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Arizona’s Growing Population Raises Electricity Concerns

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PHOENIX – As Arizona’s population grows, demands for water, housing, and electricity grow with it.

This week, House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Senate Speaker Karen Fann announced that the Legislature will now begin seeking information from experts and the public on developments in the US energy industry. arizona.

“We are committed to ensuring that Arizona’s electric service remains reliable and affordable and believe serious discussion by policymakers about this is deserved,” said President Bowers and President Fann.

A newly created ad hoc committee will study the reliability, affordability and current state of the electrical industry in Arizona, among other issues.

At the Palo Verde Power Plant this month, crews are busy refueling and performing maintenance on one of its three power units. A process performed on each unit every 18 months to ensure all systems are working.

Palo Verde generates enough electricity to supply power to 4 million customers in four states.

“I can tell you that looking to the near term future, 2023-2024, we are in good shape to deliver this reliable power, but there will be challenges as they move forward,” said Michael McLaughlin, Vice President of Site Services. in Palo Verde.

Although Palo Verde is the backbone of APS’ energy strategy, the company also relies on other energy sources like wind from the Midwest and hydro from the Pacific Northwest.

“There’s a limited amount of power we can buy from other parties that certainly doesn’t meet all of our needs. It only meets a fraction,” said Justin Joiner, vice president of management. resources at APS. Joiner is responsible for finding the energy sources APS needs to meet future demand.

“The industry as a whole is running out of resources,” Joiner said. “There’s no excess sitting there that we can just take for granted and everyone just sits on their hands and does nothing.”

APS is confident it will be able to produce the electricity it needs beyond 2024. But there are deadlines it will have to meet. In 2031, APS will no longer use coal.

By 2050, the company promises to be 100% clean energy.

“It’s going to take a huge investment today to ensure reliability tomorrow,” Joiner said.

SRP is not as confident.

At a recent Arizona Corporation Commission meeting, a company representative said SRP may not be able to provide power to all of its customers after 2024 after the Commission denied the request. of SPR to expand a natural gas plant near Coolidge.

“They’re not laughing at us,” President Bowers said of the SRP’s warning.

The Corporation Commission cited SRP’s decision not to seek further public comment as well as environmental concerns among its reasons for denying the application.