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Arizona Public Service Company (APS) Announces a Commitment to Carbon-Free Energy Production by 2050

Allison Friedman MA, United States 0 Ratings 332 Discussions 88 Group posts

Posted by: Allison Friedman // Rate It Green Admin

APS  Arizona Commitment to Carbon-Free Energy Production by 2050

Arizona Public Service Company (APS) CEO Jeff Guldner announced that the company will produce all electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050 and will produce 45% of power from renewable sources by 2030.  

The decision seems impressive, as according to Guldner, the plan to convert more than half of the company's energy supply will require technology that is not even currently available.  "“Nobody today actually knows how you get to 100% carbon free...I take some comfort from the fact that there are others who also believe we can get here to 100% by 2050 even if we don’t know what the answers are.” 

The company plans to rely on significant amounts of solar energy to meet these goals, including still-to-come- improvements in solar energy storage.  Currently, the company produces 22% of its power from two coal-fired power plants, one of which was already planned to close this year, and another which will have to close 7 years early to meet the commitment.  Another approximately 25% of the company’s power comes from natural gas. The company currently gets 12% of its energy from renewables and 14% from efficiency projects that aim to reduce power demand. About 25% of the utility’s power also comes from the Palo Verde Nuclear power plant, located about 50 miles west of downtown Phoenix.  

Only one year ago, the Energy and Policy Institute, a group that works toward renewable energy and for a transition away from fossil fuel use, complained that APS and its parent company Pinnacle West were lagging behind the majority of utilities that already had carbon-reduction plans. And in 2018, Pinnacle West spent a record $37.9 million to defeat a state ballot measure to require utilities to produce half of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

It’s worth noting that emission-free is not quite the same as clean or renewable energy.  In other words, nuclear energy will likely remain a part of the APS strategy.  Guldner has said that he does not see a way to go 100% carbon free without nuclear energy. 

It’s also worth noting that the announcement by APS comes in a state that does not currently have a carbon policy.  Clean energy policy initiatives have been placed on the ballot and have been deliberated at the Arizona Corporation Commissions  the elected utility regulatory body, but have not to date been successful.  

Local Sierra Club chapter Director, Sandy Bahr, says the announcementt is encouraging but that there is still more work to be done.  She would like the company to remove obstacles for those customers who want to install rooftop solar.  Guilder acknowledges that APS won approval to lower the rates that the company pays for excess energy generated by these customers. Lower rates may discourage additional installations, which would seem to counter plans to generate energy with lower emissions.  Currently, APS has104,000 customers with rooftop solar who can generate 834 megawatts of power when the sun is shining - more power than a single coal generator.

Guldner has expressed an awareness and concern that closing coal plants and other changes will require working with communities to ease job impacts (though many believe and experience shows that energy transitions can create great opportunities).  

According to the the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a 45% reduction in carbon emissions is needed by 2030 and that carbon emissions will need to be "net zero” by about 2050 to prevent major climate repercussions.

 

For more information:

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/arizona-public-service-carbon-free-power-2050?utm_campaign=GTMsocial&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=157989985

https://ktar.com/story/2933777/arizona-utility-promises-to-push-for-100-clean-energy-by-2050/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/energy/2020/01/22/arizona-public-service-to-end-all-carbon-emissions-by-2050-ceo-jeff-guldner-says/4530389002/

 

Image: Flickr Photo/Alan Stark

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