For the 22nd consecutive year, Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station was the nation’s largest power producer, generating 31.4 million megawatt-hours in 2013. With this milestone, Palo Verde remains the only U.S. generating facility to ever produce more than 30 million megawatt-hours in a year – an operational accomplishment the plant has achieved on nine separate occasions.
Also in 2013, Unit 2 produced more electricity than any other reactor in the United States and was the second most productive in the world, according to industry data. The unit also achieved a 94.78 percent capacity factor, the highest of all plants in the world top 10 rankings. Capacity factor is an important measure of output and efficiency.
Unit 1 ranked third in the U.S. and seventh in the world, despite a scheduled refueling outage in spring 2013. The main purpose of a refueling outage is to replace some of the older fuel with new fuel that will produce more energy.
Unit 3, which underwent a scheduled refueling outage in fall 2013, ranked 16th in the U.S. and 28th in the world. Palo Verde’s three 1,340-megawatt (net) generating units are on an 18-month refueling cycle, with two refuelings scheduled each year – one in the spring and another in the fall.
“Our top priority is to safely and efficiently generate electricity, thereby providing APS customers and the entire southwest with clean, reliable, low-cost power,” said Randy Edington, Executive Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer for Arizona Public Service Co., the operator and largest owner of Palo Verde. “Once again, our employees’ steadfast focus on plant safety and overall performance improvement helped elevate Palo Verde among the nation’s best operating nuclear power facilities.”
Other 2013 accomplishments included:
Record refueling outage. For the first time ever, a planned refueling outage at Palo Verde was completed in less than 30 days. Last year’s Unit 1 refueling outage began on March 30 and was completed on April 28, 2013 – in a total time of 29 days, 18 hours. The previous shortest Palo Verde refueling outage was 31 days in fall 2012.
Outstanding simultaneous operation. Palo Verde’s three units operated simultaneously for 160 days, the second-longest continuous run in plant history. Together, the three units produced low-cost power around the clock from April 28 to Oct. 5, 2013.
Palo Verde is the largest nuclear power plant in the nation, and its three reactors are part of 100 operating units in the U.S. and 436 in the world. Its three units can generate more than 4 million kilowatts of safe, clean, reliable, low-cost electricity every hour – enough to serve about 4 million people across the southwestern U.S. Approximately half of the plant’s output serves Arizona customers with the remaining power spread among California, New Mexico and far west Texas. In addition to the energy produced, Palo Verde has an estimated annual economic impact of more than $1.8 billion in Arizona through taxes, salaries, purchases of materials and services, and more.
Palo Verde is operated by APS and jointly owned by APS, Salt River Project, Southern California Edison Co., El Paso Electric Co., Public Service Co. of New Mexico, Southern California Public Power Authority and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.
APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves nearly 1.2 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).