- Arizona's Salt River Project (SRP) on Thursday announced plans for two solar+storage projects that will push the utility more than 60% toward its goal of adding 1 GW of new utility-scale renewables by the end of fiscal year 2025. The Sonoran Energy Center will be the largest solar-charged battery project in the state, utility officials said.
- Sonoran will include a 250 MW solar array charging a four-hour battery system capable of storing 1 GWh. The second project, the Storey Energy Center, will be an approximately 88-MW solar and energy storage system.
- SRP said the projects were chosen through an open all-source solicitation for resources, and will help serve the utility's summer peak load as it retires coal-fired resources. Both solar projects are expected online by June 2023 and will be owned and operated by subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Resources.
As operations wind down at the giant coal-fired Navajo Generating Station, SRP officials say the new resources will help replace the lost energy while meeting renewable energy targets. The utility is working to reduce its carbon emissions per megawatt-hour by more than 60% by 2035 and by 90% in 2050.
SRP is the majority owner of the 2.25 GW Navajo plant, which is expected to shut down this week. A two-year search for a buyer was ultimately unsuccessful. The new integrated solar and storage resources will allow the utility to continue meeting its summer peak demand while also reducing carbon emissions, SRP General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Mike Hummel said in a statement.
SRP says the two combined facilities will make it one of the largest investors in energy storage in the country. The plants will provide enough energy to power about 100,000 homes, with batteries storing excess solar for use during peak demand.
Officials say the projects will provide a "significant economic boost," including new jobs and millions in additional tax revenue.
The Navajo Generating Station's future had been uncertain for years, but ultimately the coal-fired plant could not compete with cheaper renewables and natural gas. SRP plans to replace the majority of the plant's generation with natural gas from its Mesquite and Gila River units in Arizona, along with new renewables.