Utility partners with climate experts on new carbon emission goals

Tucson Electric Power has partnered with the University of Arizona to prepare its customers for future energy business models.

by Nicholas Nhede, Contributor

Community stakeholders and climate experts from the University of Arizona are helping Tucson Electric Power to build an energy portfolio that supports reliable, affordable and increasingly sustainable service over the next 15 years.

The plan has been filed with energy regulator Arizona Corporation Commission.

The utility’s 2019 Preliminary Integrated Resource Plan includes:

  1. Integrating the development of renewable energy standards, energy efficiency standards and other resource planning topics
  2. Increase clean energy sales to 28% of total sales by 2021. The utility has set a target to generate 30% of its total energy from renewables by 2030. A total of 446MW of wind and solar energy will be included in the energy mix by 2020.
  3. By 2022, to retire more than 600MW of coal fired generation – a 41% decrease in coal reliance since 2014
  4. The formation of a new community stakeholder advisory committee which will meet monthly to discuss carbon emission reduction plans

“Although TEP is on track to surpass its ambitious renewable energy goal of doubling the state requirement by expanding the use of wind and solar, we’re no longer satisfied with simply counting green kilowatts to gauge our progress toward greater sustainability,” said David G. Hutchens, TEP President and CEO. “Our commitment to improving the quality of life in our community, both now and well into the future, has motivated us to develop new, more comprehensive goals that will be focused on reducing greenhouse gases as quickly as possible while maintaining affordable and reliable service for our customers.”

“We’re pleased to be working with TEP to look for opportunities to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The idea is to help TEP set a goal that is scientifically based,” said project leader Andrea K. Gerlak, an associate professor with the School of Geography & Development in the UA’s College of Social & Behavioral Sciences. “Our process will consider how climate change is impacting our community and how we can set a goal that is sensitive to our community and reflects the best available science. It’s very much a collaborative process.”

This article was first published by Smart Energy International and was reprinted with permission.