- The just-filed Tuscon Electric Power (TEP) 15-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) shows that TEP will reduce coal reliance by 492 megawatts over the next five years. That is 32% of its total coal capacity. TEP’s 413 megawatt share of the 550 megawatt Gila River Power Station combined cycle natural gas plant, co-owned with UNS Electric, will cover most of the reduction.
- By 2028, the IRP projects TEP’s portfolio will be 43% coal, 36% natural gas, and 21% renewables and energy efficiency.
- TEP is projected to add 50,000-plus customers over the next 10 years and see a peak demand increase of 1% to 1.5% annually. Energy efficiency programs will avoid the need for 312 megawatts of cumulative capacity.
- The IRP stresses the utility’s need for portfolio diversification and its commitment to meeting Arizona’s 15% renewables by 2025 Renewable Energy Standard. It projects TEP’s combined solar, wind, and biogas capacity to grow from today’s 157 megawatts to 788 megawatts in 2028. Solar PV will grow from a present nameplate capacity of 56 megawatts to 264 megawatts in 2028.
Thank the impact of present and anticipated EPA emissions regulations for the sharp coal reduction. The shift to natural gas and renewables will save TEP an estimated $140 million in retrofit capital expenditures. The elimination of nearly one-third of its coal capacity will also unburden the utility of air pollution emissions ahead of increasingly stricter standards. But don’t expect TEP to unburden itself from retrofits to the coal-fired Navajo Station, which pumps Colorado River water to drought-plagued Arizona ratepayers.