Driving positive environmental change inside the company and within the communities served — it is a legacy challenge for Cox Communications, the largest broadband, phone and video provider in Arizona.  Through its national sustainability program, Cox Conserves, the family-owned parent company, Cox Enterprises, has goals of zero waste to landfill by 2024, and to be carbon and water neutral by 2044.

One of Cox’s local power providers in Arizona, Salt River Project (SRP), shares Cox’s commitment to carbon emission reductions with lofty goals of their own for sustainability – to reduce carbon intensity by more than 60 percent by 2035 and by 90 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels.

With a long-standing business relationship and shared community commitment, it made perfect sense for Cox and SRP to work together to reduce carbon emissions. 

Cox Communication has signed up to convert over 30 percent of their energy purchased from SRP to the company’s Sustainable Energy Offering.  SRP’s program, provides clean, emission-free solar energy to more than 30 commercial, municipal and school district customers in Arizona.  This program makes approximately 300 megawatts (MW) of solar energy available to these customers for their power needs. 

SRP estimates that with the use of these solar energy resources, Arizona businesses will decrease carbon dioxide emissions by about 1.6 million tons- equivalent to the amount produced by more than 300,000 passenger cars driven in a year.   This will assist SRP business customers like Cox, to achieve their sustainability goals, reduce carbon emissions and invest in clean, renewable energy.  

While the first phase of this partnership will result in Cox purchasing more than 30 percent of its metro Phoenix area power needs in SRP’s solar energy, Cox has plans to do even more. 

“Environmental sustainability and community relationships are core to our values.  A project that provides cost-effective solar power to support Cox’s own operations, as well as benefitting our communities is a win-win.  We hope business-driven solutions like this one can be replicated to provide a scaled approach, furthering the use of renewable energy”, said John Wolfe, senior vice president and Southwest Region general manager.  

To date, Cox has invested more than $100 million in sustainability and conservation projects and is on track to meet its aggressive sustainability goals.  SRP’s Sustainable Energy Offering will be an important step to continue the company’s progress. 

The objective of SRP’s Sustainable Energy Offering program is to share the benefits of large-scale renewable resources with a diverse customer base ranging from education and technology to agriculture and governmental agencies and from data centers to grocery, defense contracting, telecom and hospitals.  SRP is well on its way to achieving the goal of adding 1,000 MW of new utility-scale, solar energy to its system by the end of fiscal year 2025. 

“Cox Communications has been an invaluable partner as we looked for ways to help our commercial customers invest in renewable energy,” said Jim Pratt, SRP Associate General Manager and Chief Customer Executive. “The SRP Sustainable Energy Offering provides an affordable and innovative way for companies like Cox Communications to meet their environmental goals and reduce carbon emissions.”

Both companies hope that Cox and SRP’s unique business relationship and shared conservation goals might be a model for similar business initiatives across the country.