- In a preliminary Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) filed this week with Arizona regulators, Tuscon Electric Power outlined an aggressive plan to add 1.1 GW of renewable generation, move away from coal and embrace new technologies to boost reliability, PV Tech reports.
- The Arizona Corporation Commission had directed TEP and other utilities to file preliminary IRPs this year to help plan for the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.
- TEP said efficiency continues to be cost effective, and the utility will work to meet goals outlined in Arizona's Energy Efficiency Standard, which calls on utilities to achieve cumulative energy savings of 22%.
The Clean Power Plan may be delayed, but its impacts are still in play. TEP's preliminary plan highlights smart grids, renewables, energy storage and efficiency, and within 15 years, the utility believes it can construct more than a GW of solar capacity.
"We’re working to integrate emerging technologies into our system and pursue a resource diversification strategy that achieves our environmental goals," TEP President and CEO David Hutchens said in a statement.
“Our initial analysis suggests that TEP’s resource diversification strategy is consistent with the targets set forth in the final CPP,” Hutchens said. “We will continue working toward our goals as the CPP’s status is resolved.”
While the goal is a move away from coal, not all coal plants are equal. The utility is standing by its Springerville Generating Station in eastern Arizona, saying reductions in coal-fired resources "will not diminish the importance" of the plant.
“SGS is the lowest-cost, most efficiently run coal resource in our fleet and has always been part of our long-term resource planning,” Hutchens said.
The utility is also looking into energy storage and smart grid capabilities, and construction begins this year on two 10 MW storage projects. TEP said it will use them to examine energy storage can help balance the system, as well as other energy management requirements.
In additon, Hutchens told Utility Dive last month that he sees a role for TEP in owning and operating a whole suite of distributed resources, from solar to home storage and electric vehicle chargers — with the help of third party partners.