PHOENIX – In the year since Arizona Public Service (APS) announced its bold commitment to serve customers with 100% clean, carbon-free energy by 2050, the company has made steady progress toward that goal. The company‘s clean energy commitment includes interim targets of increasing its resource mix to 65% clean by 2030, with 45% of that from renewables, and ending all coal-fired energy production by 2031.
“Our commitment is for the long term and includes maintaining the reliable and affordable service our customers rely on,” said Jeff Guldner, APS Chairman and CEO. “In 2020, we worked first to overcome the immediate concerns presented by the pandemic – to keep our employees safe and healthy and to keep the power on for our customers – but we have not taken our eyes off the ball. In the first 12 months of our commitment, we made great progress thanks to important work with stakeholders who share this vision for a carbon-free energy future and the hard work of our employees throughout Arizona.”
“We are serious about our clean energy commitment. If we can work together on the best policies, technologies and pathways to follow, the real economic and environmental benefits for our state will be worthwhile in ways we can only imagine today. It won’t always be an easy path to travel, perhaps, but it always will be a path worth taking.”
Jeff Guldner, APS Chairman and CEO
In collaboration with industry and community partners, APS’s progress toward a 100% clean energy future over the past year has included:
- Steady production of carbon-free nuclear power from Palo Verde Generating Station – The nation’s largest energy producer of any kind, Palo Verde Generating Station, is a cornerstone of the company’s clean energy commitment. The station continued to do its part, producing clean nuclear power with a 91.2% capacity factor (an important measure of efficiency) for the year and at 100% during the hottest Arizona summer on record. This production pushed Palo Verde’s lifetime output to more than a billion megawatt-hours – the only nuclear power plant to surpass that milestone. Largely because of Palo Verde, combined with an array of renewables (especially solar facilities), APS began this journey to 2050 with an energy mix already 50% clean.
- Adding more clean resources to meet customers’ growing energy needs – APS secured more than 400 megawatts of clean energy resources, including 200 megawatts of wind power and 75 megawatts of demand response capability. APS also issued a request for proposal late last year to acquire more battery storage that can be combined with solar generation to add between 1 and 1.5 gigawatts of new resources to the system, including more renewable energy. The expanded energy storage adds 60 megawatts of battery storage to two of its existing AZ Sun Project solar facilities – the Red Rock and Chino Valley plants in Pinal County and Yavapai County, respectively. Proposed projects must begin delivery no later than June 1, 2023. APS also recently executed an agreement with Invenergy to add battery energy storage to six APS solar plants located in Maricopa County and Yuma County. These systems will begin operation in early 2022.
- Planning a responsible transition from coal – To facilitate the shift away from coal, APS proposed a coal communities transition plan to support the areas that are home to coal-fired power stations. If approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission, the $144 million package would help communities surrounding the Four Corners and Cholla power plants, including the Navajo and Hopi nations, to diversify and modernize their economies.
- Providing energy efficiency tools and programs to help customers conserve electricity – Energy saved is considered clean energy for the production and associated emissions it avoids. Among the company’s many energy-efficiency programs for both residential and business customers, APS distributed more than 10,000 Google Nest Thermostats (valued at $129 each) to customers when they enrolled in APS Cool Rewards. This program helps customers conserve energy and save money on their electricity bill by raising thermostats a few degrees on hot summer days when the demand for energy is high and supply gets tighter. In partnership with CPower, APS also expanded the Peak Solutions program to more commercial and industrial customers who can enroll in voluntary conservation measures when demand for energy peaks on the APS system. This program helped APS maintain a stable supply of electricity through record heat last summer.
- Going beyond the generation mix to help reduce emissions in other sectors – In APS’s report on its clean energy commitment, the company cites collaboration with the transportation and building sectors as another strategy to help achieve overall carbon-reduction and air-quality goals. With 34,000 electric vehicles already on Arizona’s roads, easy access to charging stations may help even more drivers go electric. Through the Take Charge AZ pilot program, APS covers the cost of installing and maintaining equipment for Level 2 charging stations at businesses, government agencies, non-profits and multifamily communities. At year-end 2020, 84 charging stations were installed through this pilot. The goal is to have 200 to 400 Level 2 ports across APS service territory by the end of 2021. Now, through a new APS partnership with Electrify America, more charging infrastructure will help make for a reliable EV experience on longer road trips. Working together in phase two of the Take Charge AZ program, APS and Electrify America will bring new DC fast charging stations to retail and tourist locations in the Arizona communities of Payson, Globe, Show Low, Prescott and Sedona.
“We are serious about our clean energy commitment. If we can work together on the best policies, technologies and pathways to follow, the real economic and environmental benefits for our state will be worthwhile in ways we can only imagine today,” said Guldner. “It won’t always be an easy path to travel, perhaps, but it always will be a path worth taking.”
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