Tucson Electric Power Updates Renewable Energy Plan

Published: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 3:23pm

(Image courtesy of TEP)
The desert sunset captured over a solar array.

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) is looking for a new contractor to design a type of natural-gas generator to support renewable energy.

TEP has a goal to deliver at least 30 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2030.

The new bid is to build reciprocating engines, similar to a car engine, that can be fired up quickly and compensate for power lost when using solar as a primary source.

Joseph Barrios is with TEP and said solar power can vary quite a bit throughout the day, simply from clouds moving in the sky and temporarily blocking the sun. Barrios said adding new and complementary resources help to keep renewable energy a focus.

“If you go back a few decades and look at our resource portfolio, it was focused largely on coal. And fast forward to today, we’re looking forward, we’re moving away from coal, we’re moving toward more renewable resources. And both energy storage and then these more flexible, more efficient gas resources, are a couple of the tools we’ll increasingly use,” Barrios said. 

Nearly 11 percent of the power delivered last year to TEP’s retail customers came from renewable resources. TEP has approximately 420,000 customers in southern Arizona.

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