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Tucson Electric Power Plans Clean Energy Expansion, 80% Carbon Emissions Reduction

(Credit: Pixabay)

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) plans to provide more than 70% of its power from wind and solar resources as part of a cleaner energy portfolio that will reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2035.

TEP’s 2020 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), to be filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), outlines the company’s energy portfolio over the next 15 years. It calls for a dramatic expansion of wind and solar power resources, supported by efficient natural gas fired generators and energy storage systems. It also proposes retirement of TEP’s remaining coal-fired power plants over the next 12 years.

Key elements of TEP’s IRP include:

  • 2,457 megawatts (MW) of new wind and solar power systems, including 457 MW that will be coming online over the next year.
  • 1,400 MW of new energy storage systems.
  • A proposal to ramp down and ultimately retire TEP’s two units at the coal fired Springerville Generating Station (SGS) in 2027 and 2032. The timeline would allow TEP to reduce the plant’s workforce through attrition rather than layoffs while providing time for the company to help the local community mitigate the impact of the units’ retirement.
  • Eliminating the use of surface water for power generation and a 70% reduction in groundwater use.
  • Continued support for energy efficiency programs to reduce usage and peak power demands.

TEP says that these measures will allow it to maintain a safe, steady energy supply while avoiding more than 50 million tons of CO2 emissions over the next 15 years, the period covered by TEP’s IRP.

TEP’s CO2 emission reduction goal was developed in partnership with the University of Arizona’s Institute of the Environment with input from a diverse group of customers, community leaders, local government representatives, and environmental advocates. The target represents TEP’s fair share of worldwide efforts to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius under the 2015 Paris Agreement. TEP’s plan would reduce CO2 emissions by 80% compared to levels in 2005, a widely used benchmark year in carbon reduction goals.

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