Arizona Utility Plans More Solar, Will Offer New Energy Efficiency Incentives - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Demand Management, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, GHG Emissions, Microgrids, Regulation, Utilities, Solar  -  March 2, 2016

Arizona utility plans more solar, will offer new efficiency incentives

Tucson Electric Power on March 2 filed its preliminary 2016 integrated resource plan with the Arizona Corporation Commission.  

The IRP includes strategies for southern Arizona’s energy future, including how the utility plans to meet customers’ energy needs through 2030 while satisfying regulatory requirements and improving the environment, the company said in a news release. The main tenets of the strategy include expanding renewable energy resources and energy efficiency programs; evaluating new technologies to improve reliability; and pursuing opportunities to reduce coal consumption.

“We’re working to integrate emerging technologies into our system and pursue a resource diversification strategy that achieves our environmental goals while preserving safe, reliable, affordable service for customers,”  Tucson Electric Power President and CEO David Hutchens said in a statement. 

Under direction from the state utility commission, Tucson Electric Power and other regulated Arizona power providers filed preliminary IRP plans this year because of uncertainties around implementation of the U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan. 

Tucson Electric Power and other stakeholders reportedly spent the last several months working with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to identify strategies that could satisfy state Clean Power Plan requirements. Enforcement of new requirements was suspended last month when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay in response to a legal challenge.

“Our initial analysis suggests that TEP’s resource diversification strategy is consistent with the targets set forth in the final CPP,” Hutchens said. “We will continue working toward our goals as the CPP’s status is resolved.”

Energy efficiency measures continue to be cost-effective resource options. Tucson Electric Power will continue working to meet the aggressive goals outlined in Arizona's Energy Efficiency Standard, which calls on utilities to achieve cumulative energy savings of 22% by 2020. In 2016, TEP will offer several new energy efficiency programs that include discounts on energy-saving appliances, thermostats, and new heating, ventilation and cooling measures.

The utility expects an additional 1,100 MW of new renewable capacity by the end of 2030, boosting its total renewable energy portfolio to approximately 1,500 MW. It is also is examining how energy storage and smart grid technologies can improve reliability, and exploring how distributed energy resources like rooftop solar panels create new challenges and opportunities for utilities and their customers. 


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