by Tom Joyce
The utility company Salt River Project filed a request with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) on Monday this week, asking the ACC to reconsider its decision to deny SRP a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility (CEC) to expand its peak-demand natural gas facility in Coolidge.
SRP argues that ACC’s vote will jeopardize its system’s reliability unless it is evaluated and reversed, posing a major risk of insufficient resources to satisfy customer demand in 2024. SRP’s ability to incorporate additional renewable resources would also be harmed, as the utility will lack essential quick-start, flexible generation during peak demand periods, according to a press release from SRP.
The ACC denied SRP’s Coolidge Expansion Project a CEC on April 12, defying the recommendation of its own Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee. The panel comprises professionals who undertook a thorough examination of SRP’s application, which included eight days of public hearings and testimonies, SRP says. The ACC’s utility staff determined SRP’s application was adequate and recommended the ACC approve it and the committee’s recommendation for the ACC to approve the planned project application.
SRP argues that this denial will harm the environment.
“This decision poses a risk to SRP’s ability to reliably serve customers and also weakens SRP’s ability to integrate additional renewable resources into its system,” SRP said in its press release. “As it stands, SRP will lack critical generation from quick-start turbines that help provide backup power when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. SRP is steadfast in its commitment to reduce carbon intensity by 90 percent by 2050 and has made some of the industry’s largest investments in renewable resource technologies, including solar and battery storage. However, in today’s volatile market, which is challenged by supply chain shortages and delays, SRP must develop proven, reliable solutions to ensure a clean energy future.”
Despite the denial, SRP remains committed to its carbon reduction goals. However, it says that it will be easier if the state approves its project.
“If the ACC revisits its decision and grants the CEC for the proposed Coolidge Expansion Project, SRP customers can again be promised reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy while SRP continues to build renewable resources that transition Arizona to a clean energy future,” SRP said in the press release.
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