When economic developers head into the marketplace to sell Arizona’s benefits to interested relocation prospects, one item on that list is plentiful: reliable and well-priced utilities. While some cities deliver electric power in addition to sewer and water, the power grid is essentially divided between Arizona Public Service, Salt River Project and Tucson Power & Electric.
With multiple agencies busy knocking on doors around the world to bring home the business, Arizona’s utilities plan to deliver that promise.
“APS is typically looking 15 to 20 years into the future to anticipate future power generating resources,” explains Alan Bunnell, external and media relations representative for APS. “We want to be sure we have the infrastructure to meet Arizona’s continued growth and ensure a vibrant economy.”
Over at SRP, Senior Economic Development Project Manager Ed Grant says, “SRP’s resource plan is designed to meet our peak demand requirements plus a 12 percent planning reserve. We use a mix of conventional resources, renewables, energy efficiency programs and market purchases.” SRP works with its various planning groups to maintain a long-term resource plan to meet growing needs.
Arizona’s economy is a roller-coaster ride over the decades. Each climb is higher than the last. As the economy exits the latest recession, Arizona looms as an economic powerhouse with new businesses coming into the market. As each peak rises higher, utilities planning efforts ensure the power is not a stumbling block.
“APS has experienced the full weight of Arizona’s economic recessions many times in the past,” Bunnell says. “We have a reasonable sense of how to meet future demands. We’re already working on the power generation of the future. We are prepared for how and when those supplies will be developed and delivered.”
SRP has responsibility for delivering power and water in its service area. Grant explains that the future is bright, “Extensive planning efforts at SRP ensure the region enjoys an abundant supply of water and power. Long-term planning for power means SRP is able to meet long-term area needs.”
Water for America’s sixth largest metro is a challenge SRP is well-prepared to handle. “SRP has a diverse water supply,” says Grant. “We’re obtaining water from the Colorado River, our own system and treated wastewater. Developers are required to demonstrate an assured, renewable water supply.”
Recently, SRP joint-ventured with the Gila River Indian Community for the Gila River Water Storage program. The program creates a system of Central Arizona Project water credits and storage credits covering more than 100 years of usage.
APS and SRP are among the co-owners of the Navajo Generation Station in the Four Corners Region. The coal-fired power plant has been operating under an EPA-generated regulatory cloud that may require unaffordable air quality improvements to the facility. The generator powers the CAP project and serves Arizona, the Navajo Nation and the metro area.
“NGS is one piece of a large and diverse generation portfolio,” says Charles Duckworth, SRP’s senior director of energy management reports. “SRP is working on steps necessary to affordably keep the Navajo Nation operating. However, we have a highly flexible resource plan that gives SRP confidence in its ability to meet long-term customer needs.”