The largest public service in the State, Arizona Public Service (APS), announced yesterday that it will be providing 100% renewable, zero-carbon power by 2050. The goal is to meet a nearer goal of 65% clean energy by 2030, with 45% of the renewable energy portfolio. Currently, the organization produces nearly 13% of renewable energy.
This is APS’s first target of decarbonization, one of the last in the world to do it.
In addition, APS aggressively worked to improve the statewide Renewable Energy Standard prior to the announcement.
By 2031, by seven years, the APS will also end all coal-fired generation. It is not clear if the company is planning to build any new gas plants, as Don Brandt had been willing to do before his resignation. The company will continue operating coal-fired power plants. The company also announced that the nation’s largest nuclear power plant, the Palo Verde 3.3 GW power plant will continue operating.
This choice made by a supplier of the nation’s largest nuclear power station and one of the last non-carbon reduction utilities attracted both the supporters of clean energy and climate protection.
And while the announcement was widely commended, the commendation does not actually derive from the context of the carbon reduction agenda but rather from the fact that it was first of all useful. Vote Solar revealed a number of shortcomings in APS: APS did not mention the assistance it would provide to communities affected by coal retirement. Two weeks ago, Tri-State Generation and Transmission committed $5 million to the community in New Mexico affected by Escalante closing down.
In a short-term study carried out by the Rocky Mountain Institute, APS also challenged APS’s commitment to gas, which concluded that 90% of combined cycle plants proposed could economically be avoided in the next five years with clean energy. The study shows that by 2035 the new plants will be non-economic.
The business could well build renewable energy markets, as hammocked traditionally as APS has been by carbon and gas. In the past, APS has rapidly invested in solar power and announced that it is preparing a massive battery system of 850 MW and 100 MW of new solar energy by 2025 last year.