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SRP solar plant northwest of Flagstaff expected to offset 1 billion pounds of CO2 each year


SYDNEE WILSON Cronkite Information

FLAGSTAFF — The Salt River Undertaking is partnering with Clēnera a personal renewable power firm to carry Arizona’s largest photo voltaic plant by 2024.

Development of the CO Bar Photo voltaic plant will start this yr on 2,400 acres of personal land northwest of Flagstaff in Coconino County. Upon completion, it’s anticipated to offset 1 billion kilos of carbon dioxide yearly whereas producing energy for 80,000 Arizona properties.

The undertaking is designed to assist SRP obtain its decarbonization targets. It expects nearly 50% of the power it supplies to prospects from carbon-free sources and can attain 2,025 megawatts of photo voltaic by 2025.

CO Bar Photo voltaic will present 1,000 megawatts of photo voltaic in whole, of which SRP prospects will obtain 400 megawatts. Clēnera will function the plant and have management over who receives the remaining energy. Jared McKee, Clēnera’s vp of enterprise growth, stated this may profit all Arizonans and decrease the price of clear power.

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He stated that this undertaking places sustainability at its core for the complete growth course of.

“After we have a look at the scale of this undertaking, there aren’t any initiatives like this in the complete US the place you have got as much as 1,000 megawatts in a single undertaking all put collectively,” McKee stated. “We’re creating this undertaking in coordination with county officers, with Arizona Recreation & Fish to verify now we have wildlife corridors, to verify all of the sustainable development items are accomplished so now we have a undertaking that we will all be proud.”

Along with being environmentally sustainable from begin to end, McKee says it is cost-effective and dependable.

“You are not going to have a whole transformation of the market except it is accomplished at a price that is affordable for each single ratepayer on the market, each single one who flips a change,” McKee stated. .

SRP’s relationship with photo voltaic has been rocky for years. The utility initially inspired prospects to put in rooftop photo voltaic, however in 2015, it started charging larger charges for purchasers who put in photo voltaic methods after December 2014. In response, 4 prospects filed an antitrust lawsuit in 2020. The lawsuit was thrown out by a decrease courtroom that yr however was overturned by a three-judge panel of the ninth US Circuit Courtroom of Appeals earlier this yr.

Within the appeals courtroom resolution, Decide Eric D. Miller wrote that the plaintiffs had been “‘immediately and economically harmed by’ SRP’s exclusionary pricing scheme, which was supposed to suppress competitors by discouraging prospects from putting in solar-energy system.”

The SRP nonetheless expenses photo voltaic prospects the next value, however that will change now that the case might proceed.

Michael Reynolds, supervisor of useful resource evaluation and planning at SRP, stated that the corporate balances affordability, sustainability and reliability.

“Because the solar shines, now we have extra advantages from photo voltaic on-line,” Reynolds stated. “A lot of our prospects come to us and ask for one thing that can assist serve their targets all through the day. They do not need one thing that simply helps the solar rise. They need a one thing that can go on into the night time.”

Reynolds stated SRP is investing in wind energy and long-term photo voltaic storage to make clear power extra dependable and sustainable. These two options assist present carbon-free power at night time and in additional unpredictable climate.

“We actually have to consider a few of these uncommon circumstances the place there are a variety of climate days which may have an effect on how issues work,” he stated. “It is necessary for us to be sure that now we have on-line sources accessible in case of an emergency or some surprising demand on the climate system. That is precisely why we have to have a various useful resource portfolio and that is what we’re doing .

“Now, as we glance into the distant future, I imagine we will think about what it could appear like to be utterly carbon-free. However we’d like to consider how we will preserve the reliability and variety of useful resource sorts whereas we proceed that decarbonization.

Photo voltaic is the primary supply of renewable power in Arizona, and SRP is the main energy supplier in metro Phoenix. The state is fifth within the nation for solar-powered electrical energy, in keeping with the US Power Data Administration. Getting Arizona to be 100% photo voltaic or utterly carbon-free could also be troublesome as a consequence of present expertise constraints, however it’s not unattainable.

Barry Petrey, SRP’s useful resource acquisition supervisor, stated it’s attainable for Arizona to see a clear power future.

“Sooner or later, I can think about a carbon-free portfolio,” Petrey stated. “100% carbon-free sources.”

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