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TOWARD TOMORROW Utilities looking ahead at non-traditional ways to deal with energy needs
or Arizona’s utilities industry, meeting an ever-increasing demand for power is an ongoing challenge. But the major players already have made some headway to meet the need while factoring renewable energy into their game plans today and tomorrow.
ARIZONA PUBLIC SERVICE To decide where it is headed, Arizona Public Service (APS) went through a three-year stakeholder process to develop its 2017 Integrated Resource Plan mapping out how the utility expected to meet its customers’ projected energy needs for the 15 years to follow. For APS, solar will continue to be a focus when it comes to clean energy. It expects the state’s energy needs to be 50 percent higher by 2025. To respond, the utility expects increased use of solar energy along with energy efficiency to meet nearly half of the anticipated new energy growth. Since 2011, customers have been benefitting from the clean energy produced by multiple grid-scale solar plants that APS operates under its AZ Sun program. The nine plants are in locales across the state, including Gila Bend,
APS buys all of the power created by Solana, the first U.S. solar plant with thermal energy storage that allows electricity to be produced at night.
Buckeye, Chino Valley, Hyder Valley, Yuma and Glendale, giving APS access to plants generating more than 437.2 megawatts. The site likely getting the most attention is the Solana Generating Station, a 280-megawatt parabolic trough solar plant just outside Gila Bend. It’s the world’s largest solar plant of its kind featuring thermal energy storage, meaning it captures power of the sun, stores it and continues to deliver it to customers for up to six hours after sunset. Although owned by Atlantica Yield & Liberty Interactive Corp., APS purchases all of the power generated. APS predicts a significant increase in private rooftop solar capacity and support from energy efficiency programs. A few years ago, the company counted more than 1 million installed solar panels in its portfolio, which collectively generated more than 1 gigawatt (551 megawatts of rooftop solar installations and 499 megawatts of utility-scale solar). But the utility is not just banking on the sun being up to meet its needs. Batteries also fit into the future as the Integrated Resource Plan calls for adding up to 500 megawatts of energy storage over the next 15 years. The batteries SPRING 2019 TECH CONNECT