Salt River Project has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy Resources for a project in Arizona that will combine a solar array with energy storage.
NextEra plans to build the Pinal Central Energy Center near Coolidge, which will pair a 20 MW solar array with a 10 MW lithium-ion storage system. Duration (MWh) specifications for the battery were not released.
- The solar panels will be used to charge the battery that SRP plans to use to test the economic viability of using storage to smooth out the intermittency of renewable resources on its grid. Separately, the utility also contracted for another 10 MW grid-scale battery, this one with four hours of duration.
Salt River Project is preparing for a day when it will have substantially more renewable power on its grid.
The public utility is one of the four operators of the 2,225-MW Navajo coal plant in Arizona, which is now scheduled to close in 2019.
SRP’s board of directors has also set a goal of meeting 20% of its retail electricity requirements with renewable resources by 2020.
SRP says it will use the recently announced solar-plus-storage project to test how well storage performs on its system.
“This project will give us valuable experience with large-scale battery storage operations,” SRP general manager and CEO Mark Bonsall said in a statement. “It is our hope that this technology will prove to be an important part of our energy portfolio as we continue to seek sustainable resources to serve our customers.”
Separately SRP’s board has approved a 10 MW battery storage project with four hours storage capability that was selected through a competitive bid. SRP plans to release the name of the developer once a PPA has been signed.
SRP's solar and battery contracts come on the heels of major storage plans from Arizona's investor-owned utilities, Tucson Electric Power and Arizona Public Service, announced in their Integrated Resource Plans filed with regulators this month.