are cost-effective and near-term opportunities to move to clean energy in Arizona, and we hope and expect to see significant new clean energy investments in the coming years.

Here are some the high points of this announcement:

  • The announcement builds momentum for more utilities to commit to powering their regions with 100% clean energy.
  • Arizona is a conservative state and APS is a significant owner of both gas and coal, so this goal represents a bigger lift than commitments by utilities in parts of the country dominated by hydro power.
  • The commitment includes a 45% renewable energy target by 2030. That is just shy of recent targets in neighboring New Mexico and Nevada. APS previously opposed a 50% target, so this represents a big turnaround.
  • The announcement specifically calls out the need for energy efficiency and electrification of buildings and transportation as parts of the solution. These are key strategies in the move to a clean energy future, and APS support for both can make a big difference in the state.

Next steps:

  • Renewable energy is cheaper than ever, and significantly cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives in the southwest. The 2030 and 2050 targets send the right long term signal, and supports the need to incorporate renewable energy and further movement away from expensive coal and gas, well before 2030.  The proposal calls for moving away from coal by 2031, but there is little reason to wait 11 more years.
  • We will be looking for a ramp up energy efficiency and electrification investments. There is unfortunate opposition in Arizona to cost effective electrification that APS and clean energy advocates will have to work together to overcome.

This announcement places APS in what is now the majority position for investor-owned utilities in the west, along with Xcel, PNM, Tri-State, Idaho Power and others. The age of clean energy is here.

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Noah Long's picture

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Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jan 25, 2020 9:04 pm GMT

Noah,

Great to see APS formally announce their move away from coal. 

In particular, the closing of Four Corners will be a huge step in the elimination of coal usage in the SouthWest (NM,AZ,NV,CA) The only remaining major plant without current closure plans in this region is Springerville - owned by Tuscon Electric, SRP and Tri-State. 

APS has recently made strong investments in storage which serve as a good "down payment" in moving away from coal and towards renewables and storage.

By 2021, APS will install 200 MW / 600 MWh of energy storage as retrofits to existing solar facilities, 150 MW / 300 MWh of standalone batteries and a new 100 MW solar facility paired with a 100 MW / 300 MWh battery system.

Additionally, the utility will add 400 MW of storage with three- or four-hour durations that will be online by 2025.

It will be interesting to see the particulars that come out of next IRP. 

For example - as you said - there is no need for Four Corners shutdown to be as far out as 2031. This can happen much sooner. Cholla has one unit closing this year and will be totally off coal by 2025. Would be nice to see Four Corners close around the same timeframe.

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