On the heels of announcing a new large-scale, solar-powered battery storage project, Salt River Project has also announced it is contracting with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources to purchase the energy from a 161-megawatt (MW) wind farm, “Babbitt Ranch Energy Center,” to be built on Babbitt Ranches property in Coconino County. The project, which will be located north of Flagstaff, is scheduled to begin delivering clean energy onto SRP’s power grid by December 2023.

“With SRP’s newly announced utility-scale renewable resources, nearly 50% of the energy delivered to SRP customers by 2025 will be carbon-free,” said Kelly Barr, SRP’s Chief Strategy, Corporate Services and Sustainability Executive. “Wind power from this project will bring more diversity to our resource mix which is growing rapidly in clean energy generation. Furthermore, utility-scale wind power is a great complement to solar power generation, as wind often blows at times when the sun is not shining.”

The Babbitt Ranch Energy Center represents SRP’s newest wind contract and will produce enough energy to power about 40,000 typical residential homes.

“We are very pleased to continue working with SRP to deliver low-cost, clean, renewable energy to its customers,” said Matt Handel, senior vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and the sun. “The Babbitt Ranch Energy Center will also create a significant economic stimulus for the local community, creating good jobs and millions in additional tax revenue.”

SRP was the first utility in Arizona to add wind power to its energy resource mix, and still receives all energy output from the 127-MW Dry Lake Wind Power Project, which was the first large-scale wind power facility built in the state.

With the Phoenix metropolitan area growing three times the national average, SRP must continue to build new generation resources that help meet rising energy demand from customers while also supporting SRP in its long-term decarbonization goals. SRP is committed to reduce carbon intensity (from 2005 levels) by more than 65 percent by 2035 and 90 percent by 2050.

In June 2020, SRP issued a request for information (“RFI”) for up to 500 MW of wind resources. Following that process and discussions with NextEra Energy Resources as well as other developers, SRP decided the NextEra-proposed Babbitt Ranch Wind Farm would be the most viable wind project that would be commercially operational within the required timeline to meet growing customer demand.  

The contract for this wind farm project does not affect the amount of generation SRP is seeking through its current all-source request for proposals (RFP), which is seeking competitive proposals for up to 400 MW of peak generating capacity by summer 2024, and another 600 MW by summer 2026, for a total up to 1,000 MW by summer of 2026.